Veselka to resume 24-hour service

March 7, 2024

Photo by James and Karla Murray exclusively for 6sqft. See more here.

A surefire sign New York City is back? The resumption of 24-hour service at Veselka in the East Village. One of the few spots in the city that served diners all night, the iconic Ukrainian restaurant on Second Avenue stopped the service amid pandemic struggles. But, as first reported by neighborhood expert EV Grieve, the restaurant is looking to bring back around-the-clock hours on weekends.

Photo courtesy of Eden, Janine and Jim on Flickr

Third-generation owner Jason Birchard told EV Grieve the restaurant is aiming to start 24-hour service on June 1. “I think it’ll be just a Friday and Saturday to start,” Birchard told the website. “And then work into like did initially back in 1990 just to get our feet wet again.”

Veselka, the Ukrainian word for “rainbow,” was established by Ukrainian immigrants Volodymyr and Olha Darmochwal in 1954 as a small newsstand and a coffee shop. When new owner Tom Birchard took over the business in 1975, he introduced an expanded menu, starting with breakfast and then adding pierogi and other Eastern European comfort food, as 6sqft previously reported.

Pre-Covid, Veselka was making 21,000 pierogis, 2,500 latkes, and 110 gallons of borscht each week. The restaurant first launched 24/7 service in 1990 and continued it for 30 years until the pandemic hit.

In 2022 when Russia invaded Ukraine, Veselka experienced an outpouring of support from New Yorkers who lined up to dine at the restaurant. Veselka started a campaign to raise money for relief efforts, donating 100 percent of proceeds from borscht sales to help Ukraine. The restaurant raised over $500,000.

The fundraising efforts, and its 70-year history, were documented in the documentary “Veselka: The Rainbow on the Corner at The Center of the World,” which was released last month.

Veselka is also expanding. The restaurant recently opened an outpost in Grand Central Terminal and plans to open a new location in Williamsburg sometime in April.


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Tags: Veselka
Location: East Village

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