Canada: Café Aunt Benny

Planet Berlin: Canadian culinary classics

Follow the beat

When the international music scene moved to Berlin, Jeremy P. Caulfield, already a well-known DJ, had to follow. In 2003, he moved from Canada to Berlin with his partner, interior designer Kyla Boyle. In 2008, she started Café Aunt Benny at Traveplatz, and in 2013, Jeremy joined the show.

Planet Berlin: Canadian culinary classics

North American snacks

For more than ten years, Aunt Benny's owner couple have been focused on classic recipes from their North American homeland: desserts with sweet toppings, savory sandwiches and bagels are on the menu. They even share tantalizing recipes for cafe favorites like mom's apple crisp on the Aunt Benny blog.

Planet Berlin: Canadian culinary classics

Local Influences

At Aunt Benny you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, and of course coffee and cake at any time. Spreads and chutneys are homemade, as well as the cookies and cakes. The coffee comes from a Berlin roastery — while the beer from the tap is also locally brewed.

Planet Berlin: Canadian culinary classics

No reservations

Aunt Benny runs a popular brunch buffet on the weekends, with a wide selection of antipasti, meats and cheeses, and a large bread basket, on offer. It can get very busy, so it's advisable not to arrive too late: The cafe does not accept reservations, and also has no Wi-Fi.

Canadian interior designer Kyla Boyle and DJ Jeremy P. Caulfield came to Berlin in 2003. Their cafe has been serving classic Canadian cuisine, including bacon and apple chutney sandwiches, in Friedrichshain since 2008.

Here's the scene: dark grey stone floors, massive wooden tables, retro rotating chairs, a long bar with a glass case filled with sandwiches and cakes, and, on the back wall, a huge blackboard listing the menu. Aunt Benny is certainly stylish.

Proprietor Kyla Boyle has an eye for detail. After all, the Canadian-born owner is a trained interior designer and in her home city of Toronto, she worked in design rather than gastronomy. It was there that she met Jeremy P. Caulfield, an internationally renowned DJ who was drawn to Berlin for its vibrant electronic music scene. So, in 2003, the pair relocated. Jeremy P. Caulfield spun tracks at clubs such as Watergate, Bar 25, and Weekend, while Kyla Boyle worked as an interior designer. "Berlin was a dream. We didn't have any bureaucratic issues and rent was cheap," recalls Kyla Boyle.

All the same, she was having trouble making ends meet with her work as an interior designer, so she opened her first café in Kreuzberg. That first project folded, but she wasn't ready to give up just yet. So in 2008, she opened up Aunt Benny on Traveplatz in Friedrichshain, which was still a relatively quiet quarter at the time. Jeremy P. Caulfield joined the business in 2013, after deciding to take a step back from the music scene. Since then, the couple have run the business together.

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Neighborhood cafe

The café offers up typical North American specialties such as poached eggs with avocado and maple bacon, sandwiches with grilled cheese, ham, and apple chutney, salads with carrot and burrata, vegan chili, quiche, toasted bagels with cream cheese and sun-dried tomatoes, carrot-ginger cake, and, of course, coffee in all its many wonderful forms.

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The café's concept is tailored to the neighborhood. "We have so many regulars who are in here almost every day," explains Jeremy P. Caulfield. The ambiance is comfortable and relaxed. Many of the regular customers come in after doing their shopping to grab a coffee or have a quick bite to eat. Some read the paper while others work. Breakfast, lunch, and afternoon coffee and cake make up their core business, so they normally close at around 5pm or 6pm at the weekend. "We've been here for ten years, and I think people enjoy that consistency," says Kyla Boyle. The café is a true Canadian gem in the district.

Author: Jacek Slaski

AUNT BENNY
Oderstr. 7
10247 Berlin-Friedrichshain