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blind date:
Very talkative canteen worker.

Most of the things in the canteen are marked with „Vilniaus degtinė“ logos.

Everything is new.

Canteen is full of flowers. Orchids included.

Various types of dishes, even after lunch time.

Cosy interior.
A worker with plates with lunch dishes running among tables.

Long, but quickly moving queue on lunchtime.

Barely heard music.

Freshly made carrot juices.

Examples of folk art (i.e. wicker lampshades).

No tray system – all dishes are served to your table.
Enormous work of ceramics on the wall.

Red colour that makes a place look mysterious.

80’s style corner bar with glossy lamps and curved lines.

Flowers everywhere.

Students and quite intelectual discussions among them.

Visually handicapped and deaf people work in the canteen.

Silence during lunch time.

The location is hard to find.

Big tables if you want to have lunch with a group.

A lot of artificial flowers.

Sincere concern of a cook: „How come you’re not eating soup? That is not healthy.
Barred windows and interior.

Unique composition of daylight lamps.

Flower shop with a great variety of plants from all over the world. In addition, a great variety of wrapping paper.

Old-fashioned bar near the canteen with the same workers as in the canteen.

Old-fashioned russian samovar in case you want some tea on lunch.

Surprisingly pleasant smell of flowers mixed with freshly mashed potatoes.
One won’t find two identical plates in the canteen.

If you are in a hurry, you can eat your quick lunch sitting at the bar.

If you are bored, you could try guessing the names of the plants at the windows of the canteen. I guess that would take you at least a week.

A coat rack.

A good location in a center of the city.

Air conditioning system (though, it was not working on my visit day).
Disco for people over 30 on weekends and disco style attributes in the canteen.

Two huge palms near the window.

Enormous picture on the wall. Painted poppies could open a discussion about a landscape painting.

Background music (only Russian).

A corner bar with all facilities.

Lots of tables at the windows.
Vintage interior.

A cash-lady using old school cash register.

Free art and fresh gossips.

A bar with nice service.

Talkative diners.

Funny carved heart shaped chairs.

Great combination of colours! Yellow walls match blue artificial flowers.

Low door, so everyone has to lean over to enter the canteen.

Fresh coffee and an espresso machine!

A sink to wash hands.

A coatrack.
Unexpected location for a canteen – a dormitory between skyscrapers.

Colourful carpet on the wall.

Young diners.

Exceptional service for newcomers.

Food portions with a little bit extra.

School kids, who willingly show you the way to canteen.
Furniture, walls and interior details that remind of the Soviet times.

A long table always served for the banquet.

A male cook in the kitchen.

Soft and nice music.

Special enclosed corridor for the queue. Very interesting thing.

Conveyer for dirty dishes.
Availability of alcohol.

Great window view.

Enormous mirror near the exit.

Lithuanian soap operas on LCD TV (it is also possible to see the view of the other canteen hall on the TV).

White tablecloths that enrich the dining experience.

Awarded a Diploma for good service.
Microwave oven – you can use it to warm up your own food.

Company store selling sweets at the same place.

Easy to read sign of WC – you will never have to ask for the way.

A smell of chocolate and cheap candies (and somehow cheap portions of ice-cream too).

Fan-page on the Internet.

Sophisticated food that one won't find in other canteens (escalopes, Chicken Kiev, etc.).
Vintage interior.

Long conveyer for dirty dishes.

The students in the canteen are open for discussions about physics, law, economics or communication science.

A microwave oven for heating food you brought from home (though heating your food is not allowed, but when the staff doesn't see...)

Radio announcing about the situation on the roads for drivers.

No queues in the canteen during lectures.
Head spinning corridors with old squeaky floors.

Young diners.

Eating in the canteen felt like sitting in a sauna.

Painting on the wall and cleanliness.

Architecturally interesting building for a walk after lunch.

Impressive pink walls.

Naujamiestis, Vilnius

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Panerių g. 41
Industrial districts can be very deceptive. It is the same with the canteen we have visited - it serves quality dishes during the daytime, and in the evening the canteen turns into a dancing place with a disco ball and artificial flowers for people over 30. The intriguing canteen, definitely.











Disco for people over 30 on weekends and disco style attributes in the canteen.

Two huge palms near the window.

Enormous picture on the wall. Painted poppies could open a discussion about a landscape painting.

Background music (only Russian).

A corner bar with all facilities.

