Vinárna Jana

There is an awkward time in the day for a restaurant to have customers. During the slow times in the afternoon the staff counts on not having customers so they can do the preparation work for the evening. When I worked in a pizzeria, it was the time we cooked up the sausage, made the dough, baked the rolls, or whatever else required doing. When a customer came in, someone would have to put down what they were doing and prepare a meal. That’s not to say that customers weren’t welcome, in fact some of our favorite regulars came in during those hours and we would chat with them once we got back to our prep tasks.

I get the feeling they like being disrupted here less than at other places. Then again, they’re czech, and in fact I might have caught them in an especially good mood but they would never let a customer see that.

Vinárna Jana is fairly close to my house, right next to the post office, but most times I pass this way the place is closed. I think that’s because it’s just a bit off my regular track, and I get over this way mainly when everything else is closed as well. The restaurant is divided between a vinárna (wine bar) and a pivnice, which translates literally as “beer place”. (As with the mythical many names of snow, it seems like the czechs have a lot of diffferent ways to say ‘bar’.) I think the two are connected, at any rate.

When I first stepped inside and looked around my reaction was favorable. There is lots of dark wood, floral cloths on the tables, and only a faint smell of tobacco. I took the smallest table in the place — I don’t like to take more than I need, even though I am the only customer. This is not a place where I will be facing communications challenges; I will not be confronted with more than “Yes?” “One more?” and “You’re welcome.”

I just took a break to shovel down some very tasty chicken in a blue cheese sauce. The place is dark on this gloomy afternoon and they are doing nothing about it. Suits me fine. The radio is on a station that plays Glen Campbell and his associates from America and domestically raised. The song playing now is in Czech, occasionally punctuated with a “Goodbye Joe”, while the backup singers are straight out of ’70’s classics like “Big John”.

It’s a good place. My meal out of the way I am no longer disruptive to the workflow of the kitchen — in fact, I believe I was overconcerned before, as they are all sitting around now, enjoying an afternoon meal. The sound of czechs singing to banjo music is pleasant, and there’s still plenty of time on the laptop battery. I think I’ll be here a while.

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