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When looking for authentic Belgian food, most visitors to Brussels stop by the Rue des Bouchers and leave it at that. But a little off the beaten track lies the wonderfully cozy ‘t Potverdoemmeke, a restaurant that’s all about high quality Belgian food in a traditional Brusseleir setting. Father and son duo Nas and Mathias are its passionate founders, and you can read all about their values, their hopes and their secrets to success in our interview below.
Is this the first restaurant you have started up? What gave you the idea for ‘t Potverdoemmeke?
First we started a little restaurant in a tennis club. We worked and managed the place for four years. After four years, we wanted to take our passion and creativity to the next level, so we decided to develop a new concept that would put Belgian products on the map. We are very proud about our local ingredients and wanted to promote and share it with everyone. The result is today’s restaurant, ‘t Potverdoemmeke, that serves Belgian dishes in a typical Brussels ambiance.
What advice would you give to someone trying to start up their own restaurant?
We think two dimensions are crucial to succeed in this industry. The first one might sound obvious, but you would be surprised how few restaurants are serving quality food made with fresh products and ingredients. Today’s market environment pushes restaurant owners to work with industrial ingredients (that are cheaper, which makes margins higher). However, 90 percent of the clientele explicitly expresses the quality of this and comes back as result. Putting your customer first is crucial. It pays back in the long term.
Secondly, the working hours are hard. You need to serve the same food quality day after day and be stable. The client can come every day in a year and has to be served with the same smile [and] quality the whole year long. Passion is the only thing that can guarantee this.
What are your hopes for the future?
Keeping our current customers happy, and give as many people possible an experience of the true quality of Belgian cuisine (also outside Belgium….).
What is your favorite restaurant in Brussels?
Easy shot: Restaurant ‘t Potverdoemmeke, of course.
If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, dead or alive, who would it be?
Probably not the answer you’d expect, but working in a family environment makes it difficult to have everyone around the same table at the same time. I would, therefore, choose my wife, my future baby, brother and parents, all together around one table. Family is the most important thing in life.
How would you describe the ‘t Potverdoemmeke in 80 characters?
We serve typical Belgian food, with fresh and local products. Our food is made with love and passion. Service is relaxed, precise and always with a smile. Our restaurant is passion before work.
Manneken Pis or the Atomium? Manneken Pis
Beer or wine? Beer
Traditional Belgian cuisine or adventurous fusion? Traditional Belgian cuisine
Fries or mashed potatoes? Both.
The food market on Place des Chasseurs Ardennais or on Place Sainte Catherine? Place des Chasseurs Ardennais. We love Schaerbeek.
Slow cooking or fast food? Slow cooking