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Is ‘Bad Vegan’ Sarma Melngailis Reopening an NYC Restaurant?

Plus, a five-year-old Williamsburg restaurant is closing this week — and more intel

Raw Food Book Launch
Sarma Melngailis back in 2005. Melngailis is reportedly attempting to reopen Pure Food and Wine in NYC.
Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images

Sarma Melngailis — the subject of the scammer documentary Bad Vegan on the bizarre rise and fall of her Union Square raw food restaurant, Pure Food and Wine — is apparently eyeing a return. Page Six reports that Melngailis is attempting to relaunch the once celebrity-studded, hot spot where Alec Baldwin met his wife Hilaria Baldwin. In 2017, following a lawsuit from ex-employees, Melngailis pled guilty to fraudulently misusing $1 million in business funds, which, she maintained, was allegedly done at the hand of her then-husband. Melngailis, who has been described as the “vegan Bernie Madoff,” is in the process of luring in investors, according to Page Six. After serving time at Rikers, she hinted at her desire to relaunch Pure Food and Wine: “I think New York would take me back,” Melngailis said back in 2019.

Bar Beau is closing, to relaunch into a bar

Bar Beau, a Williamsburg pan-Asian restaurant that first opened in summer 2018, will host its last day of service on August 12: “Unfortunately the rising cost of goods, services, labor and general market conditions made it impossible for us to continue operating Beau as it had been without compromising on quality,” owner Claire Chan told Eater. Chan will pivot the 61 Withers Street space into a bar; they haven’t decided on an opening date.

A Central New York sandwich tradition gets the spotlight

The New York Times goes long on the enduring legacy of the regional dish, the spiedie, a cubed-meat sandwich. The restaurants that carry them tend to be in areas of Central New York like Binghamton; as they shutter, food festivals are hoping to maintain their history.

It’s Dutch crunch time in the city

In other regional sandwich news, Dutch crunch bread, a San Francisco obsessive, is making its way east to New York City. In recent months, it first appeared at Williamsburg sandwich shop Mission Sandwich Social, and, now, Grub Street reports that the flaky bread is on the menu at fine dining establishments like Mischa by Alex Stupak.