The "Hühner Hugo" himself.
Hühner Hugo was the most popular restaurant in all Berlin. It was two wide store-fronts wide in a not particularly classy street off the Kurfuerstendamm and it served chickens. Nothing much more than chickens. But what chickens! And how it served them. No modern
contrivances. Only truly oven-roasted whole chickens roasted in huge real roasters and steadily basted in their own juices.
And how did one eat them?
Well, the left room had tall stools and rows of full-room length shoulder-height table where one stood and ate. The second room on the right had tables where one could sit. I almost never ate there.
The next greatest thing about Hühner Hugo, besides the chicken, was that it was open pretty much the whole day and night. And since Berlin almost never shut down, but most establishments remained open all night, Hühner Hugo was THE place to go for a quick bite any time.
The first time I went there, I entered the left room and saw a huge painting of Henry the 8th eating a whole chicken. He held the whole thing in his hands and was in the act of shoving it into his mouth. I made my way down the aisle to the window where the chickens were ordered and doled out. I was asked "ein halbes oder ein ganzes" (a half or a whole?). I said ein halbes, waited just a moment and the owner himself, Joachim, handed me the bird. I took it to one of the high tables and looked around for silverware, while wondering how others ate. I didn't have to wait long. Across from me stood a German who was almost the image of Henry the 8th. He picked up his "Ganzes" in his hands, just like Henry, and shoved the carcass into his delightedly waiting face. I needed no further cue and promptly dug in with full fingers and, for the first time, really had a ball, enjoying a great chicken in a restaurant. Afterwards I saw why there were decorative seeming fountains all oer the room with running water. Everyone went over to them, grabbed some soap and washed up completely.
Well, to make a longer story shorter, the owner, Joachim, who was not a particularly attractive man, at least not the way he usually dresssed and kept himself behind the counter, did happen to be by then a very wealthy man. So one day he stopped and said he wanted a portrait session with me. I told him I was very expensive, to which he
didn't bat an eyelash and even said he wanted it done with the larger format, more expensive film usually used for fashion shots.
So out came the Hasselblad and Bronica and "Hühner Hugo" got his wish. And I got some really great shots of a true Berlin icon, who let me shoot him exactly the ways I wanted.
Finally I have the time to print shots of my own choosing.
Brings back bittersweet memories.
Huhner Hugo Index | Miscellaneous Portraits Index | People Index
©2008 Mark B. Anstendig. All rights reserved.
Gallery | People | Places | Pets | Odds and Ends | Messraster | Photos of Me | Anstendig Institute Artwork | Contact Me
Click on the Gallery to see the full list of categories.