Bad Vegan: Release Date, Cast, And More - Everything We Know So Far

Fans of true crime stories, celebrity scandals, and the high-end dining of the rich and famous will find a combination of all three in a new series airing soon on Netflix: "Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives." The docuseries explores the rise and the strange, criminal demise of one of the (former) hottest and most acclaimed restaurants in New York City. "Bad Vegan" is much more than just a story of a restaurant scandal and one restaurateur's fall from grace, however. According to People, the series reveals some truly bizarre events that took place along the way, including conspiracy theories, blackmail, and ominous references to a "meat suit." (We don't know what that is, and we're a little afraid to find out!) 

As Glamour shares, Netflix has been feeding true crime lovers a steady diet of scandalous docuseries for the last two years, releasing shows like "Tinder Swindler," "Tiger King," and the story of a woman who convinced everyone she was an heiress in "Inventing Anna." They're continuing that diet with "Bad Vegan," with the added bonus that hardcore foodies will get a glimpse behind the scenes of the once-legendary restaurant where the controversy went down. 

What's the release date for Bad Vegan?

The good news is that you won't have to wait very long to sink your teeth into this juicy, real-life, vegan drama. In a press release, Netflix shares that "Bad Vegan" will premiere in the U.S. on Wednesday, March 16, at 3 a.m. Eastern time. The same time and date are listed for the series' debut in countries outside of the U.S., as well. 

"Bad Vegan" will air as a four-part series, which on the surface makes it seem that the episodes will be really easy to binge-watch. (A whole series in just four hours? No problem!) However, Netflix doesn't specify exactly how the episodes will be released. According to CNET, Netflix and other streaming services have been experimenting more and more as of late with a gradual release strategy for their shows. The format may look like one episode airing each week or, as will be the case with Season 4 of "Stranger Things," splitting the whole season over two release dates. Audiences will have to wait until the 16th to find out just how Netflix will decide to air this new show.

What is Bad Vegan about?

According to People, "Bad Vegan: Fame. Fraud. Fugitives." is centered around Sarma Melngailis, the owner and founder of the now-closed raw food and vegan restaurant Pure Food & Wine. Popsugar shares that the restaurant was open in New York City from 2004 through 2015. At the time, Melngailis was lauded for her innovative cuisine and for her restaurant's sophisticated vegan dining experience. It was an everyday occurrence at Pure Food & Wine to spot celebrities like Woody Harrelson and Alec Baldwin in the dining room, and in the trailer for the show, staff share that Owen Wilson would sometimes stroll through the kitchen. 

The trailer reveals that Melngailis' success began to unravel after she became business partners with — and eventually married — a man named Anthony Strangis, a mysterious figure with a criminal past. The bubble burst for both the restaurant and Melngailis when, after it was discovered that she and Strangis had stolen millions from Pure Food & Wine's stakeholders, they were arrested (bizarrely, thanks to a non-vegan pizza delivery order) and charged with larceny and fraud. "Bad Vegan" explores the strange relationship between Melngailis and Strangis and digs into the intriguing question of who was the actual mastermind behind their massive con. 

Who will appear in Bad Vegan?

In the trailer shared on YouTube, Netflix describes "Bad Vegan" as "a journey more bizarre than fiction." The documentary features interviews with former staff speaking about what they observed at Sarma Melngailis' restaurant, Pure Food & Wine. According to Eater, staff members were forced to unionize over unpaid wages, which contextualizes scenes shown in the trailer of people picketing outside the restaurant. One person interviewed in the series is Joey Repice, who, according to his LinkedIn page, was the beverage director at Pure Food & Wine for 10 years. In an Instagram post from Netflix promoting "Bad Vegan," Repice's wife @IAmLisaParis commented, "Can't wait for you all to meet my amazing husband @joeyshotsauce in this doc ... we lived through the whole scandal. It was epically crazy!!!" 

Dubbed by one person in the trailer as "the vegan Bernie Madoff," Melngailis herself appears in "Bad Vegan," produced by Chris Smith of "Tiger King" (via People). A clip at the end of the trailer shows her seated for an interview as a voice offscreen asks, "What happened to you?" Though there are one or two glimpses of a shadowy figure resembling her husband, it's unclear if the present-day Strangis actually appears in this series.