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Pure Food and Wine's Owner Finally Resurfaces to Discuss Financial Woes

Sarma Melngailis is still looking for funding to reopen and pay her staff.

Nick Solares

A month after an abrupt shutter, ex-Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck employees still haven't been paid for their work. Now owner and chef Sarma Melngailis, who remained silent even to her staff, finally opens up about it — at least a little — on her personal blog and to Well+Good. She keeps most of the juicy details off the record, simply saying that the shutter was caused by a variety of personal and professional circumstances. But apparently, the restaurant has been struggling financially for quite a while, explains Melngailis. It "has a very complicated history, and from day one has had an enormous amount of debt on the books."

Melngailis says she regrets how it all went down. She claims she was out of town trying to secure funding when the walkout happened, but doesn't really address why she stayed underground for so long after the fact, other than to tell Well + Good that "I have a tendency, when I'm feeling bad and down, to really hide and work on my computer and try to fix things." So it sounds like she was just having trouble facing the music.

Meanwhile, she is continuing to try to find funding to reopen and pay the staff:

It's painful for me every day knowing that they're all waiting on me. That hurts me every day. I get that people don't understand — I don't expect them to — and at some point I can explain it more, once the dust settles, and more importantly, once they're paid. It's heartbreaking to me...I look forward to healing all those relationships and making things right.

Pure Food and Wine

54 Irving Pl, New York, NY 10003 (212) 477-1010 Visit Website

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