Create an atmosphere of “plant meat” with the entrance through the “butcher shop” — restaurateur Savva Libkin

Rather, the sign on the facade of the new restaurant Sava libkina is — “M yaso. Cava”. But it is more reminiscent of the entrance to the butcher shop.

Indeed, the butcher shop, “conspiriology” the entrance to the restaurant, you get: here you can buy meat, cooked sausage, coffee. And the restaurant itself is in the depth, on two floors. The design was created by Denis Belenko — wood, black metal, olive trees, one wall lined with three thousand bottles… According to the restaurant owner, wanted to created an atmosphere of “plant meat”.

What restaurateur Savva Libkin meant by “plant meat” and why now decided to open in the capital, where the competition is huge, great meat restaurant — this he said

And about how realistic import substitution and where to find suppliers (in the restaurant, as in Odessa “Steakhouse” uses ingredients from local farmers and made of meat) and about the team, which, of course, many citizens of Odessa.

Photo: Alena Vladyko

Sawa, now so a lot of fashionable concepts and you open in Kiev a traditional meat restaurant.

In the trend? I don’t think. I don’t know if Ukraine has at least one restaurant that has no signage, the entrance to which the owner deliberately removed from the first plan. All restaurants have on the facades of signs, preferably glowing, four meters long, and then all 12. And if I acted in the trend, I would do the sign height from the business center. It would be easy.

So why not do that? Why complicate your life? Create a secret Masonic Lodge?

There are far-reaching goals. But it is certainly not the Masonic Lodge. I’m opening a restaurant for those who aspire to become middle class. Clear that will come and those who have long since become such. But I hope those who seek it, hope their will be a full house. Because here, really, simple and very clear menu. I mean, what’s on the menu there are no words whose meaning you don’t know.

Photo: Alena Vladyko

A full restaurant is how much? What is its area?

Fits 150 guests. In the restaurant a thousand square meters, half of which is the guest area.

How much have you invested in such a reputable institution?

I risked a very large number.

Millions of hryvnias?

Million negriin.

And the design of the restaurant who did?

Painted and made — Denis Belenko, of which we have been working for many years.

Grand Opening Weekend . Photo: Sergei Buriak

Grand Opening Weekend . Photo: Sergei Buriak

Why design chose the wood and metal?

We originally agreed that it would be “a meat plant with the entrance through a butcher’s shop”. So, you know, not the plant, and the plant. Imagine — there is a plant engineering and the plant of meat.

And yet, why meat?

We offer ultramania menu. Meat is no substitute, no beans, no soy. People who grew up on soy, look different than people varossieau on the meat. The main male hormone is bad is produced from soybeans. Testosterone loves meat.

Photo: Alena Vladyko Hope for the development of the Ukrainian farming

Now true import substitution. Ins went on Ukrainian products? What kind of meat are you cooking?

Meat — Ukrainian, but some products were still imported olives, unfortunately, in Ukraine. Fresh tuna is flying to us from Sri Lanka.

There are reliable suppliers?

With suppliers is never easy. Work with Ukrainian suppliers of meat for 19 years. And there is hope for the development of the Ukrainian farming. Ukrainian meat to buy and cook more interesting because the price is much lower. In addition, the meat is always fresh.

And the quality?

Issues with quality there. There is such a thing as regularity. How do you organize the business process, and this will be the standard.

You mean standard, as in McDonald’s?

And there, incidentally, is also the Ukrainian raw materials. They are well organized the production, and so they have sky — high quality- manage to give the same quality every day of the year. It is their essence.

If to speak about quality — the quality of Ukrainian farmers there. It will become even better to develop with regard to the European eco-quality trends. Importantly, as already said, configure a business process.

You could find Odessa “Steakhouse” local meat producer, you arrange, I wonder how it came to this in Kiev? Someone already found or in the process? After all, many of the capital’s restaurateurs complain just for the lack of quality local suppliers on their unreliability…

Each day before opening the restaurant(from 20 October to 7 December worked in test mode — held meetings with suppliers. By the way, were the suppliers of McDonald’s.

We had an interesting conversation with the head of the trade Department of Kozaytyn slaughterhouse. The position is this: you want to do better, but we do not accept returns. We gave you an order, and then do what you want. If tough meat — eat themselves. Want the best — buy the carcass. Want a little better — pay plus 30-40% to the price. The conversation, as in 1970-e years, the regional party Committee: “You don’t like something — put in another queue. All”.

