Brighton Beach’s ‘Taste of Russia’ Permanently Changes Name in Protest of War in Ukraine

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By Jessica Easthope

Beneath the rumble of the “L” train, a row of colorful storefront awnings come to a complete stop.

Customers know it only now as their favorite spot, they go there to find great food and common ground – but officially it’s nameless.

“Being that we’re in the midst of the Russian community we just felt very, very uncomfortable with the name we’re against the war and we just feel very, very bad about what’s going on in the Ukraine,” said Bobby Rakhman, the store’s owner.

Until recently, the store was called Taste of Russia, in the heart of Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach, home to hundreds of thousands of Russian-speaking immigrants and the largest population of Ukrainians in the United States.

Owner, Bobby Rakhman is Russian. He says as the sound of chaos and bombs pierce the streets of his customer’s native country – his store has never been more calm.

“It’s kind of more peaceful right now, the whole community is coming together,” he said.

For many customers, looking up and seeing the hollowed out metal framing of where the sign once proudly stood – has made them – even more proud.

“Russians and Ukrainians in the United States we’re all together and we don’t want to fight, we don’t want anybody to feel guilty, we stick together,” said Mira Malkeyeva.

Since the start of the war, Ukrainian Phillip Borovskiy finds himself craving the taste of home more often.

“It’s hard, part of you wants to go back to help out, I have a lot of friends who went back to help out but I have kids over here, it’s sad it’s hard you grew up over there you’re just praying every day,” he said.

Bobby says the decision to take the sign down is all part of his commitment to serve everyone who steps in his store.

“This gentleman just passed by and said thank you to the owners for taking down the sign,” he said.

“That must make you feel nice.”

“Yeah it does, it really does.”

Bobby says the permanent change will be made later this week and that the new name will be something symbolic and indicative of how he feels about the war.