Why did we open Nalu Diner in Berlin?
Back when James and I had just moved to eastern Berlin in the early 2000’s, it seemed like the only late night food you could get was either döner kebab or a bratwurst. But we pined for late night breakfasts and filter coffee with free refills. That was when we realized that there wasn’t a diner or American breakfast place in the whole city that seemed to be offering the kind of tasty food, friendly service and comfortable atmosphere that we so missed from back home. What began as a craving gradually became an obsession, and an idea that we kept coming back to again and again over the years that followed.
Finally the “perfect storm” happened in early 2012. We found a great place for rent (right here where you’re sitting) and enough support from our beloved friends and families so that we could make our dream a reality. After a few months of hard planning, testing our ideas and recipes, and of banging a whole lot of nails, we opened our doors in late September of that year. It’s truly been a labor of love from day one, and we’ve been so happy to bring a little bit of the taste of home to all of our friends in Berlin ever since.
More than anything we wanted to make a diner in the spirit of the places we knew from growing up. For James that was in Indiana and Hawaii and for me it was in California, New Mexico and Virginia. Therefore the place has kind of a funny combination of infuences...but that’s the U.S. for you! Sometimes it’s pretty hard to tell what the heck is going on over there, but on the other hand that’s what makes the country so interesting sometimes. And making this happen in Berlin has brought in all kinds of other great ideas and favors from our wonderful team, which is also from all over the place, and from way beyond the borders of the U.S.
Unfortunately we’re not able to offer the thing that was our inspiration in the frst place: a late night diner breakfast. The neighborhood has changed quite a lot since we were fresh off the jet plane, and yeah, we kind of have, too! But maybe one day it will all come full circle and we’ll be able to stay up late at night drinking filter coffee and eating breakfast platters.
All that said, we hope that for now you enjoy your visit and get to taste a little bit of what we love from back home.