Two birds with one stone: the owner of the iconic Brasserie Verschueren in Saint-Gilles has announced that a crowdfunding action has not only saved the cafe, but he is now able to take over Restobières.
Recap: Brasserie Verschueren is a perfectly preserved Art Déco cafe on the Parvis Saint-Gilles, the centre of the commune’s nightlife. It dates back to 1880 when it was built in a Modernist style and was renovated in Art Déco style in 1935.
It was founded by Louis-François Verschueren, who worked in the wine trade, but the cafe was opened for the sale of gueuze, kriek and fruit liqueurs made by the family firm nearby in Saint-Gilles.
In its time, the cafe has served as a centre for fans of football club Union Saint-Gillois, as a meeting place for the Resistance, and since the war, the upper floors have provided meeting places for a host of different groups and associations.
But when the pandemic hit it was forced to close like all of the country’s cafes, bringing owner Robert Van Craen close to penury.
He launched a crowdfunding action to raise funds to allow the cafe to remain open, and with that assistance, alongside a loan from the Brussels region, he was successful.
Not only will Brasserie Verschueren remain open, Van Craen has now announced that he will also now take over Restobières, another landmark for beer lovers in Brussels.
Restobières is situated on a tiny cobbled street in the Marolles district of Brussels, close to the flea market. As the name suggests, it is quite simply a beer restaurant, cooking popular food with beer, or accompanied by beer.
But yet again the pandemic struck and owner-chef Alain Fayt could not survive the enforced closure. The restaurant closed in May, taking with it its reputation as one of the few places in Brussels where simple local food could be enjoyed with the best of Belgian beer.
Fayt told beer.be: "I was a little fed up. So yes, I'm relieved. I have other things to do than running a restaurant. But I'm still losing a little gem in my life."
"We hope to be able to open the doors in the spring, but first there is still a lot of work to do," one of the Verschueren team told Bruzz.
"In any case, it is a great honour to be able to take over Restobières. The owner has made it an exceptional place and we are very happy to be able to reopen the legendary business." The business will keep its name, he said.