Blog: Bistro owner rediscovered his love for Slovakia abroad

Slovak Peter Janicina spent seven years in Scotland. Now, the owner of U Kubistu is using his international experience to promote local change.

Peter JanicinaPeter Janicina (Source: Zuzana Burdanova)

I started working as a dishwasher in Scotland and slowly moved my way up

I worked for a very intimate, family business on the Island of Iona. My first years abroad felt like relief. Scotland just felt like home straight from the beginning, I really was not planning on coming back to Slovakia.

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What blew my mind was that the Scottish didn’t spend their days complaining

In Slovakia complaining is like a national sport. Don’t get me wrong, I know why the complaints exist.

Read also: Slovak migrant shares the stories of other migrants to understand her own Read more 

It’s a product of our history, it has to do with the post-traumatic shock

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I started to observe a change in behaviour with the Slovaks that were coming back. They weren’t complaining as much.

Leaving and returning over the years, I could see how things had changed

Life in Slovakia was improving. The society was getting nicer and more open, which is why after 7 years abroad, I decided to come back.

From the moment I decided to return, the job creation happened at lighting speed

Every single thing fell into place, one after the other, like a beautiful puzzle. Everything just flowed, easily and smoothly.

I fell in love with Slovakia again, after a very long time

I could see how people were holding it together in our country. They were creating new things, they were trying, they were opening new shops and cafes.

We opened one of the first bistros in Slovakia, today we are an icon in the community

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The way we run our business is changing the mindsets of people, from our customers to our employees. Our goal is to create an honest environment where we can all grow together.

Abroad, I really started to feel like I was living in a golden cage

At one point, I even considered foreign citizenship. I lived a very comfortable life there, in very comfortable conditions. That’s when I realized I wanted to experience something more before I died.

I wanted to give something back to my community

I never want to just have a job; I want to change the world through my job. Of course, the challenges of operating a business in Slovakia have been great. Slovaks are very conservative about certain things, like how much food should cost. It has to do with the oppression of the communist regime. It taught us very clear boundaries and never to cross them.

We take an honest approach when it comes to food

It’s very simple, our motivation is purity. We try to source our produce locally, from farmers that plant, grow and harvest their fruits and vegetables.The same goes for our kitchen, we do not cut the size of our servings or dilute our ingredients just to make more money.

I don’t care what others are doing, I am only in competition with myself

We are not a very easy target to hate, because we are a genuine company that is very nice to our customers.

If you honour Slovaks with honest food, they will keep coming back

I believe Slovak customers are some of the most loyal on the planet. If you treat them well, they will not mind the rising prices.

This testimony was originally published in Zuzana Palovic’s book, The Great Return. For more visit

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