Nolle - a gripping history
People always ask where the name Nolle comes from, whether we’re somehow associated with the Nollendorfplatz train station and what the story is with the restaurant, Zum Franziskaner.
Fact – Restaurant Nolle was originally located in the disused overground train station at Berlin’s Nollendorfplatz. The square was named in honor of a battle from the War of the Sixth Coalition in 1813 near Kulm and Nollendorf (Czech Naklérovská vysina = Nollendorfer Heights) in the Bohemian Ore Mountains. For his outstanding service, Prussian General Friedrich Heinrich Ferdinand Emil Graf Kleist was granted the honorary additional last name, von Nollendorf. Nearby Kleiststrasse was named after him – which rules him out as our namesake.
How did Nolle wind up in Nollendorfplatz Station? Christened in 1902, the overground part of the train station was taken out of service at the beginning of the 1970s.
The Berlin Wall phase erected in 1961 prevented any further train traffic. In 1973, Nolle moved in there with the Berlin Antiques and Fleas Market. Historic U-Bahn carriages served as showrooms for both original antiques and those simply with an original design, and celebrations in Nolle were by no means limited to Sunday brunch.
Nolle quickly grew into a hot spot for locals and for visitors.
The long-overdue reunification in 1990 revived train traffic between the East and West, with the U2 again stopping at Nollendorfplatz on its way to Pankow. So we moved Nolle into the S-Bahn railway arches at Friedrichstrasse Station. Like Nolle itself, these rustic arches have their own stirring history of dining, dance and drink.
In 1882, the location was to become home to the famous Restaurant Zum Franziskaner for more than sixty years, a locale featuring warm, informal hospitality, beer and hearty meals. Everyone who was someone in Berlin Mitte met here to eat, drink and celebrate together. And so it should be in Nolle as well.