Netflix’s four-part docuseries ‘Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives.’ provides a stunning account of Sarma Melngailis’ relationship with Anthony Strangis and how that affected her successful restaurant business in Manhattan, New York. Sometime in 2014, Sarma came across a potential buyer from Boston, Massachusetts, named Michael Caledonia, who wanted to take over the restaurant. So, if you’re wondering what happened after that and if the restaurant was sold, we’ve got you covered.
Who is Michael Caledonia?
In July 2014, Sarma’s restaurant, Pure Food and Wine, was mired in controversy when employees weren’t paid their wages, leading to them leaving the business. However, Sarma roped in investors and raised some money, avoiding a potential disaster. Sometime after the restaurant reopened, Sarma called Jeffrey Chodorow, an investor in the restaurant, regarding a potential buyer.
As per the show, Sarma said that his name was Michael Caledonia, and she had him checked out by people she knew at her former workplace, Bain Capital. She told Jeffrey that Michael was looking to buy out the business and pay off all the investors. So, Jeffrey spoke with Michael over the phone, and at the time, it didn’t seem too suspicious. He told Jeffrey that the money was coming in from Europe, and his investors wanted to maintain anonymity.
But things started getting a bit weird from here. Jeffrey and Michael set up a meeting at a bar in New York at around 5:30 one evening, but Michael never showed. About 45 minutes later, he claimed to have missed his flight from Boston. On the show, Jeffrey said that Michael missed a second meeting as well. Then, after a few days, Sarma called Jeffrey when he was in Miami, Florida, and hoped to set up another appointment with Michael. This time, she said she would be there as well. However, Michael couldn’t make the meeting yet again, claiming to have missed a flight, making it the third time he missed sitting down with Jeffrey.
Was Michael Caledonia Really Going to Buy Pure Food and Wine?
Michael Caledonia never met with Jeffrey. Instead, it was Sarma who met with him in Miami. It was later revealed that Anthony was using the name Michael Caledonia with the investors. Furthermore, it was stated on the show that Sarma knew about it and was dishonest with Jeffrey regarding Michael’s true identity. She never mentioned that she was married to Anthony or that Michael and Anthony were the same. Sarma stated that she didn’t think it was a big deal because Anthony would buy everyone out anyway, but the buyout never happened. Jeffrey said on the show that he felt betrayed by Sarma, which was difficult because she was like family to him.