history 1812 — 2012
On Christmas Eve 1812, a labourous gardener named Peter Eliseev, Count Sheremetev’s serf, delivered fresh raspberries for his master’s guests. The astonished Count asked his serf how to thank him for such a treat. Peter didn`t hesitate and asked for freedom. Sheremetev kept his promise and set Eliseev and his wife free awarding them with a small fortune. It turned out that the former serf possessed an extraordinary aptitude for commerce. Peter Eliseev became famous all over St. Petersburg, thanks to his ability to surprise the most demanding customers. That is where the story of the Eliseevy Merchants’ Shop began. A few decades later, Peter`s descendants would open the Eliseev Emporium in St. Petersburg, the most opulent food hall in the Russian Empire, which is still open for customers. From the very first moment of its history the store is not just a food store: it also includes fine dining restaurants and in some cases can serve as a grand hall for celebrations.
The house was built by architect Gavriil Vasilyevich Baranovsky for a colonial goods shop of a trading partnership “Eliseevy Brothers”. This building in Early Art Nouveau style stands out against classic architecture of Nevsky prospect with its luxurious exterior trim, stained-glass windows and frontispiece sculptures.
Luxury interior is designed to outline its prosperity and attract customers. The interior is made in Art Nouveau style: abundance, shine, no austere lines but only smooth and plenty of decorations with floral motives. Here you see all splendour of Russian Emperors’ palaces with gold coating, antique furniture and ceiling luminaires.
The enourmous stained-glass window makes an impression of a giant shop window and accentuates a wide and thoroughly selected assortment of goods. There used to be a cold warehouse and one of the best wine cellars in Europe.
On the front of the building were erected Adamson’s sculptures Industry, Trade, Art and Science — main values of XX century society.
In the Soviet times the shop was called Gastronom №1. There one could get delicacies even in times of food shortage during the Soviet era.
The theatre auditorium has always been on the second floor of Eliseevsky. Since 1904 it was let to many theatre ensembles. In 1929 it was transformed into The Comedy Theatre named after N.P. Akimov. The theater staged frisky plays, vaudevilles and cup-and-saucer dramas.
When gentlemen invited ladies to the theatre, they often dropped by Eliseevsky and treated ladies with fresh fruit, chocolate and cheese. This is how Elisevy Merchants’ idea of combining a shop, a restaurant, a theatre and a durbar in one place in the very center of St.Petersburg came into life.
Eliseevy Merchants’ Shop, made to rejoice and surprise Petersburgers, didn’t stay indifferent to tragic events of WW2. On June, 24 1941 agitation posters calling for protection of Motherland (so-called TASS Windows) appeared in the window shops. Even during the Blockade in winter 1942-1943 The Theatre of Musical Comedy and City Blockade Theatre continued showing plays on the 2nd floor.
Eliseevsky shop is one of few museum shops, that not only provides service and good to customers, but also immerses them in the atmosphere of distant epoch so that they can feel how it was – to live in imperial Petersburg, taste rare delicatessen from all over the world right on Nevsky Prospect, among the shine of gilded shop windows.
After years of misery and neglect, on March 8, 2012, the Kupetz Eliseevs Food Hall, with a total area of 430 square meters, reopened. The interior was restored in detail according to sketches approved by the merchants themselves more than 100 years ago, and rare historical photos. We cherish the traditions of the founders and continue to amaze our customers with unique goods and high-class personal service, custom-order cakes from the chef confectioner, luxury gift baskets and a concierge service. There are six departments in the Kupetz Eliseevs Food Hall with delicacies from all over the world, as well as our own brands.
The Eliseevy Merchants’ Shop answers to the question of what to do in St. Petersburg. There are many ways to spend time with pleasure in the Kupetz Eliseevs Food Hall. In In the main hall, the waiters serve outstanding desserts, beverages and drinks under a sprawling palm tree. In the summer there is a street cafe with a view of Nevsky Prospekt. The most refined customers prefer the restaurant “Mezonin”, located on the second floor in the former general manager’s offices. Those who love traditional Russian cuisine would appreciate another restaurant opened on the ground floor of the building where wine cellars and a warehouse of colonial goods used to be located.
The Kupetz Eliseevs Food Hall made a wonderful gift to the city presenting an incredibly beautiful showcase with moving characters from the Nutcracker fairy tale. The dolls were created by the famous artist Mikhail Shemyakin. The main facade of the Kupetz Eliseevs Food Hall adorns Nevsky prospect, causing admiration of the locals and visitors. The building is a great example of Art Nouveau. The building was designed to show the wealth of the Eliseev family and attract customers The stained-glass window on the Nevsky side of the building, covering several floors, gives the impression of one large showcase. Light from Nevsky Prospekt to the Kupetz Eliseevs Food Hall falls through the recreated colored stained glass windows, and the rooms inside are illuminated by crystal chandeliers.