We begin a new project, in which readers meet regular St. Petersburgers, to learn about their lives and their favorite places in the Northern Palmyra. First up: coffee! Elena Bobrova talked with food-journalist and PR-manager Natalia Kapiturova. They met up at TCHK Coffee on the Petrograd Side.
Natalia, tell us your story.
I graduated from the history department at St. Petersburg State University, but never worked as a historian. Still, I’ve got a good humanitarian grounding, which enabled me to become a PR-manager, journalist, and copywriter. I mostly work in the sphere of gastronomy and food journalism. I started as a waitress, bartender, manager and then did public relations for several restaurants and cafes. These days I do more copywriting, as I’m eager to write more.
I picked this place, because the Petrograd Side (Петроградская сторона – an island located north of Peter and Paul Fortress and birthplace of the city) is my first love. I passed this area on my way to the university, and my first serious jobs were located here. For four years I had been living on Vasilievsky Island, but still I dream that one day our family will move here.
I came to TCHK Coffee Shop almost right after they opened. It was the summer of 2016 and at that time my daughter wasn’t yet able to walk yet, yet still she managed to stand up near the fridge and stare at the deserts. When I saw this café on someone’s Instagram, I immediately fell in love with the cute fairytale house. On the one hand, it’s very European, but on the other, it is very typical for St. Petersburg – as there is no sign and you have to find it by going though a second yard.
I come here at least 2 times a month because of excellent coffee, tasty cakes and very good team. I think my profession determined that I would value the people who stayed with the project. I feel very welcome here, we chat like friends, talk about life, they see my daughter growing.
Where do you find more good coffee in St. Petersburg?
My second favorite place is Смена (Smena, "Change") on Baskov Lane. They have a very special atmosphere there, which is hard to describe. It's better just to come and feel it - how they care about you and react to situations, for example, if your kid breaks a vase there (this happened to me). And I absolutely love their weekend breakfasts, as every week they prepare a new set of treats.
I also love all places created by the duo of Nikolai Gotko and Nikolai Yalansky, who carried out a sort of “affordable coffee” revolution in St. Petersburg. In 2012 they opened their first venue - Больше кофе! (More Coffee!) in the grotto of Alexander Park. Espresso there cost 43 rubles ($0.65) back then [today it is 55 rubles – 83 cents) and people were shocked, as it was a decent quality drink. They were the first to promote alternative ways of making coffee and today have five places in the city. I often go to Кофе на кухне (Coffee in the Kitchen) on the Fontanka River, as my husband works near there. There is good book store, “Poryadok slov,” right next door, so it’s perfect combination for me.
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