Giving a Piece of One's Energy to Each Restaurant Giving a Piece of One's Energy to Each Restaurant

Giving a Piece of One's Energy to Each Restaurant

15. 04.2024

Owning a famous restaurant in Prague is a big deal, due to the competition in the gastro scene in the city on the Vltava River. But when you have three such restaurants, the question arises as to how this is possible. We know how. Behind this success is Yuri Kolesnik, an unusually imaginative and hardworking man, who gave us an insight into the origin of all his unconventional enterprises.

Your restaurants are very different. What inspired you to create the three different business concepts?

It's not a well-thought-out plan. The difference is a reflection of the life stages I went through. At a certain age, or personality development, I had the need to create something new.

Was La Veranda your first restaurant?

Yes, it was created 21 years ago. I travelled a lot in big cities back then and was amazed by everything I saw there. I had the feeling that Prague lacked such interesting restaurants and that I would be the first to introduce the new concept to Czechs. But the beginnings were difficult, including the fact that we had to make complex alterations to the premises where La Veranda was established.

Was La Veranda an immediate success with customers?

Actually yes, but I felt the concept was missing something. It took me several years to understand that the Czechs are a small nation and prefer a homely, cosy environment, despite being luxurious. So I changed the gastro concept and the interior to the theme: a family that had lived in France for a long time and now returned home to the Czech Republic. In some ways, the environment is reminiscent of the South of France, but there is also something strongly Czech about it. And it worked. So well, that our guests don't even want to leave us to go back home. We try to ensure that everything here is balanced, service, food, etc., and this is reflected in the number of visitors.

What was the impetus for creating another interesting restaurant, Babiččina zahrada (“Grandma's Garden”)?

You know, in Odessa, where I come from, people, like here in the Czech Republic, greatly enjoy going to their cottages. They call them "dacha". There can be even a few dozen dachas in one place. There are no fences between them, and in the evening, when people return, they gather in large groups and talk and feast together. And it was this style that I liked and for which I also found an interesting plot of land in Průhonice.

What appealed to you about this plot of land?

It was 2000 m2 in size and I decided to remove the big parking lot and instead create a large garden with several gazebos. Each group or family thus has its privacy, but at the same time they are actually together. We have eventually adjusted the selection of the kitchen. Instead of purely Czech, we went for the concept of the cuisine of European grandmothers. And it paid off again. For example, families like to come here for "home-made meals", i.e. meals that are very laborious or require a lot of time and experience to prepare. Instead of cooking, they can spend time with each other and eat well in Grandma's Garden.

Guests can satisfy the appetite, as well as refreshing the mind and body in Babiččina zahrada

This is related to the next phase of my life, when I began to devote myself to spiritual practice. I found out that, in order to have enough strength to run all three restaurants, I needed to recharge my batteries somehow. For example, I can't imagine a day without meditation. So I wanted to offer the pleasure of spiritual refreshment to my guests as well. Therefore, I built a small guest house in Babiččina zahrada, which has 8 bedrooms, and also set aside a space for various practices such as yoga, tai chi, etc., as well as for massages.

What about your third restaurant, The Bistro, how did it come about?

After four years, when "Grandma's" was established, I was already thinking about something else and something new. I used to go to Spain a lot at that time, and I liked their custom of serving small appetisers – tapas. But it's not just sliced cheese or ham, like in the Czech Republic. They are also really filling meals, including cooked food. But the portions are small. You can eat five tapas and still not feel uncomfortably full. The Bistro, my restaurant near I.P. Pavlova, is actually a wine bar, where you can also have delicious appetisers along with excellent wines. I'm probably enjoying The Bistro the most at the moment.

With three restaurants popular with guests, you must feel contented…

I don't like the word "contented". Of course, I do everything with my family and co-workers to make our customers happy. And sometimes it really is a chore to keep all our enterprises running smoothly. Mainly from a maintenance and supply point of view. But I belong to the generation that knew how to deal with everything. In the past, I was an electrician and so I can fix some problems myself. And since there are three enterprises, there is always something to fix. But coming back to that contentment, I like the word "excited" better. I want our guests to be excited when they leave and then I will also be excited. And that is much more than satisfaction!

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