Saturday, August 4, 2012


The Kaufhaus des Westens, or KaDeWe, is ten blocks directly north of us, between Wittenbergplatz and Breitsheidplatz. At 60,000 square metres it is the largest department store in continental Europe.

Though the store opened in 1905, much of it was destroyed during World War Two. In the early 1990s, a 7th and 8th Floor were added, the former a mix of food court and wrapped goods.

The KaDeWe food court is an inversion of the North American model. In North America, vendors are built into the walls, with patrons purchasing their food and eating it at the centre of the court. At the KaDeWe, the vendors are situated throughout the court, often in circular "open-air" stations, around which patrons gather to eat.

There are no transnational franchises at the KaDeWe food court. Nor is their evidence of a deep fat fryer. Is that why North American food courts have their vendors with their backs to the wall, to keep us from entering that deep fat atmosphere?

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