McDonald's coming soon to Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie

McDonald's said Tuesday it planned to open a new outlet at Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie, completing the landmark's 20-year transformation from Cold War front line to money-making tourist hotspot.

The 120-seater restaurant will be opposite the Mauermuseum dedicated to the Berlin Wall that used to divide the city, and hopes to be selling its burgers, fries and other products from mid-2010, a spokeswoman told AFP.

The 600-square-metre (6,500-square-feet) restaurant, on the site of where Soviet and US tanks famously faced off in 1961, is a "top location," the Bild daily cited the US fast food giant as saying.

Spokeswoman Christiane Woerle told AFP said that McDonald's, which has come to symbolise US capitalism more than any other firm, has applied for planning permission with the German authorities.

Checkpoint Charlie was the main crossing point for foreigners between East and West Berlin from the post-war division of the city until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

After the communist East German authorities erected the Berlin Wall overnight in 1961 as an "anti-capitalist protection barrier", the crossing point expanded over the decades to include several traffic lanes.

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city is barely recognisable, having undergone such an architectural metamorphosis that visitors find it hard to tell what was West Berlin and what was East.

The area around Checkpoint Charlie is no exception, with the path of the Berlin Wall now marked by a line of cobblestones and only an open-air gallery showing tourists how the border crossing used to look.

It is a major tourist attraction nonetheless, with coach loads of visitors flocking to buy souvenirs and to pose in photos with enterprising locals dressed as Soviet and Allied soldiers, who also stamp passports for a fee.

The landmark is home to a reconstruction of a border booth behind sandbags as well as a replica white sign informing people they are either leaving or entering the "American Sector", in English, Russian, French and German.

Above the hut there is a large photo of a Soviet soldier, and on the other side, as you head south down Friedrichstrasse into the former West Berlin, a US serviceman.

McDonald's is no stranger to opening in sensitive places, including in the same building as Prague's Museum of Communism, across the street from Windsor Castle in Britain - and in the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In Berlin, the "Golden Arches" logo will adorn a building currently occupied by a myriad of eateries including a sushi restaurant, a kebab outlet, a pizzeria and a Subway all collectively known as "Snackpoint Charlie."

Berliners cited by Bild were on the whole pleased.

"I think it's great," said Alexandra Hildebrandt, 40, who runs the Mauermuseum. "Checkpoint Charlie symbolises the United States, and so does McDonald's. They go well together."

"McDonald's is definitely a gain for every local and tourist. Because the food here was rubbish," said Matthias Fischer, 39.

Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - Bedfordshire/Cambs border - £32k

    £27000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Application Support Analyst - near S...

    Recruitment Genius: Class 1 HGV Driver

    £23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This successful group of compan...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas