Café ‘t Elfde Gebod in Kerkplein is full of trinkets, but above all exudes a homey vibe. “We want people to feel at home here,” say owners Evelyn Demerby and Philip Vannacker.
Ten Mandere’s café annex shows that the café building dates back to 1818, when it was still in the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, before the establishment of our small country of Belgium. Later, the café became known as Café De Peer, run by Willy Balcaen and Ivonne Malfait, among others. “Before we started the café here, it was empty for a while. Before that, there were a few operators in a short time,” says Evelyn Demiere. She comes from Antwerp and is married to Philip Vanaker of Izegem. She was a nurse for many years, but then she established herself as a self-employed person. Philip is a carpenter by training, but he also worked for a long time at Vandemoortele. “I also wanted to do something independently here, but I had something on my mind with dogs. But when we happened to pass here by chance we saw that the café was for rent. We came to have a look and decided to sink. We started cleaning in December 2005, and opened in March 2006.” Interiors for clients As a referee, Philip was also well known in sporting environments. “I often went to games with him at that time, so I also got to know people. But only men ”, laughs Evelyn. “By opening the café, I really got to know everyone here. In the beginning, there is a bit of research of course. Everyone comes here every once in a while, you have to look for your customers. But that worked very quickly. Also by adjusting the opening hours. We used to be We are open during the day, but soon we changed that to evening. We are still open daily from 5pm, Sundays also in the morning. Tuesday and Wednesday are our closing days.” We’ll keep doing that until I fall dead. And they can scatter gray on Kerkplein – Eveline Demierbe also chose a new name for the café. ‘t Elfde Gebod is a cooking café in the shadow of Antwerp’s Cathedral of Our Lady. This is where we got the name and actually also some mustard for our concept. It’s now full of saints and crosses, but also coffee grinders and other trinkets. We get most of it from customers. There were two statues in front of the door here, figuratively ready to enter. The will of ‘t Elfde in Izegem lies in the shadow of Sint-Tillokerk.” With Communion, there is a pleasant atmosphere here, and after the funeral it can be even more bleak. Recently we have had to bury a lot of youngsters here too…” “There is a lot to mention: from the triathlon club to the mini football teams, via card and folk games…” Philip (60) and Evelyn (61) are also the proud parents of Malta Kissimmee. “And of course we also have a Maltese club here. Our activities attract people from the Netherlands. “We have a family atmosphere in the café. People should feel at home here. We share joys and sorrows here and there is a lot of laughter.” The owner of the cafe, Philip, is often the head of the Jut. “He loves to play that of course. Acting is a perfect fit for him, he was still active at Hermes.” Police Hat on the Hook Tales can’t be counted on one hand, but Evelyn and Philip have already picked a few for us. At first, of course, Philip and Evelyn did not know all customers by name. “We had our own description of each person, for example the guy who always wore a red jacket. But there was also a ‘sausage’, it was that guy who worked in Westvlees who always told us how many meters of sausage he was running,” the police officer commented. Local Marnex Dujardin literally has his police hat on the hook here. By the way, it’s still hanging here. In return, we gave him a canary. He’d always wanted one, but his wife wouldn’t let him.” The late Etienne Roussel, who ran His chip shop on the Grote Markt, he was always accompanied by a German Shepherd.” Etienne let him go a little in front of the café, but the dog always found his way here quickly. The fact that he always got Zwansausje here must have a lot to do with that. The participants had to run in circles around the church. It was a car-free Sunday, but suddenly one of the young participants seemed to have disappeared. Panic everywhere. The police eventually found him in … Heilig Hartkerk. Paul at Grandpa’s Hour During the 2012 mayoral election, her own mayor was elected at the coffeehouse. “We had six candidates, voted in two polling booths here in the café. In the end, Karin Ferten was elected, and her B&B overnight award included ‘The Eleventh Commandment’, the Eleventh Commandment. She was allowed to sleep here all night. From Coincidentally, she’s also staying here for a while while her house is being renovated. As mayor, she’s already married several people during Popular Game Club parties.” “We once had to stop someone. He was about to pee at our grandfather’s watch, which he mistakenly thought was Urinal”. And once the city worker Ferdinand Dikembe van Elde Gibboud wanted to make a place of pilgrimage including a large cross. And to this day, a tombstone inscribed with “We will never forget you, because of your friends” reminds us of this. It is at the back of the balcony. ‘La Dolce Vita is one of the clubs that has been in T’ Elvede for a long time, the café is also called for short. And if the boss is in a good mood, he bakes chips for these guests. Sometimes.” It was already known that Evelyn and Philip would stop by the café. “It’s not true. Once it was rumored we were broke and fired. Gossip of course. Then we got it right at De Weekbode. We’ll be on for a long time. Until when? Until I die. And they can scatter gray here on Kerkplein,” winks Evelyn.
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