The architect Rimanóczy Kálmán, Jr., a representative of Oradea’s eclecticism, built the Apollo Palace between 1912 and 1914 on the main commercial artery of the city, at the intersection between two streets: Republicii (Fő utca) no. 10, and Mihai Eminescu Street. The location is marked by three large Secession buildings erected between 1900 and 1914: the Stern Palace, the Moskovits Miksa Palace, and the Apollo Palace.
In the 19th century, there was an inn named Apollo where the current Apollo Palace is situated. In 1910, the City Council wished to capitalize on the land and decided to have a new building erected on that lot. This was the only tenement building erected at public initiative, as all of the other such constructions built at the beginning of the 20th century were private properties.
In the spring of 1911, Kálmán Rimanóczy, Jr. presented the project, and the Technical Services and the commissions proposed that the municipality hold an auction for the erection of the building. The auction was held in March 1912 and Kálmán Rimanóczy, Jr. also won it, as he made the best offer. Unfortunately, he died on July 12, 1912. The architect’s widow asked the Municipal Council to task the architect and engineer Krausze Tivadar with the coordination of the construction of the new building, as he was the collaborator of the deceased architect. In September 1913, the press of Oradea wrote that the construction works were to be finished in the spring of 1914, but the building was actually completed later on during the same year.
In order to obtain income, the municipality offered the rooms of the building for rent. In 1914, the rent for the café was set at 20,000 korona. Given the outbreak of the war, it was difficult to find tenants for all of the rooms, the café on the ground floor, the three luxury apartments, and the workshops on the third floor. In May 14, 1914, there was news which claimed that all of the apartments in the Apollo Palace had been sold. However, the café, throughout September and after several auctions, found its tenant: Ernő Bürger from Oradea presented a favorable offer, leasing the café for 12 years. He submitted a claim to change its name to “Cafeneaua Orașului” (“The City’s Café”). Given that he had experience in public food service, while furnishing the café, he introduced new, state-of-the-art elements such as a system for ventilation and the removal of dust. Compartments for 32 families were installed on the ground floor, and a tastefully decorated balcony was added to the upper floor. A billiards room was placed in the wing facing Mihai Eminescu Street. The chairs were ordered directly from the Thonet brothers.
The opening ceremony for the City’s Café took place on December 5, 1914, attended by the privileged classes of the Olosig district. The music was provided by Gyuszi Hamza’s band. In spite of the financial crisis and the state of war, the café remained a meeting spot for medics, merchants, local industrialists and the city’s youth. During the communist years, the café was transformed into a state department store. A new reorganization occurred in the 1980s, being turned into a food store. It suffered more changes after 1990, and a gambling club is currently operating in the space once occupied by the City’s Café.