Local HeroesPublished at 5/26/2020 – Recent news
Local Heroes: Frau Luna
With our #localheroes series we’re putting a spotlight on those individuals and companies who – ever since the outbreak of Covid19 – have been achieving extraordinary feats and who have adapted to the new normalcy with creative solutions.
The charming establishment Frau Luna, situated on the lively canal in the Kreuzberg district, dedicate themselves to bring Italian aperitivo culture to Berlin. Guests can usually enjoy a selection of delicious wines and drinks right by the lively waterfront. This wonderful atmosphere is paired with delicious aperitivo plates, served with fine cheeses and Italian cold cut meats, olives and much more. No wonder that visitors experience true vacation feelings here.
The bar is named after the famous operetta Frau Luna by Berlin composer Paul Lincke, who’s regarded as the founder of the Berlin operetta and Frau Luna a true showpiece of this genre. Meanwhile, the aperitivo bar, which has been delighting its customers for a year now, is the perfect liaison between Italian dolce far niente and Kreuzberg charm.
But how does a young bar cope when customers suddenly stay away? And what do restrictions involving contact bans mean for a place of encounters?
We visit Jonas Tawam, Berlin restaurateur and owner of Frau Luna, on a warm day in May. In the middle of packing aperitivo sets that he’s delivering to his customers, we discuss the necessity of a rethink and special encounters during this exceptional time.
Hi Jonas, looking around it feels and looks more like dolce vita thann crisis management here. How would you describe your current situation?
Our crisis management does have a taste of dolce vita. At the moment, it’s about not losing heart. That’s why, especially now, we’re trying to bring a holiday feeling to Berlin. Sipping a drink by the canal is definitely part of that, isn’t it?
How exactly did you have to restructure your processes due to the corona crisis?
The biggest problem with this situation is that you just don’t know what tomorrow will be like. Therefore our credo is to remain flexible. We’ve developed a take-away concept for lockdown. Now, with the gradual opening, we want to continue delivering, but only in our immediate vicinity: Called “Aperitivo Express”, our delivery service supplies the flâneurs along the Landwehrkanal with drinks and small treats. We’re happy we were able to expand our business model that way, but we want to highlight the importance of gastronomy for our social routine and our attitude to life. Thanks to unu's electric scooter and the relatively small delivery area, we are particularly agile.
Like many gastronomies, Frau Luna lives, above all, from its gatherings and long nights where many groups merge to a big party at the end. How do you deal with this missing social factor?
A balmy summer night on our terrace is hard to replace. Nevertheless, we try to give the guests the feeling of "being together". In the end, a business lives from its community, and that community exists even during a crisis.
It's nice to see that you were able to implement new ideas so quickly. How do you plan to deal with the delivery concept once this crisis is finally over?
We’ll use the summer to test out our newly established Aperitivo Express. Perhaps some of this will also flow into the winter version of Frau Luna.
It is said that a crisis can also offer opportunities. Apart from new ideas and concepts, what do you as a gastronomer take away from this time?
The big chance of this crisis is that politics might finally wake up and relax the conditions for the gastronomy. It's an incredibly strenuous profession, which at the same time is so important for society. If nothing changes, we might soon have to give up many small, charming shops and find ourselves in a fully-franchised environment. Other countries are more advanced in this area, gastronomy is an integral part of their culture and of capitalised importance.
What do you miss most in the current situation?
Crowded minglings, music in the background, a warm summer breeze, a negroni on the table and two olives in your mouth.
How does it feel to be on the road in the city at the moment?
At the end of the strict lockdown, people on the streets gave you a smile more often. Because you didn't get out on the streets much anyway, it was good to meet people again. When it comes to driving a scooter, it was fantastic: the streets were less crowded and you could whiz through the city even faster than usual.
Can you tell us of any special encounters you’ve had since you started the delivery service?
Every encounter is special in its own way, especially because we know many of our customers personally and they’re part of our community. But the most beautiful thing is the anticipation of the people we deliver to who are eagerly awaiting their drinks and tasty little goodies. This appreciation of our products makes us very happy. I personally also like the fact that with the Aperitivo Express we’re reclaiming a small piece of public space that’s been lost in recent years.
Thank you, dear Jonas, for the interview. Please find more information about Frau Luna on Instagram and their website. For delivery at the canal in Berlin Kreuzberg you can order the Aperitivo sets via phone here: +49 162 9535 739
And no need to say: Don't drink and drive! Frau Luna is driving for you.
Here you can read more about our #localheroes initiative.