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Restaurants, coffee houses, kitchen shops and more: How restaurant business has developed in the Russian Empire

Today, restaurants and cafes in the Russian open spaces are a common occurrence. You can find gourmet establishments for those who want a quick bite to eat, for romantic dates and banquets on a grand scale, for every taste and budget. But a few centuries ago, everything was different. In this review, about how in the Russian Empire appeared taverns, kitchen shops, coffee houses, restaurants and other catering establishments.

Restaurants – come on and drink
Initially, taverns were not created at all so that common people would relax in them after hard work. These institutions were pleased to be visited by wealthy people, as well as respectable foreign guests. For example, one of the first taverns in St. Petersburg was opened in 1720 and was located on Trinity Square. It was a public house. He became famous thanks to Peter I, a lover of aniseed vodka. The anisovka in the Tavern house was excellent, and the tsar with pleasure went to the tavern to rest from the affairs of the vain.

The restaurant, according to Gilyarovsky, replaced the exchange, the canteen, the place of dates and revelry. Boris Kustodiev, Tavern.

The restaurant, according to Gilyarovsky, replaced the exchange, the canteen, the place of dates and revelry. Boris Kustodiev, Tavern.

But not only due to the anise, the taverns kept afloat. Foreigners, who quickly realized what kind of profit could be obtained from such establishments, offered overseas, gourmet dishes. In fact, such establishments could be safely classified as current restaurants.

Years flew by, the great Peter passed away. Restaurants gradually began to lose their gloss. The owners received a ban on billiards, vodka and beer also fell out of favor, the waiters became “sexually active”. What was left? Cheap wine, inexpensive and unpretentious food. The effect was not long in coming: poor people felt the charm of a tavern. The Kaback wave swept the Russian cities. (By the way, as far back as 1746, the word “tavern” giving vodka was replaced with “a drinking establishment”, trying to alleviate the “disgust” of drunkenness.) Workers and craftsmen, cabmen and just tramps stayed in taverns until the morning to go straight to work from there or let’s hit the road. Few establishments managed to resist and not turn into places noisy, dirty, packed to capacity, where fights and showdowns took place regularly.

Restaurants: French are advancing
Restaurateur. A beautiful name that has transformed into a restaurant today. The first restaurants appeared at hotels at the beginning of the 19th century. And again, the foreigners made the first bets! For many years they held such establishments, enjoying the popularity of the whole “Aglitsky” and French. The French were very successful in this, the fashion for Parisian outfits and the French language was rampant. She got to the food. Representatives of high society and lovers of a beautiful life met in the restaurants of some Pierre or Jacques to taste French delicacies.

Restaurateurs created the illusion of chic and luxury. The visitors were served here not by grimy “sex”, but “people”. And these were no longer guys in shirts and aprons, but polite employees in white gloves, shining shirt-fronters and black tailcoats. The head waiter also worked in the perfectly ironed coat, who was waiting for visitors, met them and masterfully led the waiters.

Golden youth quickly appreciated the charm of the appeared institutions. Having woken up at 2-3 o’clock in the afternoon, young sloths went to restaurant to brag of the night adventures and new suits. Well, of course, have lunch. Ladies began to visit such places much later, in the middle of the XIX century, and passed them only in tandem with a man.

It was a period of kitsch and ostentation. The main thing is to lure at any cost! Huge mirrors were bought, winter gardens with fountains and birds were built, tubs with unknown plants were placed, even peacocks wandered sadly in the halls. And the menu … There was something to please a stomach that was missing a meal. Want fresh fruit – please! Rare wines from France, delicious truffles and fat goose liver from the outskirts of Paris – will be fulfilled! Belgian and Swiss sweets – this very minute!

Coffee Shops, Tea & Confectioneries For Sweet Tooth
And again the fashion was introduced by the progressive Peter I, who not only fought with beards and dressed his subjects with elegant chic, but also loved coffee. The drink was worth a penny and was available to everyone. Of course, in the 19th century, Russian coffee houses were significantly inferior to foreign establishments of the “coffee” direction. Vissarion Belinsky noted that the common people of the masculine sex respects coffee and cigarettes, and the female sex from the common people can do without vodka and tea, but “decisively can’t live without coffee.”

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