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Five of the German capital’s chicest denizens reveal a few secrets, starting with their preferred places to shop.
Daniel Bixel — one of a new breed of hipsters who’ve flocked to Berlin in the past few years—used to be known as Mr. Fancy Pants. It began when he altered a pair of second-hand trousers to create a funky silhouette — big on top, tight at the bottom. The look caught on around the trendy Hackescher Markt and soon turned into a modest business. But fashion, like audio engineering, which he’d studied in school, wasn’t his professional calling. That struck him late one night, after a few drinks at a friend’s Christmas dinner, when an idea came to him out of nowhere. Two words: stuffed potatoes.
Mr. Fancy Pants is now Berlin’s Mr. Potato Head. Last year he opened Bixel’s, a shop that specializes in exquisitely stuffed spuds — baked potatoes whose insides are mashed with butter and cheese, plus various new filling combos. The ambrosial chicken potato, inspired by his girlfriend’s culinarily gifted Persian parents, is packed with chicken, honey, carrots, tomatoes, red lentils, red onions, pomegranates and walnut sauce. There is even a limited series of Stickxels Schnaps, which started as a joke but is now getting serious. But not too serious.
GO-TO SHOP: www.oki-ni.com. As a busy restaurateur, Bixel prefers to shop online, and his site of choice is Oki-ni, which was founded in the U.K. in 2001 as a store for progressive men’s fashion. The site offers a smartly edited array of designers and labels: Acne, Adidas Originals, Alexander McQueen, Band of Outsiders, Bernhard Willhelm, Billionaire Boys Club, Comme des Garçons, Jil Sander, Maison Martin Margiela, Nixon, Raf Simons, Rag & Bone, Rick Owens and Silent by Damir Doma, among many others. Oki-ni has also collaborated with brands such as Adidas, Levi’s and Paul Smith. Bixel’s last purchase was a pair of Timberland/Pendleton collaboration boots, but he especially enjoys shopping for socks: “They’re always funny and so easy. You don’t have to try them on.”
FAVORITE BOITE: Schnelle Quelle. “It’s a crappy sort of place,” says Bixel, summing up the allure of this classic East Berlin pub, notable for its cheap beer, no-frills decor, a piano perched on top of a door and a steady flow of music videos on the TV.
SECRET LONGING: Wheels. “I have to get a car,” says Bixel. But not just any car: a Jaguar Daimler Double Six from the Eighties, in dark green — “the only color for a Jaguar.”
WHERE TO RELAX: “I just walk. I’m such a nature fan.”