– an inn in the “CENTER” –
We were able to select perhaps the most appropriate title, as “in the center” fits perfectly with both the location and the role of our restaurant in society. It is safe to say that the restaurant at 11 Széchenyi Street, apart from tourism, has been one of the most iconic players in Bük’s public life for more than a hundred years.
Let’s start at the very beginning. In the small town of Vas County, a lot of buildings and services have a lot to do with religion, so maybe we can start writing our memo along this area as well. The first episcopal visit of the settlement was made by István Nagy in 1797, which was a great honor in the life of Bük. It was always a great pleasure for the deeply religious community to have such a high-ranking father come to them, as it did on October 28, 1919, which is not only the date of another episcopal visit, but also the first written mention of our restaurant. It happened that the Reverend Father Béla Kapi visited the local school at 8 o’clock in the morning, and then at 10 o’clock the festive service began, on which occasion an army of believers filled the church to capacity. At noon a gala dinner was given in honor of the bishop and his entourage at the restaurant of Galavits, and in the afternoon they continued on to Felsőpaty, where they were accompanied by delegates from the congregation and the equestrian band of the youth.
This particular “Galavits” restaurant was the ancestor of our renovated restaurant, which was handed over in the summer of 2021. The first milestone of the already mentioned central role was the Bük Industrial Circle, founded in 1907, but registered only in 1908, in which “Széchenyi 11” was a permanent and decisive place in its life. Their gatherings were held in the back, private room of the restaurant on weekday evenings and on Sundays and public holidays. The members of the circle were happy to exchange views here and play cards while consuming a few glasses of drink. Billiards, board games were available to them, and they also bought radios in the 1930s.
They also operated the library supplying Central Bük, the center of which was located in the special room of the restaurant.
In the meantime, we can meet a new player, and he is none other than the next namesake, store manager and owner of our restaurant – Antal Lökkös, who was an apprentice to the Galavits restaurant. The original owners had such a good relationship with little Tony that, in the absence of descendants, they left the whole building – so in the future the history of our “institution” and “Inn to the Center” continued, and its heyday can be dated from here.
In addition to the Industrial Circle, there were several important actors in local public life, including the song band formed in 1895, whose members were able to inaugurate their flag on June 18, 1939, after a long planning. The event began at the monument to the heroes, and then the song circles and the large crowd gathered here marched into the courtyard of the Lökkös restaurant. Here, on the podium set up, the concert began, featuring seven song circles. As an opening ceremony, the participating singers, together with Béla Czuppon, performed Sándor Kárpáti’s song: Hungarian Bucks Again in Kassa and Balázs: Here I Leave the Villages. After the joint choir, the song circles took to the podium one by one and delighted the gathered guests with more beautiful songs. After the concert, Zoltán Kotsis, the secretary of the Song District, distributed the commemorative medals of the Village Association among the participating song circles. The ceremony ended with a dance party that lasted until morning.
Before the war, Bük had a nice tennis court with a locker room and a rest area in the middle of the orchard of the Lovranits mill. The village intelligentsia went out to play tennis two days a week. (Teachers, doctors, pharmacists, clerks, priests, college graduates, and last but not least the many grandchildren of the miller Lovranits.) In the summer, once a week, Kuglipartin also attended the old Lökkös restaurant. By the way, there was a kugliparti here every day of the week, especially for the craftsmen, separately for the farmers, they also played with each other and organized competitions.
The long winter days weren’t boring either. The intelligentsia came together every week to tarot. It has become customary to keep name days. In the winter and summer, the village football team, BTC, was part of the fun. The track was in the meadows of the Lovranits mill in the 1930s. Later, today’s football field was established by the village in the immediate vicinity of “Lake Béni”. (The locker room and club room were provided free of charge by the Lökkös restaurant.) The benefit was clearly recouped from the attendance.
There were five restaurants in Bük at that time. (The restaurant of Ilona Csikor in Felsőbük, the restaurant of Pócza, the restaurant of Resti on the railway, the restaurant of Lökkös in Keskbük, the restaurant of Kálmán Csík in Alsóbük.) The restaurants competed with each other. Lökkös and Csík were also butchers and butchers. It went to a number of events when they made a pork dinner. There was a larger room in the Lökkös restaurant, where occasional dance parties were held. The music was provided by several gypsy bands, the most famous being Baranya (Jecke).
