Legendary Prague deli closes after more than 100 years of operation

Lahůdky Zlatý kříž, which had served up open-faced sandwiches at Prague's Jungmannovo náměstí since 1916, has officially closed.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 06.04.2024 12:06:00 (updated on 08.04.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

Prague's legendary Lahůdky Zlatý kříž delicatessen, which had served open-faced sandwiches and other Czech classics for more than 100 years, has officially shuttered its doors, reports PrahaIN. The business, which dates back to 1916, was the last of Prague's three most famous First Republic delis still in operation.

Once a stalwart of Czech culinary excellence, the closure marks the end of an era for the city's foodie landscape. Lahůdky Zlatý kříž's enduring presence on Jungmannova Street witnessed generations of patrons, drawn not only by its gastronomic offerings but also by its cultural significance.

"I would say that we are not only the oldest delicatessen in Prague, the Czech Republic and Central Europe, but perhaps in the whole world," co-owner Ivana Klinderová told PrahaIN during an interview late last year. "These delicatessens were founded during the First Republic, although no one actually knows exactly when."

Klinderová spoke of the location's resilience in the face of the pandemic, which had seen the closure of numerous long-operating businesses on Prague's dining landscape. But just a few months later, Lahůdky Zlatý kříž has shuttered its doors without official communication to customers or comment from its owners.

According to the Czech business register, the company that owns Lahůdky Zlatý kříž has been in liquidation since January 26 of this year. Customers confirm that the location has been closed for months. The deli's social media profiles have been deactivated, and its official website simply reads "sorry, currently out of service."

No official word has been made on the deli's closure, but increasingly high rents and high competition in Prague's city center have been tough on businesses that cater to predominantly local clientele. Starbucks and Chatime, a bubble tea venue, currently operate in the Zlatý kříž building that once housed the famous deli.

"Prague 1 is simply depopulating, and bakeries and delicatessens are closing over time. Currently, those who target foreign tourists are doing well," Martina Lazarová, a member of the committee against the depopulation of Prague's city center, told iDnes.cz regarding the latest closure.

First founded in 1916 by Alois Zoufalý as a deli under his own name, Lahůdky Zlatý kříž was rebranded when it moved a short distance to the Zlatý kříž building in 1948. Zoufalý's first iteration of the business focused largely on French delicacies, but also served classic Czech chlebíčky, open-faced sandwiches that had become popular among local delis at the time.

Lahůdky Zlatý kříž is the last of Prague's "big three" delis from the First Republic era to shutter its doors. Josef Lippert's deli on Na Příkopě Street, which dated back to the 1890s, closed down in the late 1940s. Jan Paukert's deli on Národní Street, which was also established in 1916, closed in 2015. Owners launched a second venue in Prague's Karlín neighborhood, but that location closed in 2022.

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