Kalendar cafe owner Alex Dudnic on fleeing to Highgate after Romanian revolution

11:00 28 July 2014

Alex Dudnic. Picture: Nigel Sutton

Alex Dudnic. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email

Alex Dudnic is the owner of popular Kalendar cafe and Gustus pizzeria in Swain’s Lane, Highgate. The 45-year-old, who lives in Hornsey Lane, has spoken out against plans to develop the neighbouring shopping parade.

What brought you to Highgate?

I got a job at [now-closed] Cafe Mozart in Swain’s Lane and that was my first job in this country. I studied civil engineering in Romania but left after the revolution [in 1989]. I went to Cyprus for a couple of years trying to make some money and then I came to England where I met my wife and I never looked back.

How has Highgate changed since you moved into the area?

The property prices have gone up and it has got more upmarket. All the little shops have disappeared in Highgate but it’s more or less the same, it hasn’t changed that much.

Who is the most inspiring person you have ever met?

My father, and a lot of my customers are actors I admire.

Where in the world would you twin with Highgate?

I’ve just come back from Barcelona and the north of Barcelona reminds me of Highgate, it’s nice and leafy. It looks just like Hampstead and Highgate.

What is the area’s best kept secret?

Kalendar! No. I don’t think there are any secrets in Highgate.

What would you change about Highgate?

The weather! I would get rid of the chain shops, as only Starbucks is missing from the area. But otherwise there’s not much to change. People keep it nice with the help of all the conservation groups.

What makes you smile on your way home?

A good day at work, good weather, health, happiness.

How would you spend your perfect Sunday in Highgate?

Usually I work on Sundays, but I would go for a walk on the Heath, go for breakfast at Kalendar and then just chill I guess, reading newspapers and going for lunch somewhere nice.

What tips would you give to somebody moving to the area?

I would tell them to go on to the Heath, tell them where to shop and tell them where not to shop.

If you had to write your own epitaph what would it say?

He started out with nothing and hopefully he got somewhere.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Hampstead Highgate Express visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Hampstead Highgate Express staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Hampstead Highgate Express account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest News Stories

51 minutes ago
Squatters at 156 West End Lane in West Hampstead are evicted

Squatters have left empty former council offices in West Hampstead peacefully on Saturday morning after bailiffs arrived.

Evidence for the trial

A woman from Crouch Hill has been disqualified from owning animals for life after keeping dogs in cages stacked on top of each other nearly every day.

Neelu Berry

An activist making claims of satanic abuse at a Hampstead church could face three new charges of witness intimidation.

Claudia Tabitha, 23, Big Issue vendor. Photo: Polly Hancock

A pregnant Big Issue vendor has been overwhelmed by generous offers of support from local parents.

Yesterday, 15:00
Hornsey Town Hall Appreciation Society members. From left Amanda Carrara, Chris Currer, Mark Afford, Miriam Levin and Dave Winskill.

The fight for community ownership of Hornsey Town Hall continues, even though the council officially invited bids from developers last week.

Yesterday, 08:00
Expedition 45 Commander SCOTT KELLY took this selfie photograph during a 7-hour and 16-minute spacewalk. This was the first spacewalk for both Kelly and Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren; the two will venture outside the International Space Station for the second time on next Friday. Kelly becomes the U.S. astronaut who has lived in space the longest during a single U.S. spaceflight, and on Monday, Nov. 2, the crew celebrates the 15th year of a continuous human presence in space aboard the station. (Credit Image: © NASA/ZUMA Wire)

Young gardeners are preparing for a close encounter of the herbaceous kind when they attempt to grow seeds from outer space.

Yesterday, 08:00
Keir Starmer arrives with his wife Victoria at the election count. Picture: Polly Hancock

It’s been six months since Sir Keir Starmer won the safe Labour seat of Holborn and St Pancras by a huge majority.

Saturday, November 28, 2015
Volunteers plant a new herbaceous border to mark Waterlow Park's 125th anniversary. Picture: Polly Hancock

Volunteers armed with gardening forks and spades replanted a herbaceous border to mark a Highgate park’s 125th anniversary.

Most read news

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot


Nike Trainers

Nike’s motto is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.’ With this in mind it’s no surprise why Nike is the preferred training gear for most A-list athletes. Get an extra boost in your run or height in your jump with £500 to spend on Nike trainers.

MAC Makeup

MAC are renowned for their flawless, fabulous make up that is used worldwide by the stars. You too can have the chance to have the perfect makeup to suit your needs with £1,000 to spend on all the glam goodies you like!

Digital Edition

Read the Hampstead & Highgate Express e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder