How US Restaurants Are Responding To The War In Ukraine

Anyone who has kept an eye on the escalating events in Eastern Europe likely knows that the majority of the world is in support of Ukraine. From a historic United Nations vote of 141 of 193 members denouncing Russia's invasion to protests around the globe, people are adamantly supporting the invaded country. While you might have read that some states are calling for boycotts of Russian vodka, restaurants and bars are ditching more Russian ties than just the spirit, according to Rolling Stone

From establishments changing their names and swapping out Russian products like beer for Ukrainian-made options to serving Moscow Mules under pseudonyms and leaving some cocktails behind altogether, many restaurants and bars have firmly turned their back on anything to do with the nation. The Fayetteville Observer even reports that The Twisted Grape of Cameron, North Carolina is offering ½-off dinner for customers who bring a bottle of Russian-made vodka and empty it outside of the restaurant. Independent restaurants and bars are not alone, either. Even liquor store chain Total Wine has pulled all Russian products from its stores and website (via Detroit Free Press).

According to the Daily Mail, Russian exports in the United States — such as caviar, seafood, corn, grain, and kiefer — also won't be showing up on some restaurant menus as boycotts and bans continue across the U.S. (But never fear, Eastern European food fans, things like candy, kielbasa, and cheeses that are made in the U.S. should continue to be available.)

Some restaurants and bars are giving back

Some restaurants are giving back in response to the crisis in Ukraine. Laika Cheesecake & Espresso of San Antonio, Texas (which is owned by a Ukrainian immigrant) is donating a week's profits to support the Ukrainian army, shares Express News.

As of publication, a total of 13 bars and restaurants in Washington, D.C. are also fundraising for Ukraine, including Dacha, Apéro, Bakers Against Racism, and Il Canale (via Washingtonian). 

During the city of Cleveland's first Pierogi Week, two restaurants — Market Garden Brewery and Nano Brew Cleveland — have promised to donate a portion of their proceeds from the festival to a relief organization (via Spectrum News 1).

Eater Boston explained that an array of local food businesses are holding special sales and fundraisers to donate money to Chef José Andrés' World Central Kitchen, which is actively feeding refugees fleeing Ukraine. 

Over in New York City, Veselka (which is located in an area of Manhattan colloquially known as Little Ukraine) has become a "rallying point" for activists, according to Eater New York.

While no chains have been reported as supporting Ukraine monetarily yet, you can check with your local restaurants to see if anyone nearby is raising money for the country if you'd like to give back while eating well.