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Meet Sarma Melngailis, Con Artist Who Allegedly Introduced Alec And Hilaria Baldwin At Her Vegan Restaurant In 2011

Photo: YouTube
Sarma Melngailis

The curious case of Hilaria Baldwin keeps getting more and more interesting.

As more details about Alec Baldwin’s wife come out by the hour, internet sleuths are looking at every possible connection to the famous A-list couple who’s currently being looked at under a microscope by — well, literally everyone at this point.

Alec and Hilaria Baldwin have long maintained the story that they met by fate at Pure Food and Wine in 2011, one of the hottest vegan restaurants in New York City at the time. 

Both Alec and Hilaria were good friends with the former owner, Sarma Melngailis, who was charged with 24 counts of theft, labor fraud, and tax crime charges in 2016. She ended up serving four months in jail, and was released in 2017, and has been called a “con artist” by many who knew her.

Who is Sarma Melngailis?

Read on for all the sketchy details about Sarma Melngailis, including reports that she orchestrated the meeting of Alec and Hilaria Baldwin, and the wild details about her and her ex-husband’s arrest. 

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Sarma Melngailis is the former owner of Pure Food and Wine.

Sarma Melngailis is the former owner and co-founder of the popular NYC vegan restaurant, Pure Food and Wine. She is also the former CEO and co-founder of One Lucky Duck, the takeaway retail store that was attached to Pure Food and Wine.

Celebs like Woody Harrelson, Bill Clinton, and of course, Alec Baldwin, were known to frequent the restaurant.

She and her ex-husband, Anthony Strangis, were arrested in Tennessee in 2016.

In 2014, staff members of the couple’s restaurants walked out because they weren’t getting paid their monthly wages. 

In 2015, Melngailis closed her restaurants down, wrote a blog post about the shutdown and said she was behind on her own rent payments, then reopened a few months later. The restaurants permanently closed shortly after. 

Melngailis and her ex-husband, Anthony Strangis, were arrested at a Fairfield Inn & Suites in Sevierville, Tennessee.

The party responsible for busting the couple who was on the run after they stole $2 million from their business? An order of Domino’s pizza and wings to their $99/night hotel room. 

Sevierville Detective Kevin Bush said, “I have excellent intelligence that [Strangis] ordered the pizza and wings.” 

Strangis allegedly maintained that Melngailis ordered the pizza and wings to the hotel room, while Melngailis said she was still a devout vegan at the time of their arrest.

Alec Baldwin and Hilaria Baldwin met at Pure Food and Wine in 2011. 

Alec and Hilaria Baldwin have long maintained their story of fatefully running into each other at Pure Food and Wine in 2011. 

“8 years ago, I wandered into Pure Food and Wine on Irving Place, on an unseasonably warm February evening,” Alec wrote in an Instagram post in 2018. 

“My friend, @bocartist and I sat down (outside!) and as I turned to my left I saw a woman who would change my life. Entirely,” he added. “8 years today. Thanks for all you’ve given me. You are a gift.”

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“I was standing near the door with my friends when he walked up and took my hand and said, ‘I must know you,’” Hilaria recalled in a 2012 interview.

“'You must know me?’” she replied, adding that Alec gave her his card after they chatted for a bit.

Some reports claim that Sarma told Hilaria that Alec would be at the restaurant the night they met.

Although Alec and Hilaria Baldwin have insisted that they met by chance, one anonymous social media user claims that Hilaria was informed that Alec would be at the restaurant that night.

“Sarma Melngailis is a criminal. She and Hillary Thomas knew one another in Massachusetts through Hillary's mom,” the social media user alleged

“Sarma let Hillary know Alec was coming to the restaurant that ‘fateful’ night. The whole thing was a set up. BTW the article mentions the people who ponied up money to get Sarma out of trouble. Alec kicked in $100k on Hilaria's request. He really is an idiot,” the social media user added. 

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Olivia Jakiel is an editor and writer who covers celebrity and entertainment news. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her zingers on Twitter