July 21, 2024

Taylor Daily Press

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The last Greek café in Molenbeek is closing its doors

The last Greek café in Molenbeek is closing its doors

Greeks were also visible in Molenbeek: “The mayor of Molenbeek at the time described it as a ‘Greek invasion,’” laughs Pavlos. According to estimates, there were about a dozen Greek cafés in Molenbeek at its peak. “On the other side of here there was another Greek tavern, at the bottom of the square, and there were two on Picardstraat,” Pavlos says. “Greeks work hard, and as soon as they have a little money, they invest that money.”

Why did La Rose Blanche survive and other Greek catering establishments did not? “You really have to love your job,” Pavlos believes. He has worked hard his entire life, including fifty years in the café. But he was happy to do it! All this time, in addition to being a director, he was also a regular guest. The café was a place for people to meet. Going out or practicing hobbies was no longer necessary: ​​there was always something to do in a café.

The Corona crisis and the changing Molenbeek

It turns out that the biggest challenge is the Corona crisis period. “It meant the bankruptcy of many catering establishments,” says Pavlos. La Rose Blanche also had a hard time and was only able to survive because Pavlos and his parents had already paid for the property.

The brothers agree that the catering sector is still a difficult sector. That’s why his cousin — who was mentioned as a potential acquirer in 2019 — has pulled out. He doesn’t dare do business in the restaurant industry.

In addition to the Corona crisis, there is a second reason at play: Molenbeek’s population has changed. Greek immigrants died or moved from Molenbeek. This also applies to Italians and other immigrant groups. Since the 1970s, more and more Moroccan immigrants have found their way to Molenbeek.

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