How Domino's Pizza Led To Bad Vegan's Sarma Melngailis' Downfall

If you have scanned through some of the most recent documentaries to make the top 10 list on Netflix, then you've likely seen titles like "Inventing Anna" or "The Tinder Swindler" which follow the chaotic tales of scammers and con artists. The newest of its kind to hit the streaming platform, "Bad Vegan," follows the wild story of Sarma Melngailis, the woman behind luxury vegan eatery Pure Food and Wine, and how she handed over her capital to someone she believed she loved. 

But one of the most attention-grabbing slices of this story is undoubtedly that a Domino's pizza order placed with a credit card in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is what led police to Melngailis and her scamming husband Anthony Strangis. The couple had settled in Tennessee after months on the run moving from city to city — so long as there was a casino. That's when Strangis ordered Domino's delivery to the hotel and local authorities were able to find their location after speaking with the staff working at the pizza chain.

Former employees don't think pizza is the takeaway

While it's true that the cheesy pizza was the downfall that led to the arrest of the vegan restaurateur and her husband, those who were closest to Sarma Melngailis have thought and continue to feel that the fast-food order — that is obviously not vegan — isn't where the headline lies. Though it seems all too fitting and a humorous way for a vegan superstar of the culinary world to be arrested, those who worked with Melngailis for years explained in the Netflix documentary that this angle had always distracted from the real story. 

They, who went without pay due to Strangis coercing funds from the restaurateur, couldn't believe that the couple could have blown through so much money both on travel and in casinos. They knew that Melngailis was truly a vegan and that the pizza clearly was not for her. The documentary even addresses the extent to which she went to try to eat healthy, vegan foods when there was little access to it. Instead, her former employees wanted to know what really happened to all of the money that was gone. 

Though the vegan getting caught by a pizza order was seen as a dethroning of someone whose life was too good to be true for some, those who were most affected by Melngailis' personal drama simply wanted justice — and found it through her arrest.

Stream "Bad Vegan" on Netflix starting March 16.