At the very end of the ’80s, the communist regime collapsed in Hungary and the gates were thrown open to Western culture, influence and products. One big new thing was the hamburger, formerly an icon of American capitalism. Of course, nobody at the time really knew how to make an ‘authentic’ burger, so at first Hungarians had to make do with whatever ingredients were available, and stalls selling Frankenstein-burgers with mixed pickles, supermarket mustard and ketchup and local meat patty equivalents were springing up left and right.
One of these places is still around inside Nyugati train station. Arto Büfé (here depicted guest-starring Krakow Spotter Zuzanna Dziurda) is not retro, it’s not ironic, it’s not a re-imagination of our youthful follies – it’s just an early ’90s train station snack shop that, like its clientele, refused to get with the times. Here you can get the same sort of irregular slapdash burger, and eat it at the same sort of worn plastic tables, that you could in train stations circa 1990.
To find Artos, enter the train station through the main entrance and keep to the left. It will be to the extreme left, right where the indoor area widens out, just before the tracks start. Or go to the car park on the west side of the station and enter through the side door which is really close to West End shopping mall.