A couple that lost home twice has started a new life and business in Lviv in two months
Daria is a senior police lieutenant who quit the service after her second son was born. She and her husband Stanislav lived in Donetsk near the Donetsk airport, destroyed due to the war actions in 2014-2015.
The family was forced to flee and found a new home in Mariupol. “We immediately fell in love with every corner of it,” recalls Daria. “When there was a front-line zone in Donetsk, Ukrainian revival was taking place in Mariupol. Mariupol has turned into a beautiful city by the sea, where you want to live and relax.”
Stanislav worked as a cook in Japanese restaurants for 13 years. Together the couple learned the art of running a business in practice by opening a Japanese restaurant a year ago. It was located in the neighborhood right near the Azovstal plant, which faced all the horrors of the full-scale war. The place became loved by the locals very fast. The couple opened a second spot in the city center less than two months before February 24, 2022.
When the full-scale war had started, they took nothing from their restaurants — just gave the keys to employees, asking them to take all the food and give it to anyone who needed it. They left Mariupol with just warm clothes for the children and Daria’s laptop with a program for accepting orders from the website. It was her duty within the business.
Almost all their employees remained in Mariupol. One of them died. And others became either internally displaced persons or refugees.
After the hard path, they found themselves in Lviv, the city in the West of Ukraine, having no friends or relatives. Nevertheless, with the help of volunteers, they found shelter. Stanislav immediately started volunteering in the kitchen, cooking for those in need.
Losing home for the second time did not kill their eagerness to run a business. So in two months, the couple opened their Japanese food place in Lviv. They employed both Mariupol and Lviv residents, and the spot has become popular and profitable. Now Daria and Stanislav are working on opening the restaurant, not just the delivery service.
“When it becomes safe in Mariupol, we will definitely go there, restart our business there but probably return to live in Lviv. This is also our home now,” says Daria.