Vitalii Desiatnychenko, a manager at Veselka, a Ukrainian restaurant in New York City, helped the restaurant operate during the tumultuous years of the COVID-19 pandemic.
After Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, he began coordinating the restaurant's efforts to donate proceeds to Ukrainian troops as Russia continued its invasion.
New York is home to some 150,000 Ukrainian immigrants, and Veselka was originally opened by one of them as a small coffee shop in East Village in 1954.
Desiatnychenko says he knows very well why so many people find Veselka special. He himself emigrated from Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, to New York after earning a bachelor’s degree in economics from Kyiv National Economic University in 2012.
Two weeks after moving to the city, he was hired at Veselka and has worked there ever since.
Veselka, a Ukrainian restaurant in New York. Photo: Danuta Isler/Radio Poland
Radio Poland's Danuta Isler spoke with Desiatnychenko at the Veselka restaurant in New York.
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