Iconic Brussels café Monk reopens as Billie
The iconic Monk café in Brussels has reopened as Billie after undergoing renovations. Management say the café will maintain the traditions that made it famous, in particular its famous spaghetti.
Monk closed last year due to a disagreement with the property owner, Horeca Logistic Services (HLS). Steven De Visscher, Leentje Bruyninckx and Dries Heyman, the new managers, have now relaunched the café as Billie.
Despite the name change, the "Monk spirit" will remain, Heyman said. The same concept will continue, with a menu focused on homemade pasta and local ties.
Extensive renovations have been made to the building and local microbrewery Belgoo has created a Brussels IPA especially for the reopening.
For Heyman, opening this new chapter has been the "best experience" of the last few months. Bruyninckx, who is experienced in running Brussels cafés, will nurture the new team "like a mother hen", she said. She is passionate about preserving the authentic character of Brussels and regrets the proliferation of chains in recent years.
De Visscher, former manager of Monk, brings experience to the table. "As a son of hoteliers and former Monk manager, I'm reconnecting with my roots and I'm aware of the areas that need to be improved, whether behind the scenes or at the bar."
Monk café on Rue Sainte-Catherine in Brussels in 2023 © BELGA PHOTO NICOLAS MAETERLINCK