Jégbüfé, the iconic place of Ferenciek tere and the legendary meeting point of generations opened last time on 29 August. New restaurants and a five-star apartment hotel will be in its place within a few years.
Once upon a time there was a pastry shop in Budapest, which was the iconic meeting point of the city. It determined the life of at least 2, or even 3 generations. Our grandparents jumped in for a cream cake and even the teenager of the 21st century sat in on a date. The confectionary was an emblematic institution of Budapest since its establishment. It opened in 1952 and preserved its socialist realist atmosphere until the las days. It was embodied nostalgia, probably that’s why many of us liked it: people were remembering the past eating the delicious cakes. The cakes, that could be consumed standing before the window due to the lack of seats but with the view of the bust stop in the square. For decades, the same characteristic method reigned in the payment: you have to pay your order at the cash desk first because they only served you at the pastry counter if you show the block.
The store was literarily frozen in time: the equipment remained the same style as in the decades of socialism. In fact, they were the first who baked waffles in Hungary in a small window overlooking the street. Jégbüfé’s waffles were even mentioned in Japanese guidebooks as a must-try thing. The cult pastry shop was going well until the very last day: it has not lost its attraction. There were constantly queues in front of the counter even after six decades, so not the lack of interest was the reason of closure.
The closing is because the historic building was sold and will be renovated, and the new owner want to utilize the commercial property is different way. Mellow Mood Group bought the palace housing Jégbüfé last year, and after the renovation the company establishes catering facilities, event venues and a five-star apartment hotel in the building. Therefore not only Jégbüfé, but all other stores will be closed in the Párizsi Udvar due to renovations beginning this week. Although the new owner offered place in the new building for several shop owners, but the traditional feeling will disappear either way.
The building itself, the Brudern-house is a beautiful listed building, so it’s not surprising that investors saw possibilities in it. The eclectic style building was built between 1909 and 1912 as the headquarter of the Inner City Savings Bank. The building was unique because the main door led straight to the bank's treasury hall. It was nationalized under socialism and has been renovated twice: once in connection with the construction of the new Elizabeth Bridge in 1960 and once in the ‘80s. The third and recent renovation is accompanied by a tearful goodbye. Jégbüfé, we never forget you!