The Markthalle in Arminiusstraße, originally erected in 1891, is only now promising to rival its erstwhile glory days after decades of post-war stagnation. Much ambition and industry has gone into what has been known as the ‘Zunft[halle]’ since November of last year, after a redesign and rebranding that culminated early this summer at its official reopening and 120th birthday party on June 25-26.
There have been changes aplenty. One of only three original Markthallen remaining in the city, the Zunfthalle is aiming to become a “guter dritter Ort” (“good third place”, apart from home and work, that is – the new operator of the market, Zunft AG, seems to be high on sociological jargon and concepts). ‘Zunft’ means ‘guild’, implying that the remade market will have a greater focus on quality regional and sustainable goods made by small producers, in addition to the already thriving food stalls and snack bars.
Renovations that began in 1990 are almost done, and a new role for the Arminiusmarkthalle in the life of Moabit is being imagined. Once home to over 400 2.48-metre micro-stalls, the Zunfthalle is moving toward being a more boutique establishment, despite the fact that it still houses a Norma and a Schlecker.
What the selection of food stalls lacks in range and quantity, it makes up for in quality. Geflügel Oase Bischoff is particularly respected for its great variety of high-quality poultry and game (you can buy ostrich!).
Roland Hoffmann’s Käse Carée stocks excellent cheeses, including a creamy and exquisitely stinky raw-milk camembert, ripe and runny just as the French would eat it. For a more local, but no less pungent experience, try the house specialty: Frischkäse mit Schluppen – a cream cheese with ‘winter onions’ in Berliner dialect.
Drop by Gusto for Mediterranean delicatessen eats – hams, olives and cheeses – or for the pizzas, salads and sandwiches dreamt up by Berlin-based Portuguese celebrity chef Chakall.
At another booth, there are even burgers, which despite the free-range Neuland meat, taste as rubbery as any other frozen patties. There’s even a microbrewery with a bar where you can sip fresh tap beers.
The new Markthalle has its own gourmet-lifestyle section named the ‘Kaufhaus der guten Dinge’: a vast selection of arts and handicrafts, pieces of furniture, handmade and fair-trade knick-knacks, from soaps to jewelry, as well as tastefully packaged honey, tea, coffee, jams and wines. And you pay at one cashier: a true Bobo mini-mall!
Concerts and shows have joined a weekly event lineup that includes pottery workshops, traditional handicraft classes and wine tastings. At least at the Zunfthalle, Moabit is the new Prenzlauer Berg! How the Zunft[concept] will go down in the neighbourhood, not Berlin’s most affluent, remains to be seen.