Purveyor to the Imperial
and Royal Court
„Przed wejściem chętka,
po wyjściu mgiełka –
oto jest Kraków,
Hawełka is the oldest restaurant in the Main Market Square in Kraków, operating continuously since 1876, when Antoni Hawełka decided to make his restaurant famous in Poland and the world for its excellent food and exceptional atmosphere. He managed to accomplish his plans, which was proved by being awarded the title of Purveyor to the Imperial and Royal Court. Hawełka, a supplier to the royal court of the Kingdom of Greece, knew how to delight even royal palates. And that’s what the restaurant continues to do till this day!
Antoni Hawełka was born in Kęty in Moravia on 17th January, 1840. He came to Kraków in the period of Galician autonomy. He served his apprenticeship as a sales assistant in various companies to later become a manager of the famous J. Wentzl company. In 1876 Antoni Hawełka opened his own colonial store “Under the Palm” at number 46 Main Market Square. The business thrived. Hawełka then moved to the “Pod Krzysztofory” Palace at 35 Main Market Square, where he also started to run an eating place, a so-called breakfast nook, very fashionable at that time. This typically Cracovian term was used until the 1890s. It meant something between a cafeteria/canteen and a cheap restaurant. Hawełka’s multi-layered sandwiches became famous all over Kraków. He also ran a delicatessen store and a shop selling vodkas, wines and French cognacs. Antoni Hawełka died childless in Kraków on 14th January, 1894. He bequeathed his estate to his shop assistant, Franciszek Macharski.
Unique dishes prepared from top quality products. An innovative approach and Old Polish recipes. This is what aristocrats and Kraków Bohemian artists appreciated. Hawełka became a meeting place of eminent guests. Some of them used to come for herrings, others – to enjoy wild game dishes. The strength of the liquors imported from the most distant parts of the world and a traditional barrel of beer made the gastronomic experience complete.
Sooner or later every visitor to Kraków called in at Hawełka. Nobel Prize winners, professors of the Jagiellonian University and AGH University of Science and Technology, members of the City and state authorities, as well as representatives of governments of many countries have dined here. Hawełka has always been visited by scientists, scholars and artists.
- 1876Antoni Hawełka opened the colonial store “Under the Palm” at 46 Main Market Square, Kraków.
- 1881A catering establishment with a delicatessen store was established in the Krzysztofory Palace, at 35 Main Market Square.
- 1900One of the first telephones in a Kraków firm was installed at Hawełka “for the patrons’ comfort”.
- 1909Franciszek Macharski, Antoni Hawełka’s heir, bought the Spiski Palace, adjacent to Krzysztofory.
- 1913Leopold Macharski, Franciszek’s nephew, Antoni Hawełka’s heir, moved the firm to its new premises in the Spiski Palace, where he opened the “Hawełka” Restaurant.
- 1935-39Very popular satirical puppet shows were performed in the Tetmajer Lounge. “The Puppets at Hawełka” used to be played by two actor couples, first by Magdalena Samozwaniec and Artur Maria Swinarski and then Irena Szczepańska and Zbigniew Grotowski.
- 1945-1950“Hawełka” was managed by “Przełom” Food Processing and Trading Cooperative (Spółdzielnia Przetwórczo-Handlowa „Przełom”).
- 1945-1991The restaurant was run by the Kraków Catering Company (Krakowskie Zakłady Gastronomiczne)./li>
- 1991–(…)The restaurant is operated by Hawełka Sp. z o.o. (Limited Liability Company), which has restored the premises to their former splendour. The ceilings decorated by Włodzimierz Tetmajer and stained-glass windows have been renovated. The former atmosphere, character and renown returned.