With the end of the “sugar factory period” and the economic crisis in the country, most of the youth became unemployed, which became a special basis for the development of the Bük table tennis culture. In the first round, the young people started playing the game in three places, on three tables. The bloodshed of World War II was also felt in Bük, and table tennis was practically paused during the last three years of the war. By 1945, only one table remained intact, which had been set up in the Lökkös restaurant. In winter, the young people could play in the small room behind the casting, which was heated, and the lighting was provided by a ‘maxim’ lamp courtesy of Uncle Tony Lökkös. In the summer, the café was the realm of table tennis players.
In 1949, 25 years after the formation of the MOATSZ, the Bük Cooperative Sports Association was formed. Great ping pong fever prevailed in youth. The great hall of the then Lökkös restaurant was loud from the bounce of the rubber ball from six in the evening to midnight. The carpenter Sándor Szanyi made a new ping pong table for the department, the players only had to pay the price of the material. In December of this year, the first Bük championship was held, which was won unbeaten by Ernő Rozinek out of 16 competitors.
In 1950, the son of our protagonist also started competing, jr. Antal Lökkös brought a new color to the life of the department. Back in the summer of this year, the Bük players were very happy, as four-time world champion Ferenc Soós indicated that he would come to Bük with a team of three. The show was in the car color of the Lökkös restaurant, which was covered with a tarpaulin for the occasion. Already a week before the big event, all the tickets were sold and the stars arriving by train were warmly received. They were also the first to show Bük players the right punch, effective footwork, trimming and counter. After the show, an even bigger ping pong fever took over the players.
In the year 1970, the operation of the restaurant was transferred to the General Consumption and Sales Cooperative, and in 1977 it was decided that the restaurant would be expanded. Scrolling through contemporary newspapers the following entry can be found:
„Our former Lökkös unit is also a popular “stop” place for hikers and passers-by, and the local population prefers the recommended food. In our restaurant, even an Indian guest praised the chef’s stew. And just as the restaurant was the traditional organizer of balls and dance parties, more recently wedding dinners have been held by young people.…
Needless to say, we are expanding the former Lökkös restaurant to be able to prepare 300 servings of food at a time in its kitchen. The current casting part of the restaurant will be transformed into a espresso.”
After the renovation, our story continues to be written as the “Golden Barrel” Restaurant from the summer of 1980.
The developments of the nineties brought a huge boom in the life of Bük. The guest traffic generated by tourism has opened a new era in the lives of local restaurants. This is how a contemporary newspaper remembers the heroic era:
“Restaurants and inns meet in the big village. The oldest, the Golden Barrel was once a pub, close to the former fairgrounds. Once upon a time, delicious homemade sausages were baked in it, but today they await the guest with Hungarian dishes and locally made pastries. Although on a pleasant August evening a buttonhole could not be dropped in the restaurant and in the garden – in the case of a full house, four hundred people are accommodated – László Kenesei, alias Gerzson, one of the leaders of the Golden Barrel, makes no secret: there is a competition for the guest!
– All this is due to the fact that there are many restaurants, wine bars and pubs in Bük. But there is no distortion among the caterers, he says. By the way, he had been stuck in the village for twenty years, where he found a wife. Since then, locals have “localized” the revered inn.
We can only stop the competition if we give the guest quality and quantity – continues the renowned specialist listed among the first entrepreneurs in the village. – Most arrive in August and September. The number of Austrian tourists has decreased recently, but we can welcome more and more Germans. They’re already looking for Gerzson. I got this nickname from the locals, but they know it that way across the border as well. So I add it to my original name.. „
Perhaps one of our greatest prides remained at the very end of our story. At the end of July 1995, the 1st Bük Wine Festival and the meeting of the Hungarian Wine Order were held, which can be considered the real predecessor of the Medicinal Wine Days, which are so popular today. The Golden Barrel Restaurant served as the venue for the opening of the festival, which featured colorful entertainment programs, and the programs took place in the square in front of the building. According to recollections, many love and friendships were made on this famous day.