Were farmers, with whom the conversation was much more Mature. Including with farmers in the West of Ukraine. Until the end of the year, we will work directly with the best suppliers of meat. In Odessa, everything is long established, will establish in Kiev.

And how in Odessa suppliers?

About 18 — at different periods in different: something where something ends, something somewhere starts. We’re not McDonald’s. Supplying the two restaurants and the supply of 50 restaurants — this is a different model. Work.

Photo: Alena Vladyko

What about alcohol? Is Ukrainian wine?

We have a different wine. All matched to the meat. The wine list offers a good position of Spain, Italy, France and the New world. There are, in particular, and Ukrainian, for example, my friend Robert Guliyev.

The vineyards Guliyev in Odessa?

Yes. The grapes were harvested. The wine is normal brand. According to the results of blind tastings, it is no different from branded. Just why to purchase wine for 15 Euro if I can buy a 7. Differs only in the label in Ukrainian and not Italian. But this is only a piece of paper and nothing more. 80 percent is marketing. Ultramania menu

Tell me about the kitchen. You opened on 20 October and all this time worked in testsonm mode. What tests?

Yes, there was a test period. I was obliged to open on 20 October and opened the 20th.

Who make commitments?

I was in agreement with the team. And then have to pull it was impossible. Now we have a Grand Opening Weekend for four consecutive days from 7 to 10 December

I’m not in a hurry, I don’t miss the train, will work to complement the menu. Therefore, it is made on the paper: wanted — reprinted and all. Gradually come to a finished format.

Photo: Sergei Buriak

Menu your or fully the chief? By the way, who’s the boss?

In team three the chief. People are not public, like the kitchen, not the TV show).

The menu is not mine, it’s ours — my team a lot of people. But the food a bit, they will be a little. All the meals involve food with his hands. Quite well worked alternative steaks. There is a delicious steak of rabbit and beef offal. There are poultry dishes.

Remember ultramania menu, but if meat eaters would be vegetarian?

Some of the key dishes for vegetarians. In Kiev I have friends that often eat grass and vegetables. I will swallow their principles, but for a few positions. Already done! Now the menu: the burrata salad with tomatoes, tuna tartare, salad with burnt aubergine.

Photo: Alena Vladyko

The amount of the check “medium plus”?

600 hryvnias without drinking. This is 20 euros. A pair of socks in Poland is 15, tights — from 5 to 30. The cost of lunch? If made from potatoes and arugula, will be cheaper. But if we’re talking about fresh, protein-rich foods, less does not happen. No, you can, of course, include deceit and marketing, then it will cost less. Lunch without pseudomarketing — 600 UAH, and it’s a fair price. The crazed team, charged on the result

Who works in the kitchen? He took to his “star”?

No stars. Know, stars is a good thing for one day. In our kitchen the chefs and managers work. And I also work as a Manager. This creates star team. I have the butcher from tel Aviv, cool guy, very good specialist, but without signs of stardom.

How did you find him?

We were in Israel, I hired a gastronomy guide who showed me the Carmel market. There I met with the owner of the restaurant, which, as it turned out, I found out because I had “Steak” in Odessa. He saw me: “Libkin, Libkin”… And our acquaintance resulted in the fact that the arrangements, the butcher temporarily works for me here.

And what is his uniqueness?

Daniel cut up the meat on the Israeli manners. It does not work with the axe, and in Ukraine at the butchers always axes. You know “chop wood — chips fly.” In Israel, there are no axes, it’s the knife and saw. We have in the restaurant, also meat is not chopped, no axe, no, it’s just cut, dice and peel — it’s a different structure, different patterns, different everything. He taught the entire team. Me.

You like what happens?

I like what we’re doing. Here works the crazed team, strong and charged to the result. We are working on the topic of good food, delicious food.

Photo: Alena Vladyko

Photo: Sergei Buriak

Photo: Sergei Buriak So it was about Odessa

Now a restaurant business guru who started out like you, in the 90s, most of the “how” of that fact “why”. About “the mission”, “vision”, “values”. What is your vision, your values?

We are about Odessa. About long-term relationships with guest. About openness and gastroenteric. About fine tuning, about love. And it’s a part of me. I — Odessa.

My child loved struggling and badly fed. I was so, you know, a full set of grandparents. I loved my aunt Ella, who, in fact, me and raised me. She never had any children. She was a bacteriologist, and instilled in me the habit to wash their hands like surgeons do before surgery. Ella M. first married 60 years. Her beloved man became my grandpa No. 3. That is all have two, and I have three grandfathers and three grandmothers — Ella and two.

