Proud history of Brasserie Pakhuis
The origins go back to Thursday, 10 October 1991, the day that the founders chose to inaugurate Brasserie Pakhuis and gave a new lease of life to a beautiful building in the centre of Ghent.
The story of the building is essentially intertwined with the Dutry-Colson family who ran ‘De Grote Paternoster’ in the Veldstraat. The shop originally sold hardware, but veered to household items and heating systems over the years. When both the shop and the Veldstraat were given a facelift in 1880, the family bought the production facility in the back as storage space. The building itself remained in the family’s possession until 1987.
When the building was given a new lease on life as a brasserie [a large café serving light meals] a few years later, it was clear from the outset that the founders wanted to pay homage to the building’s proud industrial past. Brasserie Pakhuis is thus teeming with references from its inauguration in 1991 to the present day. For instance, did you know that:
- The name ‘Pakhuis’ [warehouse] refers to the function of the building in the interbellum? The Dutry-Colson launched EMBALCO (‘Emballage Coloniale’) at the time, specialising in the packaging and shipping of large, cumbersome cargoes to the former Congo – down to a small aeroplane!
- The current wine cellar of Brasserie Pakhuis served as a shelter during World War II? The entrance door is still the original, gastight door.
- The current terrace goes back to the EMBALCO period?
Since the relaunch, Brasserie Pakhuis has been working intensively on its own piece of history. After 25 years, we can look back at the indispensable highlights. Whereas the early years were devoted to establishing a new eatery in Ghent, the advent of the current managers in 1998 heralded the start of a real leap forward.
It began with the charting of a new mission which is still topical: serve quality, tasty dishes in a cosy, friendly and comfortable setting. That quality guarantee is essential, and determines a lot of the choices which followed. For instance, we work only with suppliers we can trust and, as much as possible, with local, organic and fresh products. This is reflected in the minutest details, such as the choice of ecological cleaning products. It has also underpinned all sorts of proprietary products we have developed through the years, such as Bresse chicken, oysters and Principale beer.
We would certainly like to mention the following milestones:
- 1991: Launch of Brasserie Pakhuis
- 1991: Brasserie Pakhuis becomes a partner of the Ghent Film Festival, and has remained so down to the present day
- 1998: Acquisition by the current managers
- 1998: VRT [Flemish Broadcasting Corporation] New Year’s Eve show recorded as ‘13th Labour of Rob Vanoudenhoven’
- 1999: Start of the ‘Flikken’ [Cops] TV series, with Pakhuis as one of the fixed locations
- 2003: Brasserie Pakhuis becomes a partner of the Ghent Jazz Festival
- 2004: Arrival of Chef Koen Lefever
- 2005: Renovation works in the kitchen with the introduction of the latest cooking methods
- 2006: Brasserie Pakhuis included in Michelin’s Bib Gourmand, a fixed value down to the present day
- 2007: Layout of the terrace
- 2007: Lou Reed lives in Ghent for three weeks and takes his meals at Brasserie Pakhuis, where he chose the same table every time
- 2008: First oyster market
- 2009: Mayor Termont launches own beer Principale, brewed by Van Steenberge in Ertvelde
- 2009: Acquisition of Le Devant Farm in France and start of breeding own Bresse chicken
- 2010: First participation in Les Glorieuses De Bresse – our chickens invariably among the prize winners ever since!
- 2016: Renovation works in the kitchen and terrace
- 2016: Launch of Pleasures label
Looking back is jolly; looking forward is jollier. We would like to give a glimpse of what the future holds in store. Later this year, we will be launching a new logo, and will be bringing all our brands and locations under one collective quality seal: Pleasures.
We actually want to cluster everything in future. For instance, too few are aware that we are the proud owner of Brasserie Dock's in Antwerp and La Quincaillerie in Brussels, Le Devant Farm and the ‘Château Laudonie’ guesthouse in France, and see to many products ourselves (Principale beer, Kara Savi & Verte des Bardières oysters, Poulet de Bresse (AOP), pork, lamb, and guinea fowl, etc.). We are particularly proud of what we have launched over the years and will continue to capitalise on those achievements even more in the future.
This is our way of preparing for the next quarter century. So those keen on delicious and quality dining, should keep an eye out for Pleasures!