‘Eat Borscht, stand with Ukraine:’ Mayor dines at Veselka in Little Ukraine

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Mayor Eric Adams and other elected officials eat vegan Borscht at Veselka to support Ukraine on March 7.
Photo by Dean Moses

Mayor Adams endeavored to show support to Ukrainian New Yorkers Monday amidst the Eastern European country’s worsening crisis.

As Russian and Ukrainian dignitaries met for a third round of negotiations, New York City’s mayor attempted to show solidarity by dining in Little Ukraine’s Veselka. Third-generation owner Jason Birchard welcomed Adams with open under the Ukrainian flag, which was prominently displayed in the restaurant window.

Sitting alongside Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine and Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, the mayor ordered what he said was a vegan Borscht–a traditional Ukrainian soup made with red beetroots. 

Council member Carlina Rivera, Mayor Eric Adams, and Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. Photo by Dean Moses
Elected officials dine at Veselka in support of Ukraine. Photo by Dean Moses

“We at Veselka have started a campaign that all of our Borscht sales are going to help the Ukrainian relief efforts. We have raised in the two weeks since the war began $25,000. People ask how they can help with physical items. We have a small list of items on our website. We’ve been making daily runs to our local Ukrainian Orthodox Church on Seventh Street, and we’re very thankful and grateful for everybody’s love and support,” Birchard said, adding that their donation campaign is dubbed, “Eat Borscht, Stand with Ukraine.” 

After eating inside the establishment, Adams shared that he was moved by the history of Veselka due to photographs of Birchard’s grandfather lining the walls. Growing it from a small stand to a famed East Village restaurant, Adams commended the Birchard family for giving back amidst an international crisis.

“We are here to say support Ukraine in a real way and sitting down and sharing a meal with you is so important,” Adams said.

Mayor Eric Adams shows his support in the East Village’s Little Ukraine. Photo by Dean Moses

With March 7 being the first maskless Monday under the Adams administration, he hopes laxed guidelines will also help further Veselka’s charitable cause and in turn, garner more aid for the embattled sovereign country.

“This really personifies why these shops are not just locations where people put a sign on a building. It’s the life that they are living,” Adams said.

Mayor Adams holds a sign reading, “Stand with Ukraine now!” Photo by Dean Moses