Ardy’s ready-made meals

Jan 29, 20188 comments

Döner required for a forgotten factory

The call came late. Giant abandoned Dönerfabrik. A location. Wow! It was well dark already but there wasn’t a moment to lose. Indeed, Döners are best enjoyed as late-night indulgences. Quick, to the bicycle!

When I got there, however, I had to stop. It was darker than dark, no sign of the moon.

The fence looked menacing and the tree branches were waving ominously overhead. Then I heard voices and loud bangs from inside the grey building. BANG! BANG! What the fuck? I held my breath. Waited. More bangs. Shit. Who was inside? Homeless people? Crazy people? Maybe they were axe-throwing murderers practicing. The wind picked up and the tree branches swayed even more. I took the hint, decided to come back in the daytime.

So I went back with the sun’s company. The fence was more forthcoming and the tree branches waved hello. I picked my way through the rubbish strewn around the front and started taking pictures.

Then I heard a whistle, the unmistakable sound of a human, and voices. Shit. I wasn’t alone. Maybe it was the same gang of bangers from the nighttime. I decided to proceed, carefully, on the other side of the building.




















There was crap everywhere. The smell was revolting. On the next floor it was so bad it would have knocked down a skunk. I took pictures, though none will be pretty.

Then I heard more banging right around the corner, something shuffling. I inched away. Suddenly a guy jumped out from the corridor.

“Hello!” he said. He whipped out his dick and started pissing on the wall.

“Hallo,” I replied.

“You painting?” he asked.

“No. Photos.”

He finished pissing as I inched away into the next room. He followed me. He pointed at some of the artwork and said he liked it.

“I paint too,” he said. He invited me to check it out.

I followed him back around the corner, through a dark corridor, and into another small room, where he had a bed set up and a little wardrobe.

It looked quite cozy, though he said it can get cold “sometimes.”

He’s been squatting here for the past year. He showed me what he’d drawn on the wall and when I asked for permission to take a picture he turned on a little battery-operated set of Christmas lights on the ceiling.

A candle would have thrown out more light, but still, a nice gesture.

We talked a bit and bumped into another couple of guys on the staircase. These fellas were painting. My new friend brought one of them off, presumably to show him his artworks, and the other told me I should visit Schönwalde after I told him I was interested in abandoned places.

I thanked him and went on to explore the attic. There was nothing much in the attic. On my way back down past them again, one was pissing against the wall and the other let out a huge belch. They were German, friendly guys.

I explored the rest of the factory and found even more rubbish. The place was literally a dump, with refuse scattered everywhere. The rats must have been the size of cows, though I didn’t meet any. No doubt they were observing me as I poked around.

They probably moved in when the humans moved out, lured by giddy talk of döner and other derelict delicacies.

But it’s been a while since any döner meat – or indeed any meat – was produced at the Fabrik, which produced ready-made meals and frozen food.

Ardy, as it was called, went bust in February 2007, and insolvency proceedings were called off in July 2013 because of a lack of assets. It seems ARDY Menü-GmbH wasn’t very ‘ardy after all.

All that is according to the Soldiner Kiez Kurier, which said further details could not be found. It did, however, paint an unflattering picture of the inhabitants. The ones I found ultimately turned out to be quite friendly, albeit a little odd.

But this is Berlin, where up is down and down is up and everything in between is nowhere in the middle. After all the excitement, I had to go for a döner. Meanwhile the Fabrik still languishes on a forgotten waiting list.





















  • What: Ardy ready-made meal factory, which evidently didn’t get them ready enough or it wouldn’t have done bust. But bust it is, now desperately in need of a donor to come and revive it.
  • Where: Holzstraße 1-3, 13359 Berlin.
  • How to get there: Just hop on your bike or drive your Trabi. If you’ve neither, Osloer Straße is the nearest U-Bahnhof. Here it is on a map.
  • Getting in: The fence is inviting and the door’s open. Go on in.
  • When to go: Definitely go during the day, when natural light makes the place safer. Whether it’s safe enough is for you to decide – seriously.
  • Difficulty rating: 2/10. There’s hardly any difficulty at all, though you do need to take care not to intrude on other people’s hospitality.
  • Who to bring: Bring a friend, especially if you’re of a nervous disposition. There’s safety in numbers.
  • What to bring: Bring a torch as many of the rooms are dark, a döner if you’re hungry, a beer if you’re thirsty, some tunes if you wanna dance, some paint if you wanna paint.
  • Dangers: Be careful, and respectful. There are people who live here. Maybe not all of them are as friendly as the guy I encountered, who didn’t seem particularly friendly when I met him first. You should always take extra care when you go to places that other people have made home. We’re in the same boat, all drifting on the same round ball. You wouldn’t like it if strangers started wandering through your home. Be mindful for people who may have more reason to fear you than the other way around.

Many thanks to local detective Stephan Uersfeld for the tip and eagle-eyed wordsmith Mark Rodden for proofreading!


Cité Foch shopping center

Cité Foch shopping center

Cité Foch’s closing down sale must have been something else. Everything must go! In the end, even the shopping center, cinema and leisure center had to go.

Demoted diner

Demoted diner

It was the world’s slowest fast food restaurant. You’d be waiting a whopping great time for your burger at the abandoned Burger King on Prenzlauer Allee.

Kaiser’s supermarket

Kaiser’s supermarket

Shelves are cleared, tills and aisles empty. Even the shelves, tills and aisles are gone. There literally isn’t a sausage of the abandoned Kaiser’s left.


  1. Anonymous

    I went there today, super easy to get in 🙂 There is a hole in the fence, and also a part of the fence is missing, you would just have to “climb” a bit (= make a big step). When I came, another urbexer just left the place and said he didn’t see any homeless people – neither did I. But I didn’t go to all the rooms on the upper floors, because I thought that’s where they might have their living rooms.
    Only thing is that you are quite exposed to everybody when entering, as it’s close to the street and there are not many trees/bushes where you could hide. On a Sunday I think no one is interested, but you should still watch out.

    • Fabiwasabi

      It was possible to climb over the fence and check the building from the outside. We didn’t find a way to get in, there were many professionals barriers unfortunately. PS: thank you so much for this amazing map and blog 🙂

  2. Unknown

    Was there today filming and was yelled at by a refugee who apparently is living there. Along with a whole bunch of other refugees the Who live upstairs on the second floor. Be careful he wasn’t too happy we were there.

  3. d0ra_expl0ra

    I also went in May. The place is in a real bad state, excrements everywhere, I did feel a bit uneasy. There was evidence of people there, so I did my pictures and went quickly, although, when one came out and saw me, I just asked if he minded me taking photos and he just left me alone. I did leave quickly though! Very easy access and relatively central, which is why there are people leaving there.

  4. Dev

    Went here today. It was easy to crawl underneath the fence. (As long as you are not too big)
    Once in I went all around the building to find a way in. The only spot that looked like an opening, however, had a man sleeping right in front of it, essentially blocking access. Like I would have actually had to step over him to get in.
    So I think there are still a bunch of people living here and they probably don’t want to make it easy for urban explorers to enter. (Understandable)
    Maybe another time.

  5. Adèle

    Went here today. There is a quite new fence you can easily climb. But a man is living in front of the main entrance and makes it impossible to get in. All the other entrance are totally blocked. We just walked outside

  6. tsdv

    Anyone went there recently ?

  7. Anonymous

    Went there yesterday and now there is a second fence around the place. Although it is climbable, the real problem only comes after it. They put very sturdy metal sheets and such over all doors and windows, so it was impossible for us to get into the building.


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