Then, when I returned from the army, I came up with that in Odessa there must be many interesting places in which people will eat. Must be delicious as I was in childhood, and yet warm and cozy. And so we with guests of my restaurants became good friends.

By the time I was 21. The store was pickled zucchini, pickles, and sausage was not. In Odessa sausage was a queue. And I really liked fried sausage, doctoral. Just like that, brown bread. Loved the loaf of white sliced. His mother was buttered and laid on top of Greek black olives without pits. So far this is my favorite food and still my friend is making tea and a sandwich with olives.

I guess I formed my so-called mission: 90 years — a complete lack of everything and well-fed childhood is the contrast. It was necessary that in Odessa was something to eat, and that it was about Odessa.

And you by the time were examples of “how”, because the Soviet Union food variety not famous…

At that time ( early 1990s, we had no idea “how to”, I never was. And when the first time was at the border, then once in Paris. Odessa travel Agency organized a Charter flight Odessa — Paris. One was $ 2000 — flew everything. There was a full plane, people 250. Everyone who was on this trip, now doing business, but then, as I was nowhere, no one knew what Paris. Read, of course: the Eiffel tower, Mirren Mathieu, Charles Aznavour, but nothing else, zero.

We lived in a hotel on the boat, right on the Seine. It was very cheap. There we ate. Everyone gave half-baked meat. It is now my understanding that it was called Medium rare, filet Mignon in readiness Blue Rare, but then, in ‘ 94, for me it was raw meat. The whole ship twisted face. Plus sweet with some sauce. With me were the guys from Donetsk, who for the first time in life in General in the restaurant was. And they complained: “Sava, you know, this is a restaurant, is it any good?”

Your professional experience with a time associated with eating? First job — the same restaurant?

Cafe “Fountain”. Then in the education system — as a chef, and then head of the production Association “School meals”. At that time, I have teachers taking food into debt, and were calculated when they received their starvation wages. On the wall, marker on the tile I wrote who took that, and my calculation was at the end of the month. In different periods around me worked from 20 to 1100 people, in different ways.

When I needed people to voice why they come here, I have already articulated more serious things. And then at some business training, I learned that this is called “vision”. And still later (in the early 2000s — were written about me, that I am a visionary city.

Photo: Alena Vladyko

What was your vision? Business ehelping?

Probably… We have always focused on values. Approximately from 1993 to 2013, all these 20 years, was about values. The dollar was almost stable, and I had enough money. Was correct and it worked on our Odessa level. (That is, biznes could have existed without the direct intervention of the owner, and Savva Libkin could afford to start writing books and doing socialsmi urban projects —

But in 2014 had to tighten the belt, and work belted.

Something serious “visionary” managed to do in Odessa?

After someone came up with the logo of Odessa in the form of the sun and uvula (the traits of a language, especially in Odessa in the summer?), decided to take the branding of Odessa. Organized a group of designers, some novice politicians. And there were born the first ideas about city branding, he argued, were discussing something. I still have the blog hanging this whole logos. There appeared many artists, five of them — a talented pair and very talented. The results appeared when there was an adequate power. Finished logo and brand book Artemy Lebedev. The city was supported by all. Odessa “Compote” and the capital “Compote”

And what was the reason behind the emergence of such a concept as the restaurant “Compote”? And how to explain his wildly popular after opening. If you’ve been in Odessa, you definitely were in “Compote”.

“Compote” I started in 2006. I have by that time was already 18 pizzerias, all of them were in a different state killing — in part because management has been delegated. I was fascinated by this term “delegation”. Cool term, no one understood what he meant, but it turned out that if you want something neat to bury — is delegated (there were issues with the control).

But many examples of successful delegation.

To do this, first should be a single value. I made the wrong choice. Delegated to the Manager who wanted to become (and become) members of the city Council. Somewhere over seven years of delegation, the time has come when “Pizza” is over for me. It was a time when I didn’t understand my partner, I didn’t realize the team that everyone thought Libkin crazy. Money pizza bring, but ceased to be product. Everything turned into a sort of faceless network. I was bored, I saw this “Pizza” of resuscitation can not be.

What is new about you come up with the concept of “Compote”?

