Sak’s is Ukrainian owned and staffed and has a large Ukrainian clientele. My friends call it the Neighborhood Hunting Lodge and Art Gallery because there are all these huge stuffed animal heads on the wall and they have lots of landscape paintings in the back. We found ourselves in a funny situation here one night. One of our friends wanted to order a White Russian at the end of the evening, but we didn’t know if that term was derogatory to Ukrainians. We thought, “Oh my gosh, are we being politically incorrect to order this drink? Do we dare, can we, is that rude?” We knew that something bad had happened in Ukraine, but we couldn’t remember what its relationship with Russia was. When our friend ordered his drink he sort of whispered and said it really fast. The waitress didn’t understand him, and he tried to enunciate and she was like, “What? What?” Finally he was screaming, “May I please have a White Russian?” and the entire bar turned and looked and the music stopped just at that point (they were playing Ukrainian-Euro house music, by the way). The waitress brought the drink without saying a word–and no one else did either. We still don’t know what “White Russian” means.
–Nancy Cole, reflexologist