PLACEText: Ari Matsuoka
There is a modern creative restaurant where those foodies and artists would secretly go to, in Berlin, Germany – to find the next big thing. Located a 5 minutes walk from Nöldnerplatz station, the place definitely has its own presence – quietly and modestly.
Once you enter, you will be welcomed with the Japanese Omotenashi (guest service). The warmth of the wooden interior, the widely spaced tables, and the large bar counter made of solid wood at the back – every single element exists to start a new story.
YUUMI is a reservation-only restaurant founded by a Japanese owner, Yuta Mizutani, and his German wife, Michaela. This article will highlight how Mr. Yuta started his own restaurant in Berlin and his philosophy applied on the whole dining space.
Photo: Ari Matsuoka
Congratulations on your opening. Could you tell us about how the journey started?
It actually took us such a long time to start. I think our case is quite unusual. First of all, starting your own business in Berlin involves a really complicated process. Our place used to be a cafe – we bought it and sent a document to the local office to start our restaurant, but it literally took us 14 months to get everything signed off. It took us such a long time because the screening process is so complicated in Berlin. From the decoration to the interior, we wanted everything handmade. With support from people in the same field, we managed to open it. However, still, it was extremely difficult to open a restaurant in Berlin.
It was mid-December when we officially received a license to open from the local office. That made us decide to open on Christmas eve, even though our initial plan was to open in April 2019. We were actually planning to have our wedding in April too, but we ended up getting married in September. When we got married, we were still constructing the restaurant.
The hardest part of setting up a business in Berlin is the hand-over bit. Only a few people can be persistent enough to wait to open their business; many people just give up in the process. We were just fortunate that we received support from our friends and trainers.
Why did you choose this area, instead of more popular areas like Mitte?
We didn’t have to be based in popular areas – as we are a reservation-only restaurant. Our location is a 5 minutes walk from Nöldnerplatz station, assuming that this area will be an exciting place where foodies would gather in the next 5 to 10 years.
We went around 50 to 60 vacant properties when we were trying to find a place. But we felt something about this place. Something different. I think you need a bit of luck to open a restaurant. We feel so honoured to have this place.
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