Lots of tables at the windows.

As I was approaching the building, I got the impression that this canteen is a great leisure centre - there was an announcement hanging on the window about the weekend discotheque for the ones who are over 30. The canteen hall itself just proves it - there is a disco ball, electric Christmas lights on the windows and disco lamps covered with artificial flowers. These are only a few signs that tell us about the dancers coming here on weekends.

Let's talk about the cuisine. For the first time I could choose from 5 kinds of soups and 2 fish dishes. One of them was roast salmon. I also found 4 different steaks and a great variety of salads on the menu. I decided to get baked fish with cheese and fresh tomatoes and a glass of compote, of course. As I paid and got my food, I chose a table near the window. There were just a few visitors, so I could sit down where I wanted.
Every diner can feel here like visiting his/her grandmother and eating at the tables decorated with crocheted tissues. As I was eating the fish, I noticed a corner bar of the canteen. There everyone can get buns, coffee and some beer straight from the barrel. It seemed that a bored bar attendant was silently pleading that you would order a cup of coffee at her corner bar. When this woman was not observing the clients, she used to nod her head listening to the Russian music.

The main advantages of the canteen are the huge space and a great number of tables, so you can get a seat near the window easily.

A great variety of dishes is a nice advantage of this canteen. The fish with cheese and tomatoes were really delicious. Cold beetroot soup was also tasty (lots of cucumbers in it). To sum up, various dishes really amazed me.

Apple compote with cinnamon was also a great and pleasant surprise. 10 points!

