The Art Nouveau French Restaurant in the Prague Municipal House is the latest Prague dining establishments to shut down because of COVID-19.
As Hospodářské noviny reported earlier this morning, the restaurant has been operating by French-Rest company for 20 years.
Opened originally in 1912, it was known as one of the most beautiful Art Nouveau restaurants in the world. The walls and ceilings have rich stucco work designed by Frantisek Kraumann, and one of the room decorators was the famous painter Alfons Mucha.
“Like so many others, the COVID-19 virus closure has devastated our business. We are unable to recover and will not reopen our beloved restaurant,” wrote the owners Jan Filip and Jan Štěpánek. French-Rest has now filed for insolvency.
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The company states that it owes a total of 13.7 million CZK to more than 70 creditors. Last year, French-Rest earned almost 132 million CZK and achieved a profit of 2.4 million CZK.
According to the insolvency statement, the state loan programs Covid I and II were “unusable” for the company. Covid III could no longer be used due to the banks’ reluctance to lend money to the restaurant classified as “a high-risk group of entrepreneurs.”
The company employed about a hundred people before the crisis, and now owes a total of 7.4 million CZK in wages and severance pay. The lease of space in the Art Nouveau palace has cost the company 4.5 million CZK every quarter.
The restaurant’s space should be taking over by the company Vyšehrad 2000, which already operates a café in the Municipal House. According to management, the new restaurant will open at the end of July.