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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grabli 3

Courtesy of GrabliThe third Grabli has three levels.
These days, Moscow's top restaurateurs aren't too proud to cater for both ends of the market. And when it comes to serving the lower end, it's all about chains.

For example, Arkady Novikov's vast empire extends from the elite Cantinetta Antinori to the ubiquitous Yolki-Palki. Andrei Dellos' portfolio, crowned by Turandot, includes the inexpensive Mu-Mu cafes. Likewise, Roman Rozhnikovsky, co-owner of Nostalgie and Shatyor, is developing the democratic segment of his business, with plans to turn the Grabli brand into an extensive network.

The first Grabli -- or "rake" -- opened near Alexeyevskaya metro station on Prospekt Mira in late 2003, bringing Moscow the so-called "free-flow" self-service and open-kitchen format seen at the massive Lido complex in Riga. With its huge selection of affordable food -- the average bill is said to be 200 rubles -- this first 350-seat Grabli unsurprisingly proved a hit.

A second, 500-seat Grabli opened last year at the Moscow State Construction University on Yaroslavskoye Shosse. Now the chain has gained a foothold in the center, with the opening in late August of a Grabli on Pyatnitskaya Ulitsa.

With a self-serve dining area, cafe, bar and summer terrace, the three-level, 1,200-square-meter restaurant has capacity to seat 450 people inside and 100 outside. While the first Grabli has a country style, the new restaurant's theme is fin-de-siecle fantasy, in keeping with its location in a renovated 19th-century estate house.

As at the other restaurants in the chain, the menu consists of 200 hot and cold dishes, including mussels baked under cheese (23 rubles apiece), borshch (55-90 rubles), a 59-ruble vegetable salad bar and a 75-ruble fruit salad bar.

According to Rozhnikovsky's press office, the opening is part of a $60 million project to create about 20 Grabli restaurants around Moscow in the next five years. The participation of a city government minister and the central administrative district prefect in the opening was no coincidence -- the project has the support of City Hall, which has long been keen to foster the development of "people's restaurants" in the capital.

27 Pyatnitskaya Ul., 545-0830/0831, 9 a.m.-midnight, M. Novokuznetskaya.