The new Netflix real crime hit Bad Vegan follows the downfall a person of NYC’s most beloved eateries. The docuseries shows how Sarma Melngailis, operator of the vegan cafe Pure Meals and Wine and the associated uncooked-vegan-products and solutions manufacturer One Fortunate Duck, fulfilled and married Anthony Strangis, a scammer who Melngailis alleges coerced her into stealing money from her possess business and afterwards going on the run from authorities. The duo had been in the end charged with transferring additional than $1.6 million from the restaurant into particular accounts.
In the four-section doc, the sensational tale powering Pure Food and Wine’s downfall is instructed by Melngailis herself, as nicely as by quite a few former employees. The two the former owner and personnel have described the restaurant before Strangis as a exclusive put to operate, with lovers now questioning if the eatery could make a comeback. This is almost everything we know about the well-known vegan café.
Pure Foodstuff and Wine had loyal staff members and a celeb clientele.
The raw vegan restaurant Pure Foods And Wine was started in 2004 as a collaboration amongst Melngailis and her boyfriend at the time, chef Matthew Kenney, with funding from restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow. In 2005, Melngailis purchased out Kenney’s stake and ran it herself, with the Gramercy eatery setting up a faithful clientele, such as celebs like Anne Hathaway, Owen Wilson, and recurring Lousy Vegan namedrop Alec Baldwin, who fulfilled his wife Hilaria at the restaurant in 2011.
Per Grub Road, the restaurant turned regarded as “vegan-glamorous,” at a time ahead of Unattainable Burgers and plant-dependent every little thing. Some of their preferred choices provided spicy Thai lettuce wraps, zebra tomato-and-zucchini lasagna with pistachio-basil pesto, and a Learn Cleanse Tini (natural sake with lemon juice, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper). There was also powerful loyalty amid personnel when Melngailis was at the helm, with some personnel recalling in the docuseries that they used to call her Sar-mama.
Melngailis afterwards expanded to a brand known as One particular Fortunate Duck.
Melngailis experienced started making an empire by the time she fulfilled Strangis. She experienced penned two cookbooks, Uncooked Food/Actual Environment: 100 Recipes to Get the Glow (co-composed with Kenney) in 2005, and Residing Raw Food: Get the Glow with Far more Recipes from Pure Food stuff and Wine in 2009. She also opened a trio of juice and takeaway bars identified as A single Lucky Duck, with a emblem of a duck that she also tattooed on her arm.
Personnel ended up protesting soon after Melngailis did not fulfill payroll.
When the restauranteur fulfilled Strangis in 2011, Pure Food and Wine was rewarding, nevertheless she however experienced a significant mortgage with Chodorow. Then she commenced giving the scammer dollars and going through the “cosmic endurance exams” depicted in Terrible Vegan. Strangis also began immeshing himself in the eatery’s working day-to-working day operations, for each the documentary, to the alarm of the personnel.
Melngailis and Strangis started failing to satisfy payroll in 2014, with personnel lacking checks five times that yr, for every New York Submit. Pure Foods and Wine shut quickly in the winter season of 2015, right after servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff walked out, protesting the lack of shell out. Immediately after opening once more for a small time, with a round of new investors, the restaurant closed permanently in the spring of 2016.
Melngailis finished up pleading responsible to stealing $1 million from the restaurant. In addition to stiffed buyers, Melngailis owed around $63,000 to workforce, for every Self-importance Truthful. The former operator made use of cash she was compensated for Undesirable Vegan to back pay out, with the outlet confirming that the restitution was gained and most of it was paid out.
“In trade for my agreeing to switch around supplies and photos to the documentary makers, in March of 2020 a payment went specifically to an lawyer on my behalf, bypassing me fully, who then compensated in total the outstanding judgment that was owed to the workers who’d not been paid right after my disappearance in 2015,” she mentioned. “It was a huge reduction to get my previous personnel paid, and I’d have wished to spend it irrespective of no matter whether it was in the form of a judgment or not.”
NYC enthusiasts will get a probability to try meals for the unique Pure Foods and Wine menu.
However the possibility of a future cafe operate by Melngailis is still up in the air, fans of Lousy Vegan will have the opportunity to consider meals by two previous Pure Food and Wine chefs. A a few-training course meal from The Undesirable Vegan Kitchen area—cooked by Chef Nikki Bennett, the former head chef, and Chef Missy Maidana, the previous pastry chef—will be available for buy on Postmates for a person weekend only, March 25 through 27. The meals will include a Caesar salad starter, a uncooked lasagna most important, and a Mallomar dessert, all from the restaurant’s first menu and all obtainable for cost-free, with no supply fees—plus a tailor made tote—while materials last.