It was supposed to be the beginning of the future. No queues at the hot or cold counter, like in regular buffets. Only vending machines with sandwiches, cakes, drinks, cookies and other snacks. You drop a coin into the hole and you can eat or drink. This is how the small Korunka buffet was born at the lower end of Wenceslas Square. It is already clear from the name that he was born by his mother Koruna, the guru and foremother of Czechoslovak folk canteens.
Searching for the past of the self-service snack bar named Korunka was not entirely easy. There are basically no mentions of him on the internet, or at least I haven’t looked for them. There is also zero trace in the photo archives. Also, I couldn’t remember exactly where this socialist attempt at an unmanned cafeteria of the future was located. The brain is not always the most reliable chronicle. I was convinced that from the point of view of St. Wenceslas, it was somewhere in the lower right, perhaps somewhere next to the modernist building of the ČKD, directly opposite the Korun’s mother buffet.
Remembrancers mainly remember the sandwiches
Visitors to the Stará Prague beautiful portal helped in other memories. For that, I thank them and give them a big bow. So read along with them and reminisce… Some witnesses mention the prices, others give Korunka already at the turn of the 70s and 80s of the last century. Memories of prizes also differ.
I also couldn’t remember when this miracle of the gastronomy of the time opened. But it must have been the late eighties. Sometime at the same time, or a little later, a few hundred meters away, on Příkopě, the Arbat opened, something like the soft center of the Eastern Bloc. However, both Arbat and Korunka did not survive the onset of capitalism.
Only watching the movie Wild Pig helped. The social crime film was created in 1989, and if the regime had not fallen, it could have become the second blockbuster of Bony a klid, a film that also unadornedly showed how capitalist relations worked in a communist environment. But November 1989 was against it, and when Wild Swine went to cinemas, it was 1990 and the topic was already exhausted by that time. Three decades later, however, I see it differently. The film amazingly preserved the atmosphere, clothing, and behavior of people before the very end of the regime. And also the center of Prague. What did Václavák look like in 1989? Who else remembers?
And then, in one short shot almost at the end of the film, I noticed a sign behind Ondřej Pavelka, who played a policeman. He was moving down on Wenceslas Square, and the sign Korunka flashes behind him for a few moments. In the right corner of the Rapid Palace, where the foreign trade company and various similar and affiliated organizations were located.