The Antwerp gastronomy is emptying: “It is still safer in a café than in a supermarket” – charms

After tightening the corona measures, it is raining in the Antwerp gastronomy for cancellations. Some things close voluntarily because it is simply more expensive to stay open. Knack Weekend inquired about the tenor in some Antwerp factories.

After tightening the corona measures, Café Stanny, Via Via Reiscafé, Café Den Draak, Brasserie Appelmans, Schnitzel, Bar Vert and Restaurant Lux, among others, have decided not to open in August, and the closure will certainly follow . The news of avoiding Antwerp came, and cafe and restaurant visitors were ruled out en masse. On Wednesday, the non-profit organization that represents the gastronomy on Groenplaats asked its members not to close. Vincent Schietekat, Chairman of vzw Groenplaats, does not deny that these are difficult times for cafes and restaurants: “The day Marc Van Ranst warned against coming to Antwerp, our sales immediately fell by half.” He stressed that companies are doing everything they can to comply with applicable regulations and that the city has already taken measures to help them, including expanding the terrace area. ”

After tightening the corona measures, Café Stanny, Via Via Reiscafé, Café Den Draak, Brasserie Appelmans, Schnitzel, Bar Vert and Restaurant Lux, among others, have decided not to open in August, and the closure will certainly follow . The news of avoiding Antwerp came and crowds of cafés and restaurants dropped out. On Wednesday, the non-profit organization that represents the gastronomy on Groenplaats asked its members not to close. Vincent Schietekat, Chairman of vzw Groenplaats, does not deny that these are difficult times for cafes and restaurants: “The day Marc Van Ranst warned against coming to Antwerp, our sales immediately fell by half.” He stressed that companies are doing everything they can to comply with applicable regulations and that the city has already taken measures to help them, including expanding the terrace area. “Hope for good weather With a simple form and the signature of the neighbors, Antwerp companies could take up more terrace space in this crisis. Mission Masala with Indian soul food by Pavan Baja and Tim Van Den Heuvel came out of the lock quite well by switching to a take-out formula. It went on relatively well after that, mainly thanks to the large terrace. Your Antwerp case will remain open under the new restrictions if the weather is good. “The restaurant itself is very small and people prefer to sit outside now. So we are totally dependent on the weather – I am totally fixated on weather apps these days. It really looks on from day to day. With the latest rules, sales have dropped to a quarter of normal and business in Ghent is empty. People seem to be panicking. If things go on like this and the weather is disappointing, we have to close, ”says Van Den Heuvel. “If you go to Antwerp, you will die.” Van Van der Borght, owner of 18 catering companies in Antwerp, finds the alarming message of virologist Marc Van Ranst and governor Cathy Berx exaggerated: “Why can you add five people to your bladder?” on your family, but with only four people in a restaurant? A store of over 200 square meters that can easily guarantee two meters away and has a professional team that leads people and does a bit of crowd management is, in my opinion, safer than an average supermarket. The risk of contamination in the catering sector was also not proven: shops and restaurants were reopened on June 8, and there was no increase in infections until early July. It only came at the beginning of the vacation and there were more social contacts after the social bubble increased. I have the feeling that the wrong measures are being taken. The government tells gastronomy that it can stay open, but for the rest of the population it says: “If you go to Antwerp you will die.” Persistent “My colleagues have had 80 to 90 percent cancellations since then,” he continues. “Some of our restaurants are still pretty good, but 50 to 60 percent were canceled there too. We are a large group and have undergone extensive restructuring, so we are firmly in our shoes. We can handle something and we will try to make our way through this wave. Hopefully the news gets through that it’s safe to eat with us. But we are persistent and persistent. “Since the curfew was introduced, Van der Borghts has opened the shop earlier:” The earlier closure is not so harmful for a restaurant. There is actually no food after 11 p.m. We opened a little earlier, from half past five, so we can make two more shifts. “Serge Frank, owner of several other companies in the south – Fugu Sushi, La Taqueria, Sumsum and Sumac – has decided to close his sushi shop for several weeks due to a lack of customers. Fugu is on a street in which it is located there is little else to do. His other things are in Marnixplaats, a place with fortunately some random passers-by. There are no more than 70 square meters. Van der Borght does not understand that everything is mixed: “I definitely don’t want my colleagues out of the cafes lose, but I still think that a distinction should be made regarding the capacity of the business. In a 70 square meter café, it can last until 7pm go well. Then, after ten pints, they’re still holding each other and suddenly the virus can’t do as much damage anymore. In our Matterhorn Süd case, it is also particularly difficult to control this situation, which is why we had to close for a week. If you have an area of ​​one hundred square meters, it plays a lot less and is certainly in a restaurant. The government had made a better distinction between hotels, restaurants and cafes and in terms of capacity. Barbecue and chocolates London’s Tommy Cavaliere is also proud that restaurants are safe and no company wants a corona fireplace. Two weeks ago he and his partner Thalissa Kraus opened a new gourmet restaurant on Het Eilandje: “The opening was originally planned shortly before the closure. We were actually lucky that we were late, so that we were only two weeks after the reopening. After the announcement of the new rules in Antwerp, he saw the table occupancy drop with 58 rejections in 48 hours: “We really had a good one Start laid down. After some press coverage, reservations came in. We even looked for an additional employee. Then everyone canceled. This is a heavy burden for a young company like ours. We launched a grill box and entered into an exclusive partnership with the Port House for a praline so that we could generate additional income somewhere. The neighborhood supports us, people order a box or buy a box of chocolates. But it is also difficult for colleagues: the neighbor of the usually fully booked steak house suddenly arrives at two place settings per evening. And it goes beyond just the city that closes business across the province because they have almost no customers. Creative solutions Flexibility and initiative, that’s what Antwerp’s gastronomy is all about today. “We also provided pre-corona catering for our two food trucks, since of course all the activities there have disappeared,” says Van Den Heuvel. “But on Tuesday, Mission Masala will start taking out again.” We only started doing it during the lock, after we reopened we stopped. We have now set up a Mission Masala sub-label to separate the delivery service from the restaurant. There are more curries on the menu – they stay warm for a long time, ideal to take away – in the restaurant we concentrate on the other dishes. “Some things are very different. For example, Ginkgo was founded in the party hall Salons Hof ten Damme in Kallo, a tailor-made gastronomic take-out service. The star restaurant The Glorious in the south of Antwerp opened a wine bistro on the ground floor. Van der Borght, as a former advertising specialist, made a few funny commercials to counter the daunting messages: “We have to stop all this negativity and look at the positive things, what is still possible and how it can be done.” For the Maven meat restaurant, the butcher Luc De Laet measures one and a half meters on the back of a cow. The Asian food concept Umami created its own version of an old Mazda advertisement in 1995, in which the fanatical quality control is accompanied by a repetitive “Okay”.