Taking Uncle Heisi's advice, during the spring of 1982 Ilona, Péter and the only few years old Roy, spent every weekend wandering around the castle looking for the right place. At 14 Fortuna Street, they found a vegetable shop in a terrible state. The building also had two ovens, suggesting that it was originally built as a bakery.
The design did not seem ideal, but Ilona saw a potential in the building and the location.
They started the licensing procedure, and Ilona recalls that she did all the research herself and personally took all the documents to the office.
The procedure was anything but straightforward, with the office and the applicant trying to navigate a completely unknown terrain. Finally, after a long process, they obtained the permits, demolished the wall and the long-defunct furnace and opened the two premises together.
A lot of work was done during the renovation, as the opening was planned for the autumn of 1982. They worked so hard that - although Ilona is not proud of it, Roy always tells the story about how one day in September they forgot Roy in the nursery and rushed to get him.
There is also an interesting story behind the choice of the name Pierrot. Ilona was still working at HungarHotels, but some people already knew she was working on opening a café. She saw a poster by the Japanese painter Fujita Pierrot at a tourism exhibition, and was really impressed by it. As no name was in their mind for the café at the time, Ilona asked around about it.
Bea Payer, Ilona's later successor, came up with the idea of naming it Café Pierrot, because she thought that this was exactly the French café-bar atmosphere that Ilona and her family wanted to create in Buda Castle.
And she was right.
That is how the name became Café Pierrot.