Pure Food and Wine had loyal employees and a famous clientele. The raw vegan restaurant Pure Food And Wine was founded in 2004 as a collaboration between Melngailis and her then boyfriend, chef Matthew Kenney, with funding from restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow. In the early 2000s, Sarma Melngailis had it all. She was the attractive blonde chef at the celebrity-packed Pure Food %26 Wine restaurant, the face of the type of dietary movement: vegan food without cooking anything above 120 degrees Fahrenheit that was rapidly gaining ground in New York City.
The new Netflix series will chronicle the rise and fall of one of New York's most prolific restaurants. Pure Food and Wine was a raw vegan restaurant in Gramercy that opened in 2004, a time before anyone had ever heard of Impossible Burgers or the phrase “plant-based”. But between this and the other owner of a raw vegan restaurant that kept showing up on the subway, there has never been better advertising for stoves. The former New York vegan restaurant, Pure Food and Wine, which appears in the new Netflix documentary series Bad Vegan, will return the restaurant's most popular dishes to New York fans for the last time.
Bad Vegan premiered on Netflix on March 16 as a four-episode documentary that chronicles the fall of Sarma Melngailis, co-founder of Pure Food and Wine, a famous raw vegan restaurant in New York that attracted famous diners such as Alec Baldwin and Owen Wilson. Through a series of intimidation tactics, Sarma is apparently blackmailed into funneling money from the restaurant into her new husband's pockets. By listening to several former employees of the restaurant, viewers are told that this trendy spot was not only well ahead of its time, offering a first-rate vegan dining experience, but that it was also the best-known vegan restaurant in the world. Melngailis owed Chodorow money: he had taken out loans to buy half of Kenney's restaurant, but the restaurant was profitable.