“Compote” is about food, familiar from childhood. Buns with poppy seeds, Pro chops with mashed potatoes, about eclairs and coffee.

About it in Odessa by that time no one came up with? The niche was free?

Until 2007 there was not a single restaurant with Odessa menu. When I made a “Compote” was the place to look. If now the line of people to criticize, then to just go. It was already high.

In 2007, when we opened Chizhikova in the area of Importation, there was a queue of people. There is no Parking, I do not, but that corner has always been cars, because people came to see — what can be done about the Importation. The designer was Belenko. We have on the walls of the legs in the air, hanging stool, the turned stools stood vases of flowers, flowers, of course, was hanging down. The drinks were business cards of all inhabitants of Odessa who were in the restaurant. Wine glasses were affixed, they could get it, but you could see. There were twenty thousand of these cards. Plus Odessa food — meatballs and mash and delicious croissants.

On the theme of Artemy Lebedev, a year later opened a cafe. He did the brand book for “Juice”, and after finishing it, I started to do a cafe of Artemiy Lebedev. He made me a beautiful logo — fact. It cost me all the money. Still scary to remember how I quarreled with everyone and paid has the money. The style he did the same. But six months after the start of operation was that the people expected Artemy, just out of town. He was counting on some kind of middle class aestheticism, and its already finished off the “reforms” . Therefore, came those who came.

Now being revived with this class?


And among 30-year-old?

They are few, very few of them. We thought about aestheticism others: but when we opened the aesthetes, people like the first days, and then they ended. And started to walk residents of the area. But they were unable to understand all these styles. And one day, exactly six months later, I decide — screw brand book Lebedev. With local designer we all remade in six months, and “Compote” was chocolate. So, you know, understandable, and these decisions are still working. It ceased to be aesthetic, and became popular. And loved.

Therefore decided on a franchise?

It was another experience. The restaurant “Compote” working in Kiev: they did not Odessa, but they work well. I must say that last year the partners have improved “Compotes”.

It turned out such a capital “Compote”…

Good term — “capital compote”. You can even specially to produce a jar of compote, which is nothing but water — just purified drinking water, sugar-free and label — “Capital compote”. Elegant business project: low cost, low price and salena margins. Everything is perfect. All of the criteria “Metropolitan” is. The belt is tightened

You had “value” period. And now what?

In 2014, I reviewed the views of the business, came to operational management and made a lot of mistakes. In 2014 was the collapse in the economy and in the company… In may from Odessa went all — was not rich before, and then left and middle, and poor. Deribasovskaya street was empty. We had days when the box office was 300 hryvnia. I had a huge obligation. In short, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 engaged in governance reform, together with the invited Director. The belt is tightened, as already mentioned.

Photo: Alena Vladyko

I also went to school, received an MBA, learned a lot of new foreign words. And made sure that the terminology is very far from real life. Anyway, I picked up the new terms and the company has a CEO, Inna Dvorskaya. Like, freed a hand, and I took Kiev.

What has changed in the restaurant business lately?

The rate of change was much higher. Do not always have time.

In the fashion business say why to do something, there is trendbook. Smart people for you have all come up with. And in the restaurant business there is such trendbook?

Inexpensive Georgian food with a score of up to 120 hryvnias. Georgian restaurants in Kiev, in my opinion, already 50 pieces.

I think that the Georgian restaurant trend is associated with Saakashvili?

Looks like PR and media managers tried to ensure that Georgia has become a fashion.

In General, there is a universal formula, which will allow you to create a successful restaurant?

This formula is called the “philosopher’s stone”.

Now a lot of startups you are interested to communicate with them, something to teach them?

I often communicate with those in Odessa and Kiev as a motivational speaker. I recently spoke to, there was 300 people. Interesting audience — people who want to do something. 70% women and 30% men.

What can you recommend to someone who is going to open a restaurant?

Minimum of theory and a maximum of action.

And where money to take?

Borrow from relatives.

I started with minuscule, with figures of $ 500. But it is better to venture into places where no one even tries. As an option, not to engage in Georgian restaurants.

And this is really, now open your business in twenty years?

Really. It is clear to me now 56 years old. But when I started, I was young too. I think that now there are numerous possibilities. For example, to open a business in Germany is easier than for us, but there are fewer niches. We have niches more, but harder. They have fewer formalities. We have the administrative burden, all clear, everything is opaque.

And you would have started your business if you had 20 years?

History has no subjunctive mood.

Interviewed By Olena Gladskikh.