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General store Hallesches Haus in Berlin (Photo: Lena Ganssmann)
Image: Lena Ganssmann

USA: Hallesches Haus general store

May 16, 2019

In a former post office in Kreuzberg, Michelle Casciolo offers a quirky slice of American consumer and culinary culture. Products such as kitchen sponges feature in a typical store format along with downhome cooking.


US-born, Alabama-raised Michelle Casciolo designed her general store to resemble the small mixed merchandise outlets that still dot the rural landscape of her home state. They sell food products, lightbulbs and sponges, and many even serve a hot meal. That's the concept behind Kreuzberg's Hallesches Haus, founded by Michelle Casciolo with compatriot Jillian May and British national Oliver Cayless in 2015. But their little venture is far more elegant and exclusive than the standard fare, with hand-poured candles from L.A., sustainable cosmetics from Philadelphia, and jewelry from Copenhagen. 

The roomy former post office on the Landwehr Canal is the perfect spot for Michelle to invite guests to sample her taste in good food and design. Thanks to her and her partners, Hallesches Haus has transformed into bright space with a large store and a restaurant at the back. The aromas of their "international comfort food," as Michelle calls it, waft invitingly out of the open kitchen. There is always good, freshly roasted coffee, crispy sweet potatoes with goat cheese salad, or chia porridge ornamented with dazzling hibiscus poached pears.

Quirky design

At the weekend brunch – always a popular event – the kitchen serves up French toast that would rival even the very best of the American South. Embarking upon a relaxed stroll around the shop, you'll get the chance to discover all of the beautiful and practical gems the three former product scouts have unearthed on their travels around the world, whether that's jewelry and cosmetics, dishware, plants and selected literature, or just flashlights and sponges – though here they're pink and covered in glitter. The selection is a clear reflection of quirky owner Michelle's first job in Berlin with a furniture design platform back in 2013. 

The gig was meant to be temporary, but she fell in love with the city and stayed on to develop the concept for Hallesches Haus. The fact that it's proved such a success and has already become somewhat of an institution among its young clientele is not just down to its merchandise; it's testament to a great team, and to Michelle Casciolo herself, who, with typical American warmth and a flair for business, keeps the whole thing running.

Authwor: Iris Braun

Tempelhofer Ufer 1
10961 Berlin-Kreuzberg

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