A little buffet in piazza della Borsa, town center. That's how Buffet da Pepi was born in 1897. Pepi Klajnsic was the founder of this restaurant, which has always been remebered for its original spirit and dedication towards customers. The original name Pepi S'Ciavo (used until 1952), comes from a curious tradition of Trieste's working class of that time: giving nicknames to everyone.
From 1908 to 1914, Pepi S'Ciavo was led by Paolo Tomazic, who worked there until the end of World War I, only to take it back in 1918. During this second period, a collaboration between Giusto Colja (Paolo's cousin's brother-in-law) and him started, along with the partnership in 1918 with Paolo's cousin, Pepi Tomazic. In 1925 Paolo died and his brother Giovanni decided to give up his share in favor of Pepi. The business grew bigger up to 1927 due to customers loving the service and the cordiality of the personnel: having a larger staff was thus made mandatory, and so Zdenko and Emil (Pepi's brothers-in-law) were hired to help out along with Carlo Čok, who loyally worked there from 1932 to 1972. There has always been work to do, but the service never failed to be fast and friendly, to the point where customers loved eating fresh and genuine food surrounded by a cheerful and pleasant atmosphere.
Thanks to Trieste's multicultural landscape no social class was excluded from the restaurant's entourage; but most often bank, white-collar and center town workers enjoyed their meals there. A special mention should also be given to: the Count of Spoleto, the Prince Tripcovich, the Baron Bonomo and the Prince Torre e Tasso.
Throughout uncountable years of vitality and enthusiasm, one was the great tragedy of this buffet: the death sentence of Pepi Tomazic's son, Pinko, followed by the ransack of the building and its subsequent arson. The property was given to Carlo Čok as an extrema ratio, but he was forced to close Pepi S'Ciavo until 1945, when, after Pepi's death in 1944-bombing, his widow, Emma Colja, took his place. She, thanks to the help of her brothers, further expanded the buffet, until 1952 when it became something really close to what can be seen today.
Traditional dishes like porzine e capuzi enlarged the customer stream, and having more workers became necessary: Elviro, Albino, Darko, Paolo and Elvio were hired. Eventually the old lady decided to pass on the ownership to three of the five youngsters and changed the name to the current: Buffet da Pepi.
What followed, as we say, is history: from then on the place, renowned in Trieste and around, became a destination for everyone who was travelling to the city, and those who loved to eat well and peacefully during lunchtime.
The Centenary ceremony of 1997 was a huge party, in which all the city took part with enthusiasm, and where the traditional dishes were offered to whoever passed by. Dreher Beer was there to celebrate the years of good, passionate work together too. The Buffet da Pepi is considered and reviewed in tourist guides all over the world, Italian and international newspapers. Local, national (Rai Uno and Rai Tre) and international televisions (CNN among the others) documented the activities and promoted with joy and emphasis the enduring of such antique buffet and such good fame. In 2010, under Paolo Polla's lead the road in front of the Buffet was renewed and transformed into a promenade. Thanks to this effort, it has been possible to add an external rest stop, with an open and relaxed landscape full of Trieste's typical liveliness. Tourists come to taste a rebechin of luganighe e capuzi, porzina e cotechin, all associated with good Carso wine (Terrano). A tradition, this, that we intend to continue with dedication and passion, as it has been done in these decades, letting everyone, stranger or Triestino, live our everyday life inside a friendly, lively and unique environment.