“Although Leopold Hawelka cannot remember the Emperor, he acts as if he saw His Majesty every day. Who has once visited Café Hawelka, will know what I mean. Herr Leopold is blessed with that science of clairvoyance, which is the privilege of the truly great restaurateurs, and thanks to which he finds out all your wishes. Herr Leopold is just sitting in the corner, under the weight of his hundred years, sipping coffee, straightening his bow-tie, you get up from the table because you want to piss, and Herr Leopold exactly know that you stood up for a piss, so he points where you find the bathroom. The situation is similar if you stood up for any other reason, Leopold finds out that one more coffee, five wines plus four apricot brandies.

This was exactly our order. How much pleasure we had in it, what a smile it brought to our cheek, how much we flushed from it! I was sitting in the dark, smoky room, which has not been renovated since the war, and my chest was kneaded by a greater pride than as if I took part at a maharaja’s party, since I had a better place here, barricaded away from the tourists flocking from France, Spain or Albion, as this place is only visited by people coming from the little corner of the world called Mitteleuropa. I thought about the two brave Moravians, the Hawelka brothers, who one day decided to leave their homeland. One went south and settled in Vienna, the other the north, and came to Krakow, and although both left forever the region of Brünn and Olmütz, none of them left the territory of the state where they were born. He in Vienna opened a café and was satisfied with it, the one in Krakow opened a deli and offered a breakfast service, a very trendy business at that time, which allowed for the habitués the on-site consumption of the purchased goods in back rooms dedicated for this purpose.

Both businesses prospered very well, so the brothers put roots in their new places. The one in Vienna became a German, the one in Krakow a Pole, he started to write his name as Hawełka, and since the Strasbourg foie gras, the Prague and Dalmatian ham, the curd of Liptov and Olomouc, the oysters of Pelješac, the Istrian truffle and the Braunschweig brawn have always ben excellent in his shop, he won the title of Purveyor to the Imperial and Royal Court. Ah, if one was permitted to print on his products in the local language, that Purv. to the Imp. and Roy.! He no longer needed any other letter of recommendation, any consumer’s recognition, laurels, professional honors, golden and silver balances, copper groschens or Michelin stars. “Purveyor to the Imperial and Royal Court”, that’s all. Even the kids in Czernowitz know that His Majesty only consumes the finest things.

Over time, the breakfast place was developed into a restaurant, whose reputation also reached beyond the borders of the Empire. The Viennese coffee house was also besieged by the art world of the imperial city as well as by large number of travelers. This is how the story of the brave Moravian brothers became part of the history of the Monarchy, and this is how it was amalgamated with the traditions of two nations, the Austrians and the Poles, with which they originally had nothing to do.”

1 comentario:

MOCKBA dijo...

So what happened to Hawelka's coffeehouse during WWII?