A new pop-up bistro has opened next to the Šlechtova Villa in Prague’s Stromovka park. The stand, in a black former shipping container, serves burgers, hot dogs, fries, ice cream, beer and other refreshments. In the long term, a restaurant will open in the renovated villa, but that has again been delayed.
The bistro, called Šlechtovka Together, is run by the culinary group Together. It is a temporary solution until the renovation of the landmark 17th-century villa, which originally served as a summer house, is completed. The restaurant in the villa was supposed to open in the summer of 2020, but now it seems spring 2021 is more likely. Renovations to the villa began in 2017.
Until the villa is ready for customers, the popup stand will at least offer something. Once the villa opens, the stand will be removed. Food and refreshments will come from the villa instead, and options will be more extensive.
“We will fulfill the wishes of the municipality with the bistro. Šlechtovka, of course, has strong historical connotations, and after opening it will become a multifunctional space. And the culinary concept will go in the same direction. In addition to fast food, you will also find a confectionery and a classic café there,” Together co-founder David Petřík said. (Šlechtovka is diminutive form of Šlechtova, and people use them interchangeably.)
The Together Group operates several Prague restaurants such as Bruxx, Vinohradský Parlament, Potrefená Husa on Hybernská Street, Sia, the bistro Sisters, and the Lukáš Skála confectionery. The group also runs the Foodway Catering company, which is overseeing the temporary bistro in Stromovka. Foodway will also operate the culinary service in the villa, once it opens.
On Facebook, Foodway said the bistro would be open from 10 am to 10 pm throughout the summer, serving food and Plzeň beer.
Together Group told daily Blesk that they hope to honor the heritage of the location. “We are convinced that we will pay tribute to the former glory of the local cuisine and also build a new meeting place for people across generations,” Together said, adding that they want to create a place for neighborhood, sports and cultural activities where people can enjoy quality food and drink at affordable prices.
The city wants to ensure that the renovated building is accessible to the general public, and not an exclusive venue for VIPs.
“From the beginning, we want Šlechtovka to be a place where Praguers can stop for a good beer and soft drink at normal prices. We are glad that we agreed on this with the selected operator,” City Councilor Hana Třeštíková (Praha Sobě), responsible for culture, said according to press reports.
At the same time, renovations on the villa and the surroundings are coming to a close. A new flower bed just opened in front of the villa, not far from the pop-up bistro. This is part of the ongoing renovations to the ponds, lawns, and walkways in Stromovka.
“The oval flower bed in front of the Šlechtova restaurant is designed according to the historical appearance of the flower bed from the period of the First Republic. It is a carpet-type flower bed planted with annual flowers in the form of an ornament based on a historical model. The flower beds west of the former alpine are designed according to contemporary trends. These are mixed plantings of annuals,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček (United Force for Prague), responsible for the environment, said.
A total of 13,506 annuals and 30 roses were planted in flower beds. This autumn, the annuals will be replaced by the planting of 8,664 bulbs and 11,633 biennials. The investor and sponsor of the project documentation is the City’s Department of Environmental Protection.
Plans to renovate the building have been discussed since the 1990s, but the damage from a fire in the 1980s made potential repairs expensive.
A renovation approved by the previous City Hall coalition led by then-mayor Adriana Krnáčová (ANO) was originally projected at about Kč 250 million. The project was then redesigned and simplified by architects to bring the cost down to Kč 120 million.
Šlechtova began as a royal summer hunting lodge when Stromovka was still a game reserve for the royal family. It was built between 1689 and 1692, paid for by Count Kryštof František Vratislav z Mitrovic, as a gift for Emperor Leopold I.
The park was a military grounds in the first half of the 18th century, and the lodge was used as a warehouse for grain and hay.
In the middle of the 19th century, Stromovka opened to the public as a park.
In 1855–6, the building was rebuilt according to the plans by architect Bernard Grueber in the Neo-Gothic style as the garden restaurant.
In 1883 Václav Šlechta opened a famous restaurant there. which gives the building its current name. His family operated it until the beginning of World War II.
After the war, the restaurant was still partially in operation, but the building had fallen into disrepair. It eventually closed when the Šlechta family refused to turn the restaurant operations over to the then-communist government.
It was declared a cultural landmark in 1964, but it continued to deteriorate.