Everyone’s favorite Ukrainian restaurant in the East Village is expanding, and with it comes a pierogi bar!
Veselka first opened up in 1954 as a candy shop selling cigarettes and the occasional egg cream. Now more than 60 years later, Veselka has become a New York favorite for borscht, potato pancakes and of course, pierogi. It’s run by second and third generation owners Tom and Jason Birchard.
And now, according to an interview with the New York Times, the owners are expanding into the space next door that will also boast a “pierogi bar” where you can watch them being hand made in person!
Veselka used to be a 24-hour spot for Ukrainian comfort food, but since the pandemic, they have had to reduce their hours, ultimately reducing production and profits. Like most restaurants the pandemic has led to restaurants like Veselka losing money, especially with only outdoor dining.
Though indoor dining has been shut down again, due to Veselka’s committed customers, national shipments, available neighboring space, and affordable rent the restaurant is able to expand, according to the New York Times.
Veselka has actually expanded on several occasions in their 66 years. The restaurant will take over the neighboring toy store shop, Dinosaur Hill, that is shutting down after 37 years of business due to owner Pamela Pier’s retirement.
The two businesses have been neighbors since the 80s. The Times mentioned that over the years Birchard has actually asked Pier’s permission to expand the restaurant three times before.
The expansion additionally is a result of Veselka’s long endured relationship with their landlord, the Plast Foundation, that charges a more affordable rent.
The expansion will lead to a “sushi bar-style counter that will showcase the restaurant’s pierogi-making process,” said the Times. The demand for the restaurant’s pierogis has resulted in the hiring of four full-time workers solely responsible for making them (up to 3,000-4,000 pierogis a day), said small business photographer Karla Murray in a video interview.
This expansion will help continue their daily production of thousands of pierogis. With more space, the restaurant can accommodate and fulfill more orders that will help the restaurant survive after this tough year.
The Times explained the expansion will also lead to a larger kitchen, more wall murals, a rocket-ship gumball machine from Dinosaur Hill and even more indoor dining space honoring their old neighbor called Dinosaur Dining.
featured image source: Facebook/ Veselka :: Beceлкa