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Angry chef turns away Brussels mayor from restaurant

Apr 19, 2016

Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur on Friday was shown the door when he tried to enter the restaurant Cécila, near the Grand Place. Chef Mélanie Englebin is furious because she believes the introduction of the pedestrian zone last summer is directly responsible for the restaurant's dramatic drop in turnover. "I'm almost bankrupt," she told Brusselnieuws.

Englebin (pictured) therefore turned away the mayor on Friday afternoon when he tried to have lunch at Cécila with alderwoman for transport Els Ampe.

"I asked him nicely to leave the restaurant, and also explained to him that the pedestrian zone prevents people from reaching the city centre and creates an unsafe feeling there at night. The result is my turnover has decreased by 40%."

Mayeur "regrets" the incident, according to the news website.

Mikek1300gt Apr 19, 2016 17:08

Time for the mayor to take the restaurant to court! You see, if there is no law permitting a restaurant to refuse custom from the mayor, it's not legal! Everything in Belgium is illegal unless it's expressly permitted.

JodiSte Apr 20, 2016 08:20

Good for her. Its good to give the decision makers an idea what they are deciding about and what impact this has. The pedestrian area is a joke anyway. Why don't they discuss these things with the people involved?

FV Apr 20, 2016 09:25

The pedestrian zone is an ego based political decision.
Using these outrageaous sums of tax money for such an initiative is like starting decorating a building why it still needs to be build.
What we need is a safe Brussels, where we work on integration and mixity.
Keeping the young out of the streets. Having safe metro's/public transportation.
Politicians obsess about car free zone but never take the metro. They should send their daughters wearing a regular skirt and small heels after 7 pm and then they can talk.
For me working in the very center of Brussels, taking the car (because no appropriate infrastructure is foreseen) still takes as much time then taking public transport (having to wait 10 to 20 min for connections in peek times is just not of this world for a capital.
First make the basic wrights than do the decoration. Maybe it looks nicer on your CV to plant some flowers. But first listen to the involved people and see what will help them and not your CV.
Many nice streets in Brussels look like dumbs, refresh them, dynamise them, ATTRACT people to Brussels instead of pushing them away..... Make it easy and affordable to park your car on the outscurts of the city with safe public connections that run every 2 min and then maybe one day a reasonable pedestrian zone could come alive. When will we have politicians that have a vision , that love their city and not just themselves.

R.Harris Apr 20, 2016 10:08

1) First of all, the reason the horeca establishments around the Grand' Place are hurting is because the Lockdown and the march attack combined with the Belgium bashing in world press has scared the tourists away. It has absolutely nothing to do with the pedestrian zone.
2) Secondly criticizing the look of the pedestrian zone when the construction of the new amenities is just starting is disingenuous to say the least. It's not about just putting out baskets of flowers.
3) "keep young people out of the streets"???
4) Who waits 10 to 20 minutes at peak time? No one.
5) And as for "everything in Belgium is illegal unless it's expressly permitted", Where did you get that nugget of knowledge???
6) Obviously you don't spend any time in the Pedestrian zone or you would know how popular and pleasant it is even in its unbuilt state. I'm there every day.

salsadancer Apr 20, 2016 10:35

Stop all the "initiatives" -- concentrate on cleaning up the city, planting flowers and keeping them looking nice and not full of cigarette butts and dead flowers, walking policemen who are not afraid of telling people to stop riding bicycles straight through the pedestrian zone when they have their own cycle path, stop people from drinking alcohol on the metros and buses, every single tram stop is covered in graffiti or razor bladed windows, pick up the trash, the trash cans are overflowing all over the city, use more CCTV, and impose the laws rather than ignore them. I love Brussels but it refuses to take care of itself and everyone just shrugs their shoulders. This airport disaster should be a wake up call for the citizens and politicians to do better. There needs to be accountability and responsibility which is poorly lacking. I think the pedestrian zone looks like a poor man's vision and ugly.

Mikek1300gt Apr 20, 2016 10:54

""5) And as for "everything in Belgium is illegal unless it's expressly permitted", Where did you get that nugget of knowledge???""

A top law firm when I wanted to ban a certain group of people from my business premises.

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