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‘I feel devastated’: Owner of Boise’s only Russian restaurant responds to war in Ukraine


The owner of Alyonka Russian Cuisine in Boise posted a heartfelt video message on Instagram – responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Elena DeYoung – who was coined the nickname Alyonka as a child – was born and raised in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan. As well as being the owner and chef of Alyonka’s today, she is the event coordinator for Boise’s popular Russian Food Festival.

[Russian restaurant to light up old State & Lemp]

Earlier this week, she weighed in on the war in Ukraine on the restaurant’s Instagram page: “Food is not about politics. It’s about love and friendship. Here in our restaurant, we have people from all over the world. We have Armenian (people) close to me. We have Ukrainians working shoulder to shoulder. We have Russian people – people from Belarus. And Americans too!”

In addition to showing unity within the restaurant, she expressed her sympathy and sadness for families in Ukraine and thanked the community for their support.

“Whatever is happening in the world we have nothing to do with. I am so saddened about it. I know there are regular people suffering – regular families and their children that flee out of their house. And I’m very upset about it. But I have hope too…. that somebody will have common sense and stop this. Thank you for supporting us. I truly appreciate that.”

Alongside her video message – Elena wrote about her experience growing up in the USSR and notes that she still has hope. “Hope that common sense will prevail and peace will soon follow.” You can read her full message and watch the video below.

Alyonka’s is located on State Street in what used to be the State and Lemp restaurant.

Anna Daly - BoiseDev Reporter
Anna Daly - BoiseDev Reporter
Anna Daly is a reporter for BoiseDev. She's an Emmy-winning journalist, and a professor at the College of Western Idaho. Contact her at [email protected].

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