At Russian House #1, there is no menu. Visitors to the restaurant in Jenner in California’s Sonoma County are instead directed to a table laden with food – pelmeni, borscht and other Russian specialties. When they ask about prices, the response is always the same: there are no prices.
Polina Krasikova and Tatiana Ginzburg’s Russian eatery is an experiment in donation-based restauranteering, one the pair hope will result in a different kind of connection with customers than what is typically made through the exchange of money for products.
The women, both of whom now split their time between Russia and the US, chose the location for the restaurant because it is on the Russian River, where it meets the Pacific Ocean. A picturesque spot 10 miles from Fort Ross, a former Russian settlement built in the early 1800s by fur trappers.
It (the area) was incredibly beautiful and reminded me of an old Russian town,” Ginzburg said.