It’s the invasion of the Francophones. No sooner had Laurent Vrignaud announced he was adding a San Clemente location of his French bistro Moulin— than another pair of Euro restaurateurs are spreading the word that a second Brussels Bistro will land there too in mid-February. It will officially open on Feb 11th for lunch and dinner.
Co-owners/founders Nicolas Servais and Thomas Crijns will bring their Belgian comfort cuisine — moules frites, beef bourguignon and other classics — beer and wine to a 3,000-square-foot space with a patio on Avenida del Mar, the former Selma’s Chicago Pizzeria.
“There was a plan for it for a couple of years now and we decided to open in San Clemente because we like the location and vibe of the city,” said Servais. “It’s not as close to the beach as Laguna but we want to keep the European vibe and have people walking in off the street.”
The look of the restaurant will respect the town’s Spanish Village by the Sea theme but will also bring in Belgian influences. The $500,000 renovation includes the new look by Belgium native Delphine Mauroit’s New York firm DMDesign, LLC, built out by local firm Timberline Construction. “We wanted to make it as Belgian as possible but we still want to comply with the Spanish colonial revival style in San Clemente.”
At 87 seats it will still have an intimate feel; it’s designed for socializing. “It’s for everybody,” says Servais. “It’s for young people to have a beer with their friends and for older people who have traveled and want something different. The average check is $35 for dinner, maybe less, and lunch around $20.”
In San Clemente there will also be a Belgian waffle brunch on Sundays.
“I think people are more experience driven and that’s what we want to give them,” said Servais. “We want them to feel like they were in Europe with the ambiance. We speak French and the music is in French and we provide real authentic cuisine and pour beer as we do in Belgium. We want to share our culture with our guests.”
Find it: 218 Avenida del Mar, San Clemente, 949-218-8489, brusselsbistro.com.
Open: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
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Article by By ANNE VALDESPINO of OC Register