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Restaurant Review May 1, 2008
The Old Man And The Suka
By Mark Ames Browse author Email

In the dark days of the 1990s, nothing spelt "doom" more to Moscow’s expats than news of another foreign-owned restaurant or bar falling victim to the inevitable "Russian management takeover."

But as everyone here will tell you, those days are over: Russia is booming, business is far more civilized, and "Russian management takeover" in the Putin era is a synonym for "progressive management."

So it is with great satisfaction that we at The eXile can report another giant leap forward with the new Russian management takeover at expat-favorite HEMINGWAY’S. Yup, they’ve ditched the old Tex-Mex theme, and introduced a new groundbreaking menu which was described to us by some manager who picked up their main phone as, "Obichnaya russkaya kukhnya" (typical Russian food).

Now, some folks out there, stuck in a pre-Medvedian mindset, might argue that the last thing Moscow needs is yet another "typical Russian restaurant." The genius of the new Hemingway’s strategy is exactly because it is so counter-intuitive. They’ll be studying this at Wharton for years, I tell ya!

Indeed a lot about a restaurant’s new management can be learned from a simple telephone call, as our plucky sales director babe Zalina learned this week when she called Hemingway’s for the umpteith time to find out about when they’ll ever pay us the debts that they owe. In this issue, we invite you to listen in with us on the phone call between Zalina and Hemingway’s new director, as we offer our readers a rare exclusive peek into the new Putin Era way of doing business. We think you’ll agree that the barbaric days of the 1990s are long gone in Moscow, and we’ve truly entered a new age:

Exile: Hello, Alexander?

Hemingway’s: Da.

Exile: This is Zalina, the sales director for The eXile.

Hemingway’s: Ktooo?! [Who?!]

Exile: Zalina, the sales director of The eXile.

Hemingway’s: I already told you, we don’t need your newspaper! Our restaurant isn’t geared towards your audience anymore.

Exile: I’m not calling about that. I’m calling about your restaurant’s debt to us.

Hemingway’s: Chtoooo?! I owe you money?

[Here Zalina reminds Alexander about the the ads that his company placed, which issues they were in, the legal "acts" and contracts attached to each ad, and reminds him that he’d promised to give her an answer a couple of weeks back on how Hemingway's would repay it.]

Hemingway’s: Da poshla tin a hui! Esli ti menja eshe raz pozvonish, ya priedu i viebu vas vsekh v rot!

Exile: Why are you talking to me like this? I’m a young woman, how can you—

Hemingway’s: Da kto ti takaya suka, chto-bi ya tebja chto-to obyasnil!

For some reason here, Zalina hung up the phone, just when the director was warming up to her. We’re not sure exactly why, to be honest. Because as far as we can tell—and granted, our Russian is a bit rusty—when a Russian restaurant owner tells a young woman, "poshla ti na hui!" what he’s saying is, "Please, come to my restaurant, let us break bread and discuss this in the civilized spirit of Putin’s Russia!" And when a restaurant owner suggests to a young woman, "Ya priedu i viebus vas vseh v rot!" what he means is, "And bring all of the eXile staff over here as well, I want to show everyone the special hospitality of the new Hemingway’s business spirit!"

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Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

War Nerd Summer Reading Guide
The War Nerd By Gary Brecher
It’s summer, you’ve got a little more time off, so you can read up on war instead of trying to live in whatever boring suburb you live in. Lawns, neighbors, dogs, kids—it all sucks and the best thing you can do is get as far out of it as you can.


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