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NYC Russian Restaurants Face Backlash and Vandalism Despite Supporting Ukraine

Plus, the Chinese restaurant scene in the East Village continues to grow — and more intel

The exterior of a restaurant with a black awning and outdoor tables and chairs set up on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant.
Sveta in the West Village.
Via Google Maps
Erika Adams is the editor of Eater Boston.

Despite publicly signaling support for Ukraine in the ongoing invasion, Russian restaurants in Manhattan are getting hit with vandalism, canceled reservations, and negative online reviews, the New York Times reports.

West Village Russian restaurant Sveta, owned by Ukrainian Sveta Savchitz, received an onslaught of negative emails after Russia invaded Ukraine. The restaurant has since changed its online presence from “Russian” to “Eastern European” to distance itself from association with Russia. In Midtown, Russian Samovar — which is hosting a fundraiser for Ukraine this week, and has posted an antiwar message at its entrance — had its door kicked in and people have called the restaurant’s staff “Nazis” over the phone. Owner Vlada Von Shats told the Times that reservations were down by 60 percent. At pelmeni shop Daa! Dumplings, owner Raphael Nieto says that people have been leaving negative reviews online because the restaurant is Russian. The spot posted an antiwar message to Instagram after the Russian invasion began.

Other shops outside of Manhattan are taking further steps to dissociate from Russia. In Brighton Beach, a Brooklyn neighborhood with a large Ukrainian community, grocery store Taste of Russia is in the process of changing its name in solidarity with Ukraine, Brooklyn Paper reports.

The East Village Chinese restaurant scene keeps growing

Chef Tan, a New Jersey-based restaurant focused on Sichuan and Hunan fare, appears close to opening its first NYC outpost, in the East Village, according to EVGrieve. The shop joins a number of Chinese restaurants that have recently debuted in the neighborhood, including northwestern Chinese favorite Jiang’s Kitchen and Shanghainese spot CheLi.

New York’s disgraced men keeping flocking to Fresco by Scotto

Curbed investigates why disgraced political players like Andrew Cuomo, Rudy Giuliani, and Michael Cohen keep showing up at Midtown Italian restaurant Fresco by Scotto. It’s historically been known as a schmoozy spot for high-profile politicians and local celebrities, according to Curbed, and, even now, there are at least a few customers who still want a handshake with the likes of Cuomo and Giuliani.

The Times Square bar scene is slowly recovering

Grub Street checks in on the bar scene in Times Square, and finds owners and bartenders who are cautiously optimistic that business is picking up — or, at least, recovering from the whisper-quiet days at the end of 2021. “I don’t think it’s ever going to be 100 percent what it was, but I am hoping that enough things will come together that’ll get pretty close,” Adam Glenn, the owner of beloved dive bar Jimmy’s Corner, tells the publication.