One of the most delightful aspects of traveling the world is sampling the local street food. Taco carts, hot dog stands, creperies… what better way to immerse yourself into the local culture? In the case of Berlin, Germany, at least one way to do that exists while also sounding incredibly brave (or foolish, depending) when recounting the adventures to friends and family upon returning home again.
Enter: Burgermeister. The snack shack, whose name is a clever play on the German word for “mayor,” may seem to sling burgers and fries like any other joint of its ilk, but the details of Burgermeister are where the place really distinguishes itself from the pack. Located directly under the U-Bahn tracks, its utilitarian shape and dull green paint and “Männer” sign at the restaurant’s far end reveal the space’s former life as a public toilet building.
Yes, you read that right. The reigning late-night, counter service burger joint of choice in Berlin is located inside an old train loo, scrubbed of all its goo. Customers take a ticket, deli-style, from a counter and wait patiently (or drunkenly, depending on the day and hour) for a busy worker, seen running hither and dither throughout the standing-room-only restaurant, to deliver their American-style treat.
Burgermeister’s food has been praised by several critics, making it worthy of the bonus braggadocio you’ll add when regaling your mates of that time you ate a hamburger in a restaurant that used to be a bathroom, and lived to tell the tale.
The beautiful Oberbaumbrücke nearby offers a great view of the Berlin skyline and the river Spree, get your grub to go and eat by the water for a quintessential Berlin experience.
Know Before You Go
Located right next to Schlesisches Tor U-bahn station, Burgermeister is also a short walk from Warschauerstrasse Station. Visiting on a weekend can be chaotic, as Berlin's booming nightlife area is nearby, and the stand draws the crowds of hard-partied and hungry on their way home - or to the next club. Be prepared for a long, yet interesting, wait.