frankfurt: maxie eisen café opening

© maxie eisen / photography: steve herud

frankfurt's bahnhofsviertel traditionally has had a bad rep. situated around the city's main railway station, it was once home to a sizeable contingent of druggies and to this day the red light district is very much a part of the urban setting. and it's right in the middle of this shifting neighbourhood where brothers james and david ardinastoskar melzer and roy peter - hospitality entrepreneurs with an in-depth knowledge of the local scene - have launched their latest venture. called maxie eisen, this new café + bar seems a perfect fit for the area. it's named after a notorious jewish-american mobster from the 1920s who had made a name for himself in the food business, and interestingly, its concept also playfully incorporates cues from the surrounding area.

the owners enlisted berlin-based architect étienne descloux who created two distinct interiors for two adjacent spaces. the café has a setting that's on the one hand obviously infused with modern aesthetic elements but also exudes a welcoming vibe. the front room walls are dipped in a light blue shade, paired with a mural by creative collective bless. the space is structured around a u-shaped bar in a contrasting deep burgundy colour, and is furnished with jean prouvé'standard and guéridon tables by vitra, in addition to alvaro catalán de ocón's frolicky lamps. in the adjacent space, separated by a foldable and mirrored partition, the atmosphere shifts abruptly to sexy and intimate. deep purple walls contrast with a centrally hexagonal positioned bar with a bright red table top and a series of stools.

finnish designer ilmari tapiovaara's pirkka chairs line the walls, alternated by jean prouvé's cité lounge chairs. adding an achingly chic element to this section of the establishment are charlotte perriand's wall lamp designs. maxie eisen's café menu builds on a quirky mix of jewish fare, the history of frankfurt's red light district and the french sensibility of a café. pastrami takes center stage on the café menu, along with american beef brisket, traditionally cured using mustard, crushed peppercorns, coriander seeds and garlic. other tasty bites include roast chicken, select charcuterie and traditional matzo ball soup. light and healthy options include herring with horseradish and raw onions, while home-cooked rosemary french fries and fresh salads are served as side dishes. location: münchenerstrasse 18 [bahnhofsviertel].

© maxie eisen / photography: steve herud