Veselka

Ukranian Diner & Grocer

For sixty-one years, customers have crowded into Veselka, a cozy Ukrainian coffee shop in New York City's East Village, to enjoy pierogi, borscht, goulash, and many other unpretentious favorites. Veselka (rainbow in Ukrainian) has grown up from a simple newsstand serving soup and sandwiches into a twenty-four hour gathering place without ever leaving its original location on the corner of East Ninth Street and Second Avenue. Veselka is, quite simply, an institution.

Get to know: Veselka

Tom Birchard & Jason Birchard

Owners

Veselka opened in the East Village in 1954 when there was a prominent Ukranian community in the neighborhood. In the ensuing decades, the presence of Slavic restaurants diminished, but Veselka endured and established itself as an institution. What does it mean for your business to find a home for your second location in the Lower East Side?

When I first came to Veselka in 1966 the term “East Village” was not known. We were considered to be part of the Lower East Side, the historical home to many recent immigrant groups including Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians and later Puerto Ricans. Opening a second location in the heart of the Lower East Side is exciting for us for several reasons. We are looking forward to being in the “epicenter’ of immigrant culture and history. We are also looking forward to being in a space with other long-standing New York culinary institutions. Also, we are looking forward to being part of the next incarnation of ever-changing Lower East Side culture and development.

Which recipe or dish on the menu has been a favorite in your family from the 1950s to the present?

Pierogi or vareneky have been a staple and go to dish for as long as I’ve been associated with Veselka.

When I think of the Lower East Side, I think of…

Eastern European working-class immigrants living in a densely populated, teeming neighborhood. Active street life, pushcarts, Sunday shopping, the smell of pickles and garlic and delis.

Best thing about NYC and worst thing about NYC:

Best thing- The people. Incredibly diverse but everyone working together and getting along. Worst thing- Congestion in general traffic specifically.

What is your earliest memory of food?

Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house.

What’s the one food you can’t live without?

Pierogi!

Preferred method of transportation:

Bike! (Note: Veselka is a designated bike-friendly business, and was a big supporter of getting the East Village to become the first NYC neighborhood designated as a bike-friendly district)

What is your most essential ingredient in the kitchen?

Onions. They add flavor to many of our menu items.

Veselka opened in the East Village in 1954 when there was a prominent Ukranian community in the neighborhood. In the ensuing decades, the presence of Slavic restaurants diminished, but Veselka endured and established itself as an institution. What does it mean for your business to find a home for your second location in the Lower East Side?

When I first came to Veselka in 1966 the term “East Village” was not known. We were considered to be part of the Lower East Side, the historical home to many recent immigrant groups including Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians and later Puerto Ricans. Opening a second location in the heart of the Lower East Side is exciting for us for several reasons. We are looking forward to being in the “epicenter’ of immigrant culture and history. We are also looking forward to being in a space with other long-standing New York culinary institutions. Also, we are looking forward to being part of the next incarnation of ever-changing Lower East Side culture and development.

Which recipe or dish on the menu has been a favorite in your family from the 1950s to the present?

Pierogi or vareneky have been a staple and go to dish for as long as I’ve been associated with Veselka.

When I think of the Lower East Side, I think of…

Eastern European working-class immigrants living in a densely populated, teeming neighborhood. Active street life, pushcarts, Sunday shopping, the smell of pickles and garlic and delis.

Best thing about NYC and worst thing about NYC:

Best thing- The people. Incredibly diverse but everyone working together and getting along. Worst thing- Congestion in general traffic specifically.

What is your earliest memory of food?

Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house.

What’s the one food you can’t live without?

Pierogi!

Preferred method of transportation:

Bike! (Note: Veselka is a designated bike-friendly business, and was a big supporter of getting the East Village to become the first NYC neighborhood designated as a bike-friendly district)

What is your most essential ingredient in the kitchen?

Onions. They add flavor to many of our menu items.

Veselka opened in the East Village in 1954 when there was a prominent Ukranian community in the neighborhood. In the ensuing decades, the presence of Slavic restaurants diminished, but Veselka endured and established itself as an institution. What does it mean for your business to find a home for your second location in the Lower East Side?

When I first came to Veselka in 1966 the term “East Village” was not known. We were considered to be part of the Lower East Side, the historical home to many recent immigrant groups including Jews, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians and later Puerto Ricans. Opening a second location in the heart of the Lower East Side is exciting for us for several reasons. We are looking forward to being in the “epicenter’ of immigrant culture and history. We are also looking forward to being in a space with other long-standing New York culinary institutions. Also, we are looking forward to being part of the next incarnation of ever-changing Lower East Side culture and development.

Which recipe or dish on the menu has been a favorite in your family from the 1950s to the present?

Pierogi or vareneky have been a staple and go to dish for as long as I’ve been associated with Veselka.

When I think of the Lower East Side, I think of…

Eastern European working-class immigrants living in a densely populated, teeming neighborhood. Active street life, pushcarts, Sunday shopping, the smell of pickles and garlic and delis.

Best thing about NYC and worst thing about NYC:

Best thing- The people. Incredibly diverse but everyone working together and getting along. Worst thing- Congestion in general traffic specifically.

What is your earliest memory of food?

Thanksgiving at Grandma’s house.

What’s the one food you can’t live without?

Pierogi!

Preferred method of transportation:

Bike! (Note: Veselka is a designated bike-friendly business, and was a big supporter of getting the East Village to become the first NYC neighborhood designated as a bike-friendly district)

What is your most essential ingredient in the kitchen?

Onions. They add flavor to many of our menu items.