eins44: Fine Dining in a Peaceful Courtyard
Tucked away from the nearby bustling Weserstraße in Berlin, eins44 greets its guests with a stunning tiled interior and industrial flourishes like heavy black ceiling lamps and wooden tables. The restaurant’s manager, Jonathan Kartenberg, was kind enough to give us a tour of the unique space, which was a distillery until the 1960’s.
eins44 officially opened on April 4th, 2014. However, it had been serving lunches for a few months beforehand. Jonathan has been with the restaurant since the beginning, and as the manager, has always had a strong focus on the service and on the guests. Over the years, the menu has transformed.
“At the beginning we started with, I would say, a brasserie kitchen—very basic—which went really well. At the moment, we’re doing a menu that has a lot of products from regional farmers and fishermen and so on. We do new modern German cuisine.”
Customers can get to know eins44 via their website, Facebook page, and the many positive reviews to be found online. Despite the great coverage, it’s still a challenge to get guests inside (especially when one’s business is located deep within a few courtyards) as well as remain relevant in Berlin’s rapidly changing restaurant scene.
“Now, we’ve been here three years, so we need to get bigger as we get better and that’s a challenge. To not be a restaurant that opens, gets hype for a year or two, and then guests are going to the next restaurant. For every restaurant, I think that is the challenge.”
Jonathan believes, when it comes to food and drink, a great strategy for success is consistency. So, when a guest returns, they can expect the same high quality food and service they received the first time. This enriches the business with a legacy to live up to and helps it continuously improve.
eins44 is also a great venue to book for special occasions:
“We offer an a la carte service, and we have a beautiful, beautiful location for marriage celebrations and other events. Of course, it’s a mix.”
As for long term goals, Jonathan says for the moment the team is happy with the current state of things and don’t have immediate plans to open another location. If they did decide to do so, it would depend almost entirely on the space they found.
His advice to new business owners is to learn the business from the ground up:
“To learn about the restaurant business, you need to start from the lowest position you can find. So, start as a runner, work as a runner, work till you get on the bar and become a bar chef or something like that, work in service, work in the kitchen… it takes a long time, but if you’re going to learn all these things, you’re also going to learn how it’s possible to open a restaurant.”
Jonathan says eins44 began using the SumUp card reader from the start, with the first generation magstripe reader that plugged into the phone jack, all the way to the Air. He says the device’s simplicity and ability to take all major cards is paramount.
“SumUp is very flexible and I think this is the most important reason as to why we’re using it.”