Shtolle (Штолле) is Russian pie company based in St. Petersburg. Operating since 2002, the brand is now near-ubiquitous in St. Petersburg and Moscow and is rapidly becoming a Russia-wide and possibly even global brand.
Shtolle, derived from “Stollen” cake, a German fruit bread primarily served during the holidays, bakes pies (important: pies, not pastries! / Пирогов, не пирожков!) made with old Russian recipes, and decorates their cafes according to 19th – 20th century conventions with oak floors, leather sofas, brass chandeliers and natural color palette. The pies themselves are also made with ornate, traditional decorations carved from and attached to the crusts, making their product more akin to the ceremonial bread that is often used in Russian weddings than any sort of fast or street food. However, this is exactly the market niche they have taken, a fast food that can picked up quickly and eaten quickly. They even offer delivery. As a brand, Shtolle identifies as a tribute to the glorious traditions of Russia and the people who lived and worked on the land, while appealing to those who nonetheless live with big city schedules.
Shtolle’s year-round menu features hearty pies, including salmon, rabbit and mushroom, scallion, and herring. A particular favorite is the “kurnik,” a traditional Cossack pie made with impossibly juicy shredded chicken. They also have sweet pies: cranberry, apple cinnamon, apricot, lemon, and cheese curd. Walk-in customers can order soups and salads as well as a cup of tea or coffee along with their pie. Shtolle also has a rotating menu with fresh seasonal berries and fruit.
Shtolle has been exceptionally successful with its concept – and now operates stores not only in St. Petersburg and Moscow, but also in locations stretching deep into southern Russia and Siberia. They even have four locations in New York and one in London now.
Shtolle, however, may be getting some additional competition. In 2014, six “Stolle” locations became “Lindfors” locations. The breakaway brand was created by a group of co-owners in St. Petersburg that lost their right to use the “Shtolle” trademark. Their recipes are identical to Shtolle’s. Their branding and even website was also remarkably similar, swapping out the name and adding a deep green color palate instead of Shtolle’s deep red. The new chain is also growing fast – as of July, 2017, they have grown to some 16 locations in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
An up-close look at their pies:
A video comparing Linfors to Shtolle:
A look at how the pies are made and several shots of the typical, simplistic interior of the cafes.