Requiem for a Cafe / Grocery Store

It’s a sad day in Austin. Sasha Lifschitz closes down Sasha’s Market today, which for years was THE place in Austin to eat and buy groceries if you were Russian or a Russophile. As a mark of mourning, and a remembrance of good times back when I lived in Austin and could be a regular patron, I’m posting the following anecdote:

SCENE: My friend Bryan and I, many years back, are sitting in Sasha’s Russian Market in Houston (the original one), having lunch. The waiter comes around with a bottle of vodka and a question:

WAITER: Would you gentlemen like some vodka?

ME: Sounds good, how much?

WAITER: Oh, we can’t sell it, because we don’t have a liquor license. But you’re welcome to have some as our guests.

We happily accept, but then something occurs to Bryan, who calls the waiter back to point out a slight discrepancy with the whole Russian restaurant theme:

BRYAN: Hey, wait a minute – this is French vodka. Why are you guys serving French vodka?

WAITER [looking at Bryan with a look that clearly says, “Ah, not very bright, are we?”]: Because that’s what was in the refrigerator.

До свидания, Sasha’s, vade in pace.


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