BlackDog Cantina reveals plans for Prague location

The burger and tapas place is a sister to the original Beroun location

Burgers have become quite popular recently, but one place was ahead of the rest. BlackDog began in 2010 in Beroun, just west of Prague, with a taco/burger stand, then little bistro on the corner of main square, and then later a restaurant called BlackDog Bar & Grill.

It has now expanded to a second location just off of the city center called BlackDog Cantina, located at Gorazdova 1 in Prague 2, at Palackého náměstí. Both venues operate under the motto “Life is too short to eat bad food.” The restaurant name refers to a family pet, the same one seen in the logo.

The location had long been a beer pub, called U pomníku, which long ago counted Václav Havel among its patrons. His picture is on the wall, and also in the Beroun locations.

BlackDog Cantina opened there in May 2016, and eventually also took over the outdoor garden and also opened up seating in the lower level to keep up with demand.

The place can't host live music due to noise issues, as it is a residential building, but they are starting stand up comedy in Czech and possibly English.

The Prague location has Pilsner Urquell tank beer and beer from small breweries on tap, as well as wine from small Moravian and South American wineries. They have started to make their own ale as a “flying brewery,”and will experiment with different recipes.

They are also concerned about food quality and consistency. “We work with small local suppliers. We care about how they treat the animals,” owner Eva Van Wagenen said, adding that conditions like grass feeding outdoors or how the animal is slaughtered also affect the overall flavor of the meat. A similar concern applies to other ingredients as well, and they use no instant foods, or chemicals or colorings. “We check every purveyor to see they are doing everything OK,” she said. “I am trying to think ecologically.” For example, they are very concerned over the origins of fish due to the conditions of the oceans.

The Beroun location began in 2010 when Eva found herself and her husband often having full house of guests and cooking for them. She, her best friend and her then-partner decided to open up a place that offered something different, American-style burgers of a much higher quality than were currently available. She found a little stand near the train station and they fixed it up and started selling real beef burgers, tacos, burritos and homemade sausages.

They soon moved to a restaurant with about 50 seats, and then a feature story in daily Mladá fronta Dnes about their unusual restaurant had people coming from all over. The restaurant also began to win awards for its burgers.

The restaurant proved to be too small and in 2014 they moved to a larger place in Beroun, where they still are. On weekends, the place fills up with people from Prague and during the week it is mostly locals.

They decided to meet the demand from Praguers by opening a second location. “We heard a call so we opened this place,” she said, referring to the Prague 2 venue. “But we had this idea about doing it a little bit differently. We have burgers as well well but we are focusing on tapas, touched by Latin American cuisine ,” she said, naming some such as steak tartare, pan roasted duck, yucca fritters, ceviche, and chili con carne. Tex-Mex will also be added in May to the menu as people expect it. Tapas are meant to be shared. “I like the sharing idea. You go with your friends and you share in the spirit,” she added. The menu also has many vegetarian offerings.

The Beroun location does not have as many tapas, but does have a special barbeque menu using a custom-made Texas wood smoker outside on the restaurant terrace. “The guys make lot of different kinds of BBQ there,” she said. “We do briskets homemade sausages, turkey and fish as well. And we started to do sandwiches like pulled pork and pastrami. We are showing Beroun some new things again.”

She says the overall success is due to the team of people working there. She also likes to emphasize the personal touch. Recently on International Women's Day she gave small flowers to female customers. “We try to give you the best experience with your food by proving service and atmosphere,” she said, “because life is too short,”

Blackdog Cantina in Prague
Blackdog Cantina in Prague Facebook

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