The New York Post reports that East Village mainstay and legendary Ukrainian diner Veselka is planning to open two new locations by the end of the year: a 5,000-square-foot one in Williamsburg and another one, a kiosk, at Grand Central Station.
Once the former new Brooklyn outpost launches, the owners will close the East Village restaurant, which opened at 144 Second Avenue in the Ukrainian Village back in 1954, for renovations.
What's more, according to the Post, the business also has eyes on the West Village, hoping to stake its claim in the neighborhood in the near future as well
In addition to serving the sorts of pierogi, borscht, stroganoff and goulash dishes that remind New York City's Ukrainian population of home, Veselka ("rainbow" in Ukrainian) has recently drawn attention for its unabashed support for the eastern European country in its war against Russia.
During the first year of the war, in fact, the restaurant donated 100% of its profits from the sale of borscht to the people of Ukraine. The contribution that amounted to a whopping $300,000.
The venue has also organized food and medical drives in support of the nation while, perhaps most notably, sponsoring work visas for refugees.
It's not often that a New York restaurant is able to provide this much aid to any sort of cause, let alone one unfolding on the other side of the Atlantic—and it's not slowing down.
Veselka and City Winery have, in fact, just launched a new fundraising drive via chef José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen through which they will donate sales of a $10 bottle of cabernet to Ukraine. "The wine will be on tap from a barrel painted the blue-and-yellow colors of the Ukrainian flag," reports Audacy.
Although all these non-food-related endeavors don't really have a bearing on the James Beard awards, we can't help but be happy for Veselka's nomination in the outstanding restaurant category this year—the staff clearly deserves all the praise it can get.