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Author: Staff (Moscow News)Date: 08/10/2006
Hockey Star Malkin Offers Lock-Down Dinners at Prison-Themed Restaurant

2006 Russian Super League

Evgeny Malkin (Pittsburgh Penguins) (right) and Grigori Shafigullin (Nashville Predators) (left) at the U20 WJC (Photo: Exclusive)
Russian hockey star Evgeni Malkin has opened a posh restaurant where visitors can enjoy the cozy atmosphere of a typical Russian jail.

Barred windows and ceiling, lamps designed as police flashlights, barbed wire and excerpts from the Russian Penal Code are significant parts of the interior design at VIP Zone, Magnitogorsk. You can have a seat on a plank-bed (there are comfortable chairs for the more delicate) and eat your food with an aluminium fork. When you have finished, waitresses dressed in striped prison wrappers will bring you a bill dotted with fingerprints.

‘I wanted to open a restaurant that would be something absolutely new, like nothing before it,’ Malkin told Komsomolskaya Pravda daily.

VIP guests are taken to the ‘chief’s office’ - a room in crimson with heavy furniture and portraits of Soviet dictators like Stalin and Beria, donning maps marking all the Russian prisons.

‘Designers suggested making it look like a maximum security prison. I now plan to establish a network in other cities,’ he added.

In spite of the grim interior, the food is nothing like prison meals. However, you can order authentic chifir — a popular Russian prison drug made from tea. And if a visitor drinks too much, the person is driven home in a police car.

Meanwhile, Evgeni Malkin wants to play for the Pittsburgh Penguins as soon as possible, even though his Russian team Metallurg Magnitogorsk announced the star forward has renegotiated his contract and plans to stay out of the National Hockey League for another season.

Malkin was the No.2 pick in the June 2004 draft behind last season’s rookie of the year, fellow Russian Alexander Ovechkin, and is widely considered the best player in the world outside of the NHL.

The Penguins had been planning for Malkin to join them next month, especially after the Russian hockey federation said it would sign a transfer agreement allowing its players to move to the NHL for a $200,000 fee that would be split by all the Russian teams.

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