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The Journey of



As a West Philadelphia native, restaurateur and philanthropist Derrick Hayes understands the value of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. His vision for his restaurant, Big Dave's Cheesesteaks, began in 2014 as he aimed to merge his passion for people, food, and business. What started as a small water-ice shop (Dave’s Philly Water Ice) in a Shell gas station in Dunwoody, Georgia since 2016 (renamed Big Dave’s Cheesesteaks) has augmented into a nationally known, thriving cheesesteak empire with locations in Downtown Atlanta, Doraville, Georgia, and two food trucks. 


Having experienced its biggest year to date in 2020, during a global pandemic, with an increase of over 100% in sales, Hayes takes pride in Big Dave's Cheesesteaks being "Bigger Than Food." Placing much importance on lending a helping hand to those in need, whether offering free meals to customers, feeding local frontline workers, or employing the communities' youth. 


After numerous non-profit partnerships, in February 2021 Hayes stepped into the vegan food world, partnering with Slutty Vegan CEO & Founder Pinky Cole on “Dinkies” a vegan cheesesteak establishment located inside of Bar Vegan, at Atlanta’s popular Ponce City Market. The philosophy of his businesses is rooted in community involvement, quality food, and exceptional customer service. 


Derrick Hayes continuously pours into the very communities that support and stand behind the Big Dave's Cheesesteaks brand. He credits his inspiration and motivation to succeed to the namesake of the Big Dave's establishment: his late father, David Hayes, to whom he promised he would start a business of his own before his passing. Galvanizing his staff and his community's efforts, he believes the story Big Dave's Cheesesteaks is writing will leave an incredible legacy for years to come. Hayes has plans to continue to spread his food and community efforts not only across Georgia but across the nation.