Think nestling dolls with tommy guns, and you’ll start to get the hang of Dillinger’s Café, the new coffee shop/Russian barbecue/vodka palace on Evergreen Ave (near the Evergreen ice cream shop). The cafe is the fresh fruit of two lovely loins: Mary Kaushansky and Ksyenya Roz, both born in the Soviet Union and grown in Brooklyn. Finally, after a long and laborious struggle, Dillinger’s will be set loose upon the world this week.
Mary is petite, dark-haired, raven-eyed. It’s not hard to picture her dancing barefoot around a camp fire, shaking a tambourine and casting spells into the air. But in the café, all that fierce energy has found its footing in more concrete pursuits. Her partner, Ksenya, is more luxuriously powerful—a tall, thin women with shrewd eyes and dirty-blonde hair. Ksenya commands the room, but the friendship and equality between the two women is impressive and inspiring and at least a little girl-power-awesome. They’ve been best friends since the age of six, when their families immigrated from the Soviet Union to Coney Island/Brighton Beach. Although Mary’s parents stayed in the US, Ksenya’s moved back to the Ukraine to pursue business interests, and the café is decorated with cute teapots and other trinkets that have been sent over from the motherland.
But the space is clean and sleek, not flooded with tchotchkes or employing the usual grime-disguised-as-charm that is a common decorating scheme in many establishments. But before the honey comb shelving, before the firearms wall paper and and well before the mural that Secret Handshake is planning for the wall across the street, there was plenty of grime. The space needed a gut renovation, and the two ladies didn’t have a whole lot of experience gut renovating. But they soon got utterly f ed up dealing with shady contractors and unreliable handymen, and then, the satin gloves came off. “We spackled!” Mary exclaims. And damn, people, they spackled that place nice!
But they’re not done yet: the patio is still a work-in-progress, and they are planning a huge mural for the back wall, and if the weather stays nice (and come on, it will), expect authentic Russian barbecue soon. The liquor license is in progress, because how can you have authentic Russian barbecue without a little authentic Russian vodka? They have plans to “deconstruct and reinterpret” Russian food with a tasting menu, and they’ve got a sweet kitchen in the basement that will get the job done eventually. But in the meantime, come enjoy a pastry, and the wallpaper, and a latte, and maybe a little chit chat with the armed nestling dolls themselves.
Dillinger’s Cafe is located at 146 Evergreen Ave and it just opened its doors to the public!