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At Veselka, a Hub for Supporting Ukraine, Staffers are Reportedly Working Longer Hours

Plus, a GoFundMe launches for owners of Louie’s Pizzeria — and more intel

People, some carrying signs supporting Ukraine, waiting in line outside of Ukrainian restaurant Veselka in the East Village.
Veselka became a rallying point for Ukraine earlier this month.
Ryan Sutton/Eater NY

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine stretches into a second month, Veselka has been a restaurant rallying point as the East Village favorite continues collecting donations to help Ukrainians. According to CNBC, lines still wrap around the restaurant from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with daily patrons doubling from an average of 600 to 1500.

While business is booming, employees are reportedly working longer hours as a consequence. “On an average day before [the war], usually the manager shift is somewhere close to eight hours, nine hours,” Vitalii Desiatnychenko, a Veselka manager tells the news outlet. “These days ... most of us are working 10- to 12-hour days.” In the meantime, Desiatnychenko tells CNBC it’s still difficult for him and many of his employees not to be preoccupied thinking of his home country of Ukraine.

A GoFundMe has been set up for pizza owners injured while stopping attack

A GoFundMe has been set up to help cover medical bills for the owners of Louie’s Pizzeria in Elmhurst, reports. The father-and-son duo were reportedly injured from being stabbed after trying to stop a robbery of an elderly Asian woman outside of their Baxter Avenue pizzeria on March 26. The fundraiser also has a note from the organizer that states they are looking to get in touch with the woman first attacked to see if there’s a way to help her, too.

Decades-old Prospect Heights wine shop relaunches with new owners

Fermented Grapes, a wine shop that first opened in 2004 at 651 Vanderbilt Avenue at Prospect Place, has passed the torch to new owners, according to a representative. Wine expert Kilolo Strobert (who held postings at wine stores Le Dû’s Wines and Morrell & Company and is a former Fermented Grapes employee herself) has taken over the wine shop alongside Max Katzenberg, formerly of Olmsted, now a co-owner of pizza spot Mo’s General. The revamped Fermented Grapes, which temporarily closed in September 2021, is now open.

Chef Alberto Marcolongo returns to acclaimed French spot Benoit

For decades, Alberto Marcolongo has been a part of acclaimed chef Alain Ducasse’s restaurant group in both Paris and New York. Now, a representative tells Eater that he has returned to Ducasse’s Midtown bistro Benoit as executive chef, after first working there in 2019 as an executive sous chef. His new menu for the storied French restaurant, which is based on one of Ducasse’s Parisian establishments, debuted in March.

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