Spti in Kastanienallee Prenzlauer Berg: Portrait about Chef Tuncay Kalkan

Spti boss Tuncay Kalkan
:“In winter everyone always wants to go home quickly”

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  • Martina Doering

Tuncay Kalkan grew up in Kreuzberg.

Tuncay Kalkan grew up in Kreuzberg.


Markus Guardian

Prenzlauer Berg –

Tuncay Kalkan operates a late sale, the Spti AM 2 PM, in Kastanienallee, where the whole family helps out.

The Spti is tuned to his Kuden from the neighborhood

It is around 8 pm and in the late purchase “AM 2 PM” in Kastanienallee there is a lot of activity. A young woman buys cigarettes, a man in a suit and fancy coat stows a couple of beer bottles in his pocket, a mother with a child buys milk, and takes bananas from the basket at the entrance. Tuncay Kalkan is operator of Sptis, stands at the cash register takes the money in receipt. “Our customers buy what they have forgotten in the supermarket and still need to get through the evening,” he says.

The Spti AM 2 PM is located at the top of the vineyard path, which is quite bleak along the park and at the beginning of the Kastanienallee, before the mile starts with the cafs and pubs, the shoe shops, boutiques, bookstores. The trams M1 and 12 are just a few meters further on. The Spti from Tuncay Kalkan has a good location, is quite large and well sorted. “When a customer asks for something we do not have yet, we usually put that into the assortment immediately,” says Tuncay Kalkan. “We opened the store three years ago,” he says. “By now we know very well what our neighbors, the tourists and the night owls need.”

The family is supported

Tuncay Kalkan was born in 1975 in a small village in eastern Turkey, about 250 kilometers from Trabzon on the Black Sea. When he was three years old, his parents moved to Germany with their family, first to Koblenz and soon afterwards to Berlin.

He and his three brothers grew up in Kreuzberg, where his parents first ran a bakery, from 1993 a vegetable shop. The brothers helped there as children. As a student, Tuncay Kalkan did an internship in an electrical engineering company. He enjoyed it and the company would have liked to take him as an apprentice after the 10th grade.

“But it is like that,” says the Spti operator, “that the children in Turkish families support their parents.” His parents had barely spoken German, so the sons took over the purchasing and negotiations with the suppliers, wrote the bills, made the mail. When the parents retired, his eldest brother opened a late purchase at the Ostkreuz and Tuncay Kalkan continues to work for him.

Since 2016 own Spti in the Kastanienallee

These Sptis are now available in Berlin on every corner. Wherever a boutique, a bakery or a shoe store closes, a late purchase will be made shortly afterwards. They are a remnant of the GDR, where the “Frh und Spt” stores with extended opening hours were created. After the reunification, they spread to West Berlin, they also exist – under another name – even in other major cities in the Federal Republic.

Despite meanwhile extended opening times of the supermarkets and the petrol station shops, the Sptis is not bad. They are – as is often written – the “neighborhood culture”, the supermarket, bakery, lottery and their operators are often the gripe box for the neighbors and regular customers. Tuncay Kalkan often takes a little more time and listens to the stories and problems of his customers.

After working with his eldest brother for twelve years, he started his own business with his younger brother and found a shop. Since March 2016, he now runs his own Spti in the Kastanienallee, where he is open every day of the week from 7 am until 1 am, on weekends until 3 am. Again, the family helps, especially if his younger brother or he wants to go on vacation.

Tuncay Kalkan sees the changes in the neighborhood

Tuncay Kalkan, who has German citizenship, then does not travel to the Turkish native village like his parents and brothers, but travels around the world. So he was in Japan, in Cuba, in Egypt. This year he wants to go to Uganda, to the mountain gorillas. Only when his daughter Melisa is a bit bigger, he wants to go to Turkey with her. So she gets to know her roots, he says.

But when he returns from his travels, he is looking forward to being back in his late life. He likes his shop and his job. The number of customers is constant, he says. Depending on the season, there are more neighbors, tourists or revelers shopping with him. “In winter everyone always wants to go home quickly,” he says with a laugh. In the meantime, he says, it has calmed down in the Kastanienallee anyway. The partygoers of yore were now family fathers and mothers, who bought more milk than beer in the late evening.

In addition, every opening of a grocery store within a radius is noticeable, even if it’s an organic store, says Tuncay Kalkan. A few days ago, another Spti opened in the immediate vicinity. That was, according to Tuncay Kalkan, pretty blatantly, from the operators as well as the property management. But Tuncay Kalkan tries to take it easy: “My regular customers have been outraged and want to continue their solidarity with us.”