Below is the open letter posted by Sarma on her blog just a few days ago. It is currently unavailable so we decided to copy / paste the text here. It has been a deeply troubled time for the upscale NYC raw restaurant, and for Sarma, the owner, specifically.
Maybe its’ time to show some compassion, on both side, and try to re-built something that is for now, broken. Pure has arguably been since its creation the best raw food vegan restaurant in the city, and the backyard is truly, has Sarma says, magical. We hope that all the staff will be paid soon, and the restaurant back on its little duck feet.
So much that I don’t know how to get the words out.
A few weeks ago, Pure Food and Wine, both NYC One Lucky Duck stores, and even our online shipping and production space in Brooklyn closed down. The reasons and circumstances are complicated, emotionally loaded, and there is a lot I can say, need to say, and will say about that in the future. This company, this brand, what we do, what we can do, our customers, and yes, our employees are everything to me. For it to come apart, and in a way that harmed my staff, has been the most terrifying nightmare come true.
Since this happened, I’ve been wanting so badly to reach out, to write something, post anything, also via that world known as “social media” which as many know is indeed a meaningful means of connection. I’ve always been an over-communicator, and here I did the opposite. I also did not communicate with those most important – the staff – the ones who worked so hard everyday and made it all possible. And so I let them down on multiple levels. And they’re still waiting. And in the most heartbreaking way, those I haven’t reached out to yet, still thinking I must not care enough to bother. But in fact, I care so much and it hurts so much but I have to compartmentalize for now, because every moment I have available is spent working to fix this, to make it up, and to save this. Even writing this now I feel I should be on a call, pursing this lead or that, but I also just wanted to get this one first post out there.
Also, I know people have called for reservations and no one is answering, have emailed about placing orders for cookies and yet can’t do so. It’s one of our most amazing long time customers who is spending her time now, only to help, by replying to emails and calling reservations, to help explain what’s happened. But in this crisis—for me it has to be all about working towards the solution first and foremost. So if we F’d up your anniversary plans, birthday plans… please know I’m so sorry. And I won’t stop working until we’re in a position to make it up to each and every one of you. Also, of course there should be something posted on our website alerting people too… except… I don’t know how to do that myself. At least I know how to log into wordpress and so can post this, long overdue.
What I also know is that not ever would I or will I stop fighting for everyone who has been a part of Pure Food and Wine and One Lucky Duck. I have always been an open book in the past, yet lately this has all been far too overwhelming. When there is time and I’m able, I will have a lot to explain about how things happened, to express my feelings about it all, painful details and all, and hope that repair and rebuilding on a stronger foundation will be part of that.
Meanwhile, the support of those who badly want to have us back open and running, shipping cookies, serving up sundaes, and sake cocktails in our garden this coming spring, has been overwhelming in a good way. We need that support now more than ever. And the support I’m getting from some of those on the staff is also overwhelming. I just want to deliver for you all, more than anything. I’m one of those people for whom asking for help is among the more painful things imaginable. Admitting I can’t fix everything, handle everything, take care of everything all by myself is hard. But it’s clearer now than ever that that is the case, and has been the case for a long time.
Nothing is certain as of now, and I am quite honestly terrified, but it’s possible that things coming apart will have forced a long-needed restructuring that ensures a much brighter and safer future for the entire business. When you’ve been though bad break ups, relationships are scary. When you’ve been through troubled partnerships, the whole idea of partnership is scary. Yet, when it all falls apart on you, it is definitely the scariest of all.
I hope years from now I’ll be one of those people telling a younger generation that when you believe in something with all your heart and every fiber of your being, never ever give up. No matter what totally unusual and unpredictable roadblocks are thrown your way, just work through it. It will work out. That’s advice I need right now. Because right now, I’m trying so hard to work it out.
There’s so much more I could say and would like to say but first and foremost, finding the solution so I can indeed deliver, repair and heal is what’s occupying every waking moment (and there are more than usual since I have not been sleeping much either). And once I’ve repaired, it’s time to rebuild.
My visions have always been so big, with all their “change the world” idealism. I feel like it’s in my DNA to do this, and so getting knocked down again, even if it was my own fault this time, won’t keep me from getting on with it. I do need some time, a lot of help, and some understanding, but will make it work, and make it better than ever.
People have always said the garden at Pure Food and Wine is magical. I want to believe that’s true, and keep that magic happening this Spring.
With love, humility, and gratitude,