There was a point in time when Sarma Melngailis had it all; an Ivy League degree, the most trustworthy employees, and a chic vegan restaurant that truly made her a trailblazer in the industry. However, as ‘Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.’ chronicles, almost all of it slipped right out of her hands once she got involved with a man who vowed to make her dreams come true, only to con her out of her self-made fortune. So now, if you wish to know more about her two incredible, then-unique businesses as well as their current standing, we’ve got the essential details for you.
Are Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck Open or Closed?
Alongside her then-boyfriend chef Matthew Kenney and investor Jeffrey Chodorow, Sarma Melngailis established the first-ever upscale raw food restaurant in New York City — Pure Food and Wine — in 2004. She actually devoted all her time and efforts into making it a complete success initially, plus she was good with finances, as per the series, which is why Matthew was the one let go when the couple split up. None of this deterred Sarma, though, and she continued to take the restaurant to new levels while also opening its sister mail-order snacks operation, One Lucky Duck.
One of the key reasons for the restauranter’s success and her ability to expand One Lucky Duck’s operations swiftly was probably the fact that she cared for her employees, merchants, and creditors alike. Thus, once she tied the knot with Anthony Strangis (or Shane Fox), just to get sucked into his orbit of alleged greed as well as manipulations, things changed for the worse, according to the Netflix original. Not only did Sarma start treating her work associates differently, but she also began backing out of promises, including wage pay schedules, leading to quite a few issues.
Eventually, in January 2015, the entirety of Pure Food and Wine’s, along with One Lucky Duck’s, staff walked out due to a month’s backlog of owed wages, leading to the establishments shutting down. As soon as Sarma learned about it, she actually worked hard to raise enough funds to ease their concerns and managed to reopen the businesses within three months, yet it all happened again in July. This time, however, the restauranter was on the lam with her husband, meaning that both Pure Food and Wine as well as One Lucky Duck soon closed down for good.
Who Owns Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck Now?
According to reports, the employees, including the relatively small group of long-term ones who’d returned following the first closing, did attempt to restart operations with worker-centric ownership, but it just didn’t pan out. In other words, there was absolutely nothing that could be done to save the ahead-of-its-time vegan organizations, so everyone went their separate ways — something Sarma Melngailis still mourns over, as per her Instagram account. It appears as if she still dreams of one day seeing the doors of both Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck open again.