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The Full Story

2 minute read

House of Small Wonder's Johannisstrasse 20 Location Remains Closed

In 2018, global tech-giant Google took over as landlord of Johannisstraße 20 – the building House of Small Wonder and sister restaurant ZENKICHI had called home since 2014. We were told by Google that they planned to perform only cosmetic and technical infrastructure updates to make way for their new offices. We were assured they wanted to keep us as tenants and that our restaurants would not be affected. This, however, was not the case.

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How so?

Since 2020, the building has been undergoing a complete gut renovation. Noise, dust, fumes, toxic material, and building malfunctions (e.g. water switched off unexpectedly, gas outages, elevator ceasing to work, etc.) made it extremely challenging to continue daily operations.


Google repeatedly denied the reality of these disruptions, but you can take a look for yourself here. The space was eventually rendered illegal for occupancy after Google blocked our emergency exit and handicap accessible entrance and black mold grew to dangerous levels due to months of unattended leaks and flooding.

Can't you talk with them?

Despite years of trying to negotiate with Google, we are still no closer to a fair resolution. We have not yet received any compensation; we have been forced to relocate; and we were served a baseless eviction notice via lawsuit in September of 2022, with 10 years on our lease at that time.


Participating in the legal procedure around this eviction claim has caused us to borrow hundreds of thousands of euros strictly to cover legal costs. While our livelihoods may be jeopardized as we are edged towards bankruptcy, our spirit remains determined to hold Google accountable to do what’s morally right and compensate us for what we are due – nothing more. 


As much as we love our new space on Auguststraße, you can imagine having our original home taken away from us is heart wrenching. (Many guests too have been disappointed to find that we are no longer ‘the place with the magical staircase’.)


Sadly further still, our dear ZENKICHI was forced to close this past December as a result of the relocation.

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How can you help?

We realized even though this injustice is part of our everyday lives, not many of you know about it. If there is any way you think you can support us, please get in touch. If you’d like a tour of the former restaurants in their current state of disrepair, get in touch.


Come visit us at Auguststraße– we love nothing more than to have the restaurant filled with your smiling faces!

In good news...

We look forward to welcoming you to our newest addition to the family – Candyman!  


A Tokyo-inspired Izakaya restaurant currently serving their evening menu from our Auguststrasse location.


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