Sarma Melngailis – the central person in Netflix’s Bad Vegan true crime series – is reportedly planning to relaunch her collapsed restaurant empire.
The 50-year-old vegan advocate was once known as the vegan queen of New York City, with raw food restaurant Pure Food And Wine and a second business One Lucky Duck becoming celebrity hotspots.
According to Page Six, Melngailis has been spotted in the city having business meetings in the city, touting potential investors to get the business back on track.
The meeting comes shortly after appearing on the Miss Understood with Rachel Uchitel podcast, where she announced she would want to relaunch her company ‘under the right circumstances’.
Melngailis’s growing popularity in the restaurant industry spectacularly collapsed back in 2016 when she fell in love with con man Anthony Strangis, who fleeced her for millions and took over her business finances on the promise of higher things in the future.
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Among his promises was that he could make her and her beloved dog immortal.
Her investment in Strangis came at the cost of her business, which started to go under when she stopped paying staff wages, prompting walkouts.
Pure Food And Wine – which at one point was so high profile it was where Alec Baldwin met his wife Hilaria – eventually closed in 2016.
The restaurant – an intimate space created in a townhouse off New York’s Gramercy Park – has remained empty ever since.
Melngailis eventually went on the run with Strangis, before being caught in 2016 when Strangis used his real name to order a Domino’s pizza to their motel room.
Melngailis plead guilty to fraud charges and stealing $2million from investors.
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Strangis – who had sold himself to Melngailis as someone in black ops so would often travel and needed to keep a veil of secrecy – was then outed as a gambling addict.
Rather than ‘investing in their future’ he had been using her money to fund his habit across the country.
Melngailis then spent four months in prison, divorcing Strangis in 2018 and coming forward with her story of ‘coercive control’ for the Bad Vegan documentary.
Melngailis has also stated her desire to pay back those who had lost money as a result of what happened, saying she wants to “take on as her responsibility” to repair the damage.
Melngailis remains in New York, alongside her dog Leon, who is still alive.
Bad Vegan is available to watch on Netflix.
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