1930 / 1940


Liuda Riaukienė: “My grandparents Povilas and Vanda Tarnauskai were shareholders of Versalis company. They founded it with two more friends in 1930. Tarnauskas also worked in the kitchen as a chef, and Tarnauskienė was a cashier. In some sense, she was the face of the restaurant: her duty was to welcome everyone and smile to the guests. [...] The restaurant had a very large kitchen. The food was of very high quality. The wine would be provided from the wine cellar that was located at the corner of Laisvės Alėja and Maironio Street. My grandfather learned his culinary skills in Petrograd, where he went specifically for this purpose. There was no one else like him in Kaunas, who could organise such luxurious receptions and cook various birds, pheasants and so on. While he worked, there used to always be a porcelain decanter with krupnik or Lithuanian wine nearby: he used to sip it while cooking. If it wasn't for my grandfather's culinary skills, both of them would have been deported with the first trains, but as I have said, no one else could have organised receptions as he did. [...] Restaurant Versalis had its own orchestra, with a leader of Jewish origin, Jaša Kašinski. This restaurant was the only one in Kaunas with cabaret featured in its evening programme. Cabaret dances usually were dancers hired mostly from abroad (Germany, the First Czechoslovak Republic), also two Lithuanian girls, sisters Irena and Genutė Lyvaitės (when they worked at Versalis, they were both approximately 17 years-old). The girls used to dance on a round stage in the hall. The restaurant was frequented by high officials and artists. Theatre director Borisas Dauguvietis and his wife used to come here often as well. Count Jonas Benediktas Tiškevičius rented a room in Versalis hotel for quite a long time.