The information and photos in this material are provided solely to familiarize you with the history of St. Petersburg in the 1990s and do NOT encourage you to drink alcohol.
McDonald’s became a landmark institution for St. Petersburg in the 1990s. The first restaurant in St. Petersburg appeared in Kamennoostrovsky, 39. It opened on September 10, 1996 – six years later in Moscow. There were many people who wanted to visit the restaurant: information was spread that the first hundred meals would be free. Mayor Vladimir Yakovlev came to the inauguration and right in front of his eyes, representatives of the National Bolshevik Party came out to protest. Their poster read: “Drink Coca-Cola, chew Snickers, your last day is coming, bourgeois!”
In 1997, the famous McDonald’s opened on Sredny Prospekt on Vasilyevsky Island: in addition to Yakovlev, the ceremony was attended by the company’s president, George Kohan. The restaurant was scheduled to open on the last day of April, but the Finnish manufacturers did not have time, so it was ready by May 8. Later, a clock appeared in the turret.
There were many who wanted to try American fast food, although there was no comparison with the Moscow queues.
For some, going to McDonald’s was another act of showing off their wealth: visitors put their radios and cell phones on tables and trays, often pouring them cola and cocktails.
According to the memoirs of one of the employees of the first “McDac” in St. Petersburg, the competition between the candidates was initially at least 35 people per position. Each employee had a number, so everyone recognized each other by that and not by the last name. McDonald’s transferred his salary to savings banks.
But even before McDonald’s, people in the northern capital were already familiar with fast food. The first to arrive were the Finnish Burger Carrolls, which quickly developed a network in the city, but years later could not withstand the competition with their American counterparts and the 1998 bankruptcy.
An even more interesting alternative was the Laima bistro on the embankment of the Griboyedov canal at the Nevsky Prospect metro station: it opened in 1995. The establishment was not set up as a fast food restaurant, probably because, in addition to burgers and potatoes, it offered salads, soups, fish and dishes. with whole meat.
The Bistro “Laima” worked around the clock and occupied two floors simultaneously with classic interiors, stucco and Roman ceilings. All this attracted visitors, especially since many attractions and the Russian Museum are just two steps away.
Later, a second bistro opened in Petrogradka, but differed in style from the first. The cafeteria is currently closed.
Around the same time as Laima, another fast food restaurant, Galeo, opened in St. Petersburg. He specialized in chicken dishes. Here you can try soup, chicken burgers and fried chicken pieces.
Meals at these facilities cost from 3,000 to 17,000 rubles, while the average salary in 1996 was about 700,000 rubles.
In the early 1990s, the concept of “restaurant life” did not yet exist: Soviet catering prevailed in St. Petersburg, although many high-quality and expensive shops were still open. One of them is the “Gull” on the Griboedov channel (now there is the “Dining Room No. 1” here). At first, it was a classic Soviet restaurant, but then, with the participation of the Germans, it was bought by new owners.
It was distinguished by a truly Western approach to both management and cuisine – foreigners cooked there. Only German marks or dollars were accepted in the restaurant and foreign tourists, robbers, black market traders and other wealthy customers visited Chaika.
Here you could try sushi in St. Petersburg, although it cost about $ 120 – a lot of money at the time, comparable to a monthly salary. Japanese restaurants began to open much later: the first Kyoto appeared in 1997 and only at the beginning of the 21st century did the inhabitants of St. Petersburg have a choice of such facilities and the prices for the dishes gradually decreased.
Some remember the Aphrodite restaurant on Nevsky Prospekt, which in the 1990s was famous for its lobsters, the then exotic Greek salad or mozzarella salad, and a variety of fish and seafood.
Even snails and frog legs were on the restaurant menu in 1995. But they were not at all in the rubles they had to pay for these unprecedented delicacies.
The restaurant “1913” on Voznesensky Avenue still exists. A famous and expensive band with an emphasis on Russian pre-revolutionary cuisine opened in 1994 and not everyone could afford to dine or dine there. Today, however, “1913” is a fairly affordable restaurant.
Among the popular facilities of St. Petersburg at that time are also the closed Antwerp, Tête-à-tête, Actor, Noble Nest, Adamant.
Not to mention the adorable unusual places that combined the restaurant and the respective season of entertainment. From 1997 to 2004 the Khali-Gali Bar operated in St. Petersburg, becoming famous for combining the authentic and the disgusting. Long iron tables, on which were placed not only cutlery, but also condoms, waitresses with few uniforms, almost indecently strange tables, a stuffed bat and many other details made the complex a kind of symbol of the times. Various dishes were served here, including the pans that were set on fire in front of an enthusiastic audience. Showman and radio presenter Roman Trachtenberg has successfully appeared as an entertainer. His speeches were accompanied by performances that were by no means for the Puritans. But young people light up everyday life in Khali-Gali with pleasure.
A kind of continuation of the bar was the restaurant “Call of Ilyich” – the intellectual child of 1999. As the name suggests, its interior contained elements of the Soviet past, from flags to a bust of Lenin. The waitresses were dressed in provocative pioneer uniforms.
At the same time, the guests felt the atmosphere of the club and the menu could choose not only Russian but also French dishes. The restaurant closed in 2007. However, after that, other establishments in St. Petersburg began to adopt a similar form.
Read other interesting materials about the history and life of the city in the section “In love with St. Petersburg”.
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