“Berlin is in no way inferior to New York”

Berlin has approximately 3.7 million inhabitants, they are as diverse as the city itself, so what makes Berlin special, why do people live here and do they even like to do it? In our “Berlin Questionnaire” section, we ask famous residents of the capital about their favorite places and personal prohibitions. They reveal their culinary tips, favorite shopping and neighborhood secrets, but also what annoys them in Berlin and what you definitely shouldn’t do here.

This time, Heinz “Cookie” Gindullis answered our questions. The 48-year-old once organized legendary club nights and became one of the most famous people in Berlin’s nightlife. In the meantime, he has dedicated himself to upscale gastronomy, but a bar will soon be joining his Crackers and Cookies Cream restaurants. Born in London, Gindullis initially did not want to stay in Berlin for that long – and remains faithful to his Mitte-Kiez to this day. He lives here with his girlfriend Beatrice Heinze and two children.

1. Mr. Gindullis, how long are you in town?

I came to Berlin on January 1, 1992, that was a really long time ago. Originally I was only planning on staying for ten years and now it’s 30. Time flies when you’re having fun.

2. What is your favorite place in Berlin?

Even though Berlin has a lot of bubbles, I always think I’m in Mitte. Torstrasse, Auguststrasse, Friedrichstrasse and Unter den Linden are my favorite neighborhood and Mitte is the only place I have lived in Berlin.

3. Where are you going when you want to relax?

I usually spend my holidays in the countryside, in Ibiza – the second district of Berlin. Besides, I meditate a lot. If I need to think or relax in Berlin, I go to the Brandenburg Gate and then towards Tiergarten. I find it very quiet there.

4. What parts of the city do you avoid?

I don’t like going to public institutions such as hospitals or offices – but who does? You don’t feel individually there, you get lost in the crowd. I don’t like it at all.

5. Your ultimate gastronomic tip for insiders?

Of course I love going to my own restaurants. But I also really like visiting competitions and being up to date because it keeps me in check. But because of Corona, the last two years have been very limited, I’ve only been to my own bars. But before the pandemic, I really liked Nobelhart & Schmutzig so I definitely have to go there again. And I definitely want to go to Rutz soon, the only three star restaurant in Berlin. Oukan on Ackerstraße with vegan Japanese cuisine also sounds exciting.

Cookie Cream

To the person

Heinz Gindullis grew up in London and moved to Berlin in 1992. He started out as a cleaner, then a kitchen helper, then a bartender. In 1994, he opened his first cookie bar on Auguststrasse in Mitte, which made him quickly famous in Berlin’s nightlife – also thanks to legendary parties. Cookie became a co-creator of the new Berlin myth.

He had to open and close his club in seven different locations until finally, in 2007, he settled on the corner of Friedrichstrasse and Unter den Linden. In the same year, the committed vegetarian opened Cookies Cream – the first vegetarian restaurant in Germany to be awarded a Michelin star. After the club closed in 2014, Gindullis opened Crackers there.

The 48-year-old also organizes events for companies such as Google and Netflix. In Tanzania, he runs the Mbigili Children’s Village charity project. In autumn he wants to open a new bar called “Cookies” – on the ground floor of his favorite restaurant on Behrenstrasse.

6. Your top shopping tip?

I mainly buy online because I don’t have much time for shopping. But I highly recommend Son of a Tailor, that’s where I buy all my t-shirts. I love cotton and everything is made in Portugal.

7. The best part of Berlin is …

Well inside, of course! Mitte is cosmopolitan, constantly changing, international, and you’ll find all kinds of food, art, parks, museums and exciting people.

8. What annoys me the most about the city:

Of course the weather! I miss the beach and sunnier days. But from a business point of view, bad weather days are better for me, so I guess I can’t really complain too much.

9. What needs to be changed urgently to keep Berlin viable?

What I think needs to change is the people’s mentality. Berlin needs more positive people who are more positive. I wish everyone would have done a little more for the good of the city.

10. Your tip for the undecided: move to Berlin or stay there?

I am a huge fan of the city so of course I will always promote people to move here. I am very proud of what we have to offer. There is so much culture, history, gastronomy, art … It is top notch and rivals big cities like New York and London. Berlin has so much to offer.

11. Colder than Berlin is only …

Moon stop on the way to Mars.

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