Vadovė Jelena

When we meet, Jelena says:
Your project seems to be interesting. I think it's the first time something like this has come along.
Thank you. We are trying to stop these frequent closures of canteens.
Well, this project is not enough to stop the closures. We need a lot of support ... (laughing). Everything is connected here... It's great that Indrė is interested in this canteen, but I think there is nothing worth attention here - no style, no design. Just the style of a normal canteen. Only this one is renovated.
How long have you worked here?
For ten years. But not as a director; I started as a bar attendant.
What are your responsibilities now that you work as a director?
Well, according to the law, I am responsible for everything. Still, there are shareholders that give orders and I execute them.
Maybe you know what this place used to be before it was a canteen?
It used to be a Soviet canteen called "Soviet Hope" or "Hope"... It used to be an industrial district here and there was a huge factory "Elfas", too. So all the workers used to come to this canteen for lunch. On lunch break there were long queues and all the tables were occupied. Those were the good times, and turnover was good. That was before privatisation.
Why did you start to work here exactly?
There were a number of factors... You could say it is our family business; my whole family works here. We try to work; to survive.
So, you were working in canteens before you came to work here?
No, this was my first canteen. My other speciality is as a seamstress.
How many people work here?
25, on average.
So, it's a huge canteen. How many visitors do you serve per day?
I cannot say we have lots of visitors. Maybe we have more staff than we need, but I care about people and don't want to fire anyone; to leave them without a job. Most of our staff are single women with, for example, three kids. So we try to survive.
And how many bar attendants, cooks, etc do you have?
There used to be two women on the bar. However, we had to fire one.
How does an ordinary day in this canteen start? Do cooks come first?
Well, everyone has their own schedule when to come to work.
And how do you make a menu for the next day?
Every day we think of a different menu. For example, today up until 2 p.m. menu will be printed for the next day.
So you experiment with the menu every day?
No, we don't experiment. We do everything according to calculations. But we have more than 1000 recipes - traditional, non-traditional, and from different cuisines. The production manager sets the menu. She controls supplies, and sets the menu according to them. Of course, we discuss it, make some improvements, or vice versa.
How would you describe the cuisine in this canteen?
I would say it's traditional cuisine.
What dish do people eat most often?
Cepelinai (traditional Lithuanian dish, a type of dumpling made from grated potatoes and usually stuffed with minced meat). Yes, cepelinai. All dishes made from potatoes; fried potatoes are most popular here.
Why do you think it is so?
I think the combination of ingredients in cepelinai is quite filling and the price is reasonable. And perhaps because of Lithuanian consciousness.
Could you tell us about your clients? As it is such a big canteen. Was it always that big?
Yes, it was. Clients... nowadays not all the tables are occupied at lunchtime. There are some flows of people coming. For example, at some hours we have more than half a room of diners. At this moment, you could look around and think there are no visitors or turnover at all. But the reason is that the peak time is over. Most of our clients are workers; there used to be railroaders, too,but now I heard about reductions of staff, so less railroaders come for lunch. Then we have people from offices. From the services of cars. People who work around here mostly. Though, there used to be people who were coming from further to have lunch here,ut as I say: everything is changing. Now some more cafes have opened.
Is there any competition in this business?
1, 2, 3, 4... There are 3 cafes in this building alone, so competition is quite strong. Though, there is the human factor. No cook can guarantee that the same dish will taste the same every day. People make mistakes, naturally.
There is also a second floor of this building. What used to be there? Something important?
Back in Soviet times there used to be a restaurant. I don't know. I was not working here. I just heard. Now there is a banquet hall there.
You are organising banquets and parties for those who are over 30 years old. Whose idea was it?
Well, the idea was mine. We have to use this huge space somehow. So I thought of this idea. People gather for the party, but the clients have also changed. You see, if we just wanted money, we would let anyone come, but we try to control that. So we refuse to let in noisy visitors. It doesn't matter if they have money or not. Some gypsies used to come here, too. So we decided that it is more important to have a tidy and cultural atmosphere here. Here we have live bands performing; people can dance. So the idea has answered the purpose.
And what about the interior? Maybe you know how many times it was changed? We see that the canteen was renovated not long ago...
You know, the floor and ceilings are the same as it was in Soviet times. It is the base of the canteen. And those disco lamps... There was no other choice at that time. There used to be some youngsters that tried to steal something. Also drug addicts used to come in. They could rip the lamp off the wall in 5 seconds, even during the daytime. This is our reality - we work in this kind of district.
What would you do if you were not working in the canteen?
I think I would start my own business. I have this impulse to make something on my own. I don't know if it would be related to catering. After the years of working here, I think I could. Actually, this kind of business is less risky as the money comes right away.
What is most important in this kind of business?
If talking about food, the quality is the most important issue. We don't use any chemicals. We don't use any mix of spices, we make everything from natural products.
How did you keep it all going in those days, and in this difficult situation?
Well, we work. A lot. We don't have personal lives - we work on weekends and on holidays. And we save; we try to keep people working.
You say that you use only natural products. Who are your suppliers?
We try to check suppliers before contacting. We look for those that have good recommendations. For example, we hear the different references about the butchery business. For example, one company has won a competition recently, so we chose it, though the price was higher. They supply meat from Lithuania, not from Poland. And it is not treated with any chemicals. It is just frozen. We order it every second day. We also eat in this canteen. We wait for lunch in the same queues as clients. You can tutor the staff only by tutoring yourself. You have to show a good example. And we don't have a lot of food left at the end of the day. As our chef is working until 5 p.m., so she can see what the situation is, what to cook or not to cook, so that everything will be sold. We make 5-10 portions of each dish.
And do you cook at home?
I try to cook, myself, but sometimes when I don't have time, I take food from the canteen. I buy it here and drive home.
Do you cook using the recipes from TV shows, for example Oliver show?
Well, no. I dream of retirement... I have a wish, but no time...
What is your favourite dish?
Favourite dish... I like vegetables. I am not a vegetarian, so I like dishes with lots of vegetables. I guess, there is no one concrete dish. I like natural food, so it would be treated in any way less. For example, natural meat without pulled bread added.
Do you use any slang in your kitchen? How do staff communicate with each other?
We are one chain of people. Every element in it is very important. We have a common aim, and reaching for it, we realise our own needs, like salary, etc. If we thought only about ourselves, we wouldn't be able to reach our aims, and we wouldn't even have a job in that case. Also the director should be an example to the staff. You have to show a good example, instead of requiring something from the staff. Well, now I am studying, so I work here less, but we have to keep that connection to the staff.

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Willie 25-4-2011 05:45:03
That's way the bseetst answer so far!

Aura 18-12-2010 01:51:58
Labai šiltas interviu, šypsojausi beskaitydama :)

indre 19-11-2010 16:02:03
butent cia ir vyksta, paneriu 41, beveik kiekviena penktadieni. Reiketu ten pries tai nuvykti ir issiaiskinti kuri penktadieni arba pasiskambinti.

Janina 19-11-2010 15:09:59
Laba diena, ieskom kur vigsta šokia kam virš 30 ir..Gal turite tokia informacija, ar jus irgi organizojate... man 44 metai

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