How restaurant owner Timo Schmitz found his niche

Pairing urban art with gastronomy – this is what Timo Schmitz’s creative concept is all about. The restaurant owner described to us how American street food, music and graffiti all come together, and what inspired him personally.

5P Restaurant interior

‘We wanted to create a space that brings different worlds together’, explained Timo Schmitz. He achieved this by opening the restaurant 5P in 2021: a blend of urban art and urban food creates a unique flair. As soon as they enter the Düsseldorf restaurant, guests are confronted with bright walls covered in graffiti reminiscent of New York street art. And no wonder! As the 35-year-old explains, ‘In 2019, I went to New York and checked out different concepts. And I went on a graffiti tour of Brooklyn’. This experience influenced the development of his concept.

5P Restaurant interior

When they enter the Düsseldorf restaurant 5P, guests are greeted by a colourful collage of graffiti and paintings on the walls.

The look of the nearby Kiefernstraße, one of the longest stretches of painted street in Europe, also played its part. Together with two sprayer friends from the graffiti scene – Marc Hennig of the Majo Brothers and Fabian Buckermann – he created the colourful collage on the walls. ‘After we had agreed on a colour scheme, I gave both of them complete freedom because I wanted an authentic impression of their art.’

From pastrami sandwiches to chicken waffles

On the culinary side, Schmitz and his team at 5P serve street food from North and South America. ‘We place a lot of value on the fact that our dishes are a bit special’, said Schmitz. In addition to a triple-decker pastrami sandwich, typical American specialities like chicken waffles or steak and fries, guests will find pizzas with specially concocted sauces and suitable dips on the menu.

Schmitz receives most of the products via automated ordering on the METRO delivery service. ‘We focus on quality, not quantity’, explains the restaurateur. ‘We’re not a burger joint, although our beef burger is our most popular dish.’Together with Götz Götz Braake from the METRO gastro consulting team, he has been able to refine the menu. ‘For instance, we used the input from the digital review to create the “Guests’ Favourites” category in our menu’ explains Schmitz. He is constantly developing the regularly changing menu together with chef Jurek Morgenstern, who worked for several years in the USA and Canada.

5P restaurant interior

Once a month, 5P becomes a stage for local hip-hop and soul singers.

When guests become an audience

In addition to running the restaurant, Timo Schmitz regularly holds events at 5P. In cooperation with the in-house recording studio, the 5P Live Session takes place once a month: a music event for hip-hop and soul singers from Düsseldorf and surrounding areas. ‘We provide a platform for young, unknown artists and offer them the chance to work with us and to network’, says the native of Cologne. The overall concept is not just aimed at the music scene but is also exciting for his guests. ‘Our audience is a colourful mix. From young kids to the over-sixties, you’ll find every age here.’The Live Sessions are almost always sold out. However, the 5P also hosts other events, such as guided painting courses and comedy nights. ‘These colourful events help us reach entirely new target groups.’The restaurant also caters for business events and birthday celebrations.

Finding the right niche

‘Quality is at the forefront of everything we do’, says Schmitz. ‘We work with a lot of young people from the scene – I think that’s what makes us authentic.’The restaurateur named his restaurant after a large former artists’ building in Queens, the 5 Pointz, which is considered the birthplace of urban hip-hop culture, among other things. More than 200 artists from all five boroughs of New York City have been based there since the 1980s. ‘For me, this concept was pivotal for what we have created here’, recalls Schmitz. He adds that it has always been important for him to make something special that inspires people. ‘Mainstream is boring. A former hotel manager once told me “It’s all about the niche”. And once you find your niche, you must also try to present it in the best possible way.’

Timo Schmitz

Timo Schmitz

About... Timo Schmitz

In 2010, the trained hotel specialist moved from Cologne to Düsseldorf, where he oversaw the opening of the Hyatt Hotel in Medienhafen as head concierge. He later moved to the former InterContinental Hotel as duty manager. In 2015, he ventured into the world of self-employment with one of the first pop-up restaurants in Düsseldorf. At the Racletterie, in the wine cellar of the Casa Luigi restaurant, he spent four months serving his guests raclette in tapas form. In 2016, Schmitz and his business partner opened the Hotel Graf-Adolf-Apartments and shortly afterwards the Kleine Luise – Düsseldorf's smallest hotel with a cocktail bar on the ground floor. After leaving the joint real estate company in mid-2019, Schmitz soon realised that he wanted to continue to express himself creatively. He went on to open the 5P in 2021.

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