Because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war, downtown Austin restaurant Russian House has decided to change its name permanently. Owner Varda Monamour shortened the name of the restaurant to just House, according to KXAN.
Monamour announced the new name was announced during an event at the 307 East Fifth Street restaurant on Sunday, February 27. The physical signage of “Russian” was removed at that time.
Per the name change, Monamour told KXAN: “To me, the name doesn’t reflect what we really are. And if it saddens or brings pain to others, we just feel it needs to be ‘The House’ — the house for everyone.” She later added that the original name could be “painful” for Ukrainians. The change was also in honor of the Russians who are against the war and for Austinites, “because they need to know our position and understand what we really are.”
The restaurant hosted a gathering for people against the war on Thursday, February 24, and closed for brunch on Saturday, February 26 so that employees and guests could attend the rally against the war at the Capitol.
Monamour opened the restaurant in 2012 with the goal of introducing and showcasing Russian, Eastern European, and Slavic cuisines. That resulted in dishes and items such as Ukrainian borscht, Russian pelmeni, Uzbek plov, chicken kiev, and infused vodkas. She opened the restaurant with chef Vladimir Gribkov, who had previously cooked in Russia, Ukraine, France, and Germany.