We're continuing to highlight the best local restaurants—AKA "bestaurants"—across the country, and this time with a viewer recommendation from Alexa, the face behind the Instagram account @EatingNYC. Veselka in New York City is an institution—first opening its doors in 1954. It's a third-generation family business, originally opened by the current owner Jason Birchard's grandfather over 65 years ago. They serve authentic Ukrainian food—and Alexa says it's the best around.
"My grandfather started this business in 1954," Jason says. "He was a Ukrainian immigrant and he was escaping Russian oppression in the late 1940s. When my grandfather immigrated from Ukraine, he saw America as the land of opportunity. Veselka means 'rainbow' in Ukrainian and this restaurant to my grandfather was his pot of gold."
What first started as a simple candy store newsstand with soups and sandwiches has now become one of the best 24-hour restaurants in the country. And as for the menu? They've got everything from beef stroganoff to eel goulash and potato pancakes, but their most popular dish is hands-down the Borscht pierogis.
"We sell more than 5,000 pierogis a day and 100 gallons of Borscht," says Jason.
In recent months, the restaurant staff has been going through a difficult time, as many of them have family and friends in Ukraine. So, in an effort to support Ukrainian relief efforts and humanitarian relief efforts, the owner Jason has decided to donate all the sales of their Borscht, which he shares is now over $50,000. Wow, incredible!