Let's start from the beginning...
In 2018, Google purchased Johannisstrasse 20—where House of Small Wonder and our sister restaurant, ZENKICHI, have long called home—as the site for their European headquarters. In early 2019, massive renovation of the building started.
Although construction did, and will not, take place in our space, we quickly learned how impactful and unmanageable it was going to be...
The noise, dust, fumes, toxic material, and building malfunctions (e.g. water switched off, gas outages, elevator stops working, etc.) make it extremely challenging to continue daily operations. Most recently, our emergency exit and handicap accessible entrance were blocked rendering the space illegal for occupancy.
Without proper warning or control, we are continuously forced to deal with unexpected circumstances— which have frequently taken us by surprise in the middle of service with a restaurant full of guests.
We've said it before and we will say it again, "We care about what we do and we want to make you feel loved." And so, we remain closed because the probability of interruption is too high and we simply won't jeopardize your experience.
So just have a chat with Google, no?
We've tried. Tirelessly. Initially, our requests to talk went unanswered. In the past few months, Google has responded with proposals that lack proper reparation. We've been told we can remain open yet are presented with inoperable conditions. The paradox is starkly contradictory.
Over the past two years, we feel we have been bullied, gaslit, and made victims of sabotage. In our opinion, Google has shown an unwillingness to reach a reasonable agreement and a general disregard for acting with a sense of morality or community.
What will happen next?
To be frank, the future of our restaurants are in question.
We are in the midst of legal action to determine terms for moving forward (i.e. financial compensation for not being in business). Of course, we will keep you posted as we learn more.
We appreciate your continued support and look forward to welcoming you at our pop-up on Auguststrasse this summer.