Sarah P, photo: Fotini Chora
As mundane as it may sound, Berlin is the very definition of a melting pot. It has always reminded me of an immense theater stage, where all countries take their position and as soon as the lights start to dim, they begin interacting with each other; they fight, they love, they live, but most of all they constantly try to make their stories get heard as loud as possible. There is one thing they have always in common: they are fully in sync with their multicultural environment and in the case of Greece miles away from the picture drawn by Nia Vardalos’ Big Fat – filled with stereotypes, yet utterly entertaining – Greek Wedding.
Several Greek places around the world – cafes, restaurants, supermarkets, concerts etc. – have always made me feel like Alice in Wonderland, but to a more twisted and disturbing extent than Lewis Carroll’s bizarre universe. It is mostly the image of people being lost in their Greek microcosm, fully ignorant of the overwhelming benefits life abroad has to offer, that brings discontent to me. And it is then, when you realize that for some coming from the same place has developed into the one and only criterion of socializing with people.
However, this story is about those who have become citizens of the world and their Greek identity represents a part of it and not vice versa. Here a few examples of Greek businesses and artists active in Berlin who choose to work and live through the aforementioned identity.
The product of hard work of a Greek-German couple is one of the loveliest places to be in the heart of Kreuzberg. Kaffee A. Horn is open throughout the day and pleases anybody, who is up for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks. Alexandra and Ludwig, the owners of the all day bar-restaurant, also, take over catering responsibilities for small events. Should your bike be in dire need of repair, Ludwig’s brother would be more than willing to help you fix it in the cute bike shop inside the café.
Carl-Herz-Ufer 9, 10961 Berlin-Kreuzberg
You cannot visit Bitte Coffeehaus without trying their exquisite Greek delicacies. With coffee from local roasters, a myriad of cakes, wraps, cookies as well as special events, such as cacti sales and Venezuelan street food, Bitte will not let any of its visitors leave dissatisfied.
Glogauer Str. 6, 10999 Berlin-Kreuzberg
photo: Bitte Coffeehaus
As much as overwhelmingly rewarding the experience of living abroad has been ever since finishing high school in Athens, there are two things I will constantly miss: the Mediterranean weather and the coffee. This is why every time I am basking in the sun with a so-called “freddo cappuccino” by Myxa on a Sunday morning has been surprisingly relaxing and rewarding. Don’t forget to ask the staff what the name of the place means in Greek and to try their delicious breakfasts.
Lenaustr. 22, 12047, Berlin-Neukölln.
My main issue with restaurants serving Greek food around the world is that they tend to adapt their dishes to the culinary habits of the locals. For those, who wish to try Greek traditional food the same way, they would find it in Greece, check out this beautiful place belonging to the Gortsas family. Just be a bit patient until the 16th August though, when they reopen after their summer break.
Grünewalde Str. 54, 10825, Berlin-Schöneberg.
The difference between the various sorts of kebab and gyros will always remain a mystery to me, no matter how many times I have it explained. The interior of Mr Gyros resembles the traditional Greek grocery story of the past century. There are only a few tables here, but they are just enough to make the guests feel cozy. Besides enjoying the food, the guests can, also, buy Greek products and delicacies. Due to summer break they will remain closed until the 21st August.
Grünewalde Str. 54, 10825, Berlin-Schöneberg.
photo: Mr Gyros
Nils, Miki, Dionisis and Jannis, 2 Berliners and 2 Greeks that met in an advertising agency a few years ago, came together and created a high quality organic extra native oil that is being sold all over Germany since 2011. The name refers to the first name of Mani, the place in Greece where the respective olives trees grow.
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Having tremendous experience in clothing and design, Rianna opened up her present vintage boutique in Berlin in 2009 after the staggering success of her first store in Athens. 2014 was the year of another great accomplishment, as she founded her own fashion and interior label RIANNA + NINA with Nina Kuhn. I can’t remember for how long I had a smile stuck on my face, when I visited one of her boutiques; they are truly an oasis of joy and creativity.
photo: RIANNA + NINA
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Having started as the lead singer in the indie group Keep Shelly In Athens, Sarah P. recently released her debut album under the name “Who Am I” which she describes as an ode to humanity. Check out her work on Spotify. I am pretty sure you don’t encounter this kind of alternative pop very often.
Whether it is drawing, painting, graphic & costume design, animation, music or illustration, the multiple times awarded Hara Katsiki has a wide palette of art forms at her disposal to express her talents and her wildly fascinating inner world. As she says herself “creation means everything to me” and her work stands as the undeniable proof.
photo: Hara Katsiki
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2016 is the year, that gave birth to the first Greek Film Festival in Berlin. A great part of the Greek movie industry was here to support this new undertaking last January. Don’t forget to visit the festival next year (18.-22.01.2017). Until then, people will have the chance to enjoy the awarded films all over Germany, since Hellas Filmbox Roadshow Revisited will visit several German cities in the upcoming months starting with Berlin in the cinema Babylon (18.-28.08.2016).
photo: Hellas Filmbox Berlin
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Having studied language programming, technical support, fashion styling, decoration design and visual arts, Fotini Chora has developed into a photographer, whose work makes it very hard to ignore. Her latest project “Der Traumraum” delves into the mysterious cosmos of the naked human body exploring every inch and side of it.
Feel free to share any feedback or suggestions that would enrich this guide!