Veselka opens first Brooklyn location

All photos courtesy of Veselka

Brooklyn residents no longer need to trek to the East Village for their pierogi fix. Veselka, the beloved Ukrainian diner serving New Yorkers for seven decades, opened its highly-anticipated Williamsburg location last week. Veselka’s first location in the borough, the 4,000-square-foot restaurant is located at 646 Lorimer Street. In addition to its famous Ukrainian soul food, the business will sell Veselka-branded merchandise.

The 40-seat restaurant’s design takes after the flagship store, characterized by exposed brick, wood paneling, and retro fixtures such as mounted bar stools, vintage menu boards, and quilted aluminum backsplashes, according to Eater New York.

A portion of the space will be used as a commissary kitchen for Veselka’s other restaurants for mail order. The Williamsburg location will employ roughly 30 to 50 employees in the restaurant and commissary kitchen depending on the time of year.

To celebrate the new location, Veselka teamed up with Katz’ Deli to offer the “pastrogi,” a pierogi filled with pastrami. The pastrogi is available for a limited time only via delivery or pickup at Veselka’s Brooklyn location, according to Eater New York. Plus, a special “New York Classics Package” that offers pastrami, corned beef, rye bread, and other Katz’s fixings paired with a dozen potato pierogis by Veselka can be purchased here.

In March 2023, Jason Birchard, co-owner of Veselka, announced the eatery would expand to Williamsburg. Birchard planned to close the East Village location for renovations in 2022 but decided to keep it open to raise money for relief efforts when Russia invaded Ukraine.

Last year, the restaurant signed a 48-year lease at 646 Lorimer. The building was constructed in 1918 as a garage and has served as a car wash in recent years, according to Eater New York.

Veselka also opened an outpost in the dining concourse of Grand Central Terminal last year. The kiosk offers Veselka’s classics to-go, including borscht, cabbage rolls, and pierogies. Designed with commuters in mind, the outpost also sells coffee and breakfast items, like bacon, egg, and cheese pierogi, a fried egg sandwich on a challah knot, bagels, and muffins.

To start, the Williamsburg location will be open for dinner only on Wednesdays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and on Sundays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Ukrainian for “rainbow,” Veselka was established by Ukrainian immigrants Volodymyr and Olha Darmochwal in 1954 as a newsstand and coffee shop. When new owner Tom Birchard took over the business in 1975, he introduced an expanded menu, starting with breakfast and later adding pierogi and other Eastern European comfort food, as 6sqft previously reported.

Before the pandemic, Veselka made 21,000 pierogis, 2,500 latkes, and 110 gallons of borscht each week. The restaurant first launched 24/7 service in 1990 and continued until the pandemic hit.

This month, round-the-clock service is expected to return to the East Village Veselka on the weekends for the first time since 2020.


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