We all passed more than once by the arched building located in the Cascade square, at the intersection of Tamanyan and Isahakyan streets. But only a few know that it used to be, perhaps, one of the most popular taverns in the Armenian capital. Named Temurnots, it was originally run from 1962 to 1980. And in November 2016, it was restored at the same place, under the same name, and with the same specialties.
At one time, the metropolitan intelligentsia frequently visited this place. The establishment was not just a tavern: here, writers with modest incomes, artists, and actors could have a tasty lunch, drink fresh beer, and discuss their creative issues.
Temurnots was named in honor of its owner master Temur, a kind and colorful man who was always attentive, punctual, and fair. In 1974, after a monument to architect Alexander Tamanyan was erected in the neighborhood of the tavern on Moskovyan Street, the visitors of the tavern would joke that it was he, Temur, not Tamanyan, who was leaning at the table.
Many people remember that Temur often would not charge poor writers and artists. The good-natured owner did not refuse anyone, and the unpaid bill was included in his list of debts, which he later forgot about in most cases.
Yes, many young intellectuals still owed Temur until the end. And Temur did not take money from Slavik Chiloyan (Chilo), a poet who was talented and popular in those years, knowing that he had neither money, nor home, nor a job.
His family and friends knew that Chilo was always indebted to Temur. After Temur passed away, Slavik returned the debt to the new owner of the tavern who knew nothing about it. Chilo asked only for one thing: whenever he went to Temurnots, he wanted to be treated with a free mug of beer. It was so until 1975 when Chilo’s life ended tragically.
Temurnots’ signature dish was thinly sliced sausages and semi-cooked potatoes which were fried in a round black frying pan. The dish was filled with ground red pepper. One serving was called “one temur”, and it was exactly how clients referred to it.
The pans were of three types: small for two portions, medium for four, and large for six. Bread and traditional pickles were served in accordance with the number of portions. Of course, from the point of view of cooking, this was the simplest dish, but in terms of price, it was very affordable and at the same time tasty and satisfying. And what else was needed by the youth of that time?
The beer here was draught beer served in glass vessels of various capacities. The visitor himself had to take the vessel from the counter to the table and pour the beer into the mugs. The entire beer was not poured immediately because during the filling, a lot of foam was formed, and one had to wait until it settled.
This was the well-known Temurnots of the 1970s, one of the most favorite places of the then youth, where endless friendly conversations were held at the table on various topics. It was a hub of lively human communication, which, of course, no social network would replace.