AUSTIN, Texas - For over a decade, this restaurant representing Slavic and Eastern European culture in downtown Austin went by the name The Russian House, but that all changed on Sunday afternoon. The owner decided to take "Russian" out of the restaurant’s name to stand in solidarity with Ukraine.
"It's okay to speak up and say that what's going on right now is wrong and needs to be stopped," said Varda Monamour, owner.
From The Russian House to just The House, Monamour says she is doing this to stand in solidarity with Ukraine during the recent Russian invasion, adding she does not support the war.
"To me, the name doesn't reflect what we really are. If it brings pain to others, we just feel like it needs to be just The House," she said.
She says it is a hard decision because she has always been proud of her culture, but it is a decision she wanted to make to ensure everyone feels comfortable during such tragic times.
"I'm doing this for the people of Ukraine because for them right now, the name is painful. I'm doing this for the people of Russia because there are so many people who don't want this. I'm doing this for the people of Austin because they need to know our position and understand what we really are," she said.
As the last letter was removed from the building, Monomour admits the feeling is bittersweet.
"I’m going to hold onto [the letters]. It's going to get to a point where we are back and not ashamed," she said.
Until then, she hopes the message stands loud and clear and people know that The House is for all.
"We just want everybody to come here and be happy and celebrate again and just tell everyone ‘Hey, welcome to The House’. That's it," she said.
The House will be donating a portion of all profits made from Ukrainian dishes to support refugees.
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