One of the most famous potato chip shops in Brussels, which counts German Chancellor Angela Merkel among its customers, is to be torn down and rebuilt, officials said.
The Maison Antoine was founded in 1948 in Place Jourdan, a square near the European quarter of the Belgian capital, and has since won a global reputation.
But the current iconic hexagonal “friterie” with its model of a paper cone full of fries, built 33 years ago, is now being demolished because it breaches modern health and safety rules.
“The building doesn’t meet current standards. Since we were going to to renovate the square, it seemed to be time to time to renovate the friterie,” said Vincent De Wolf, the mayor of Etterbeek district.
“Obviously, it’s a bit of a historic occasion.”
Pictures of the shop closing had sparked alarm on social media in Belgium that one of its most revered culinary institutions could be closing.
The new premises are set to reopen in August, and in the meantime the famed frites are being served from a van.
Merkel was pictured going for fries and posing with staff at Maison Antoine in February 2016 after getting hungry when a EU summit focused on Brexit ran late.
She had her order with Andalusian sauce, a spicy mayonnaise with pepper and tomato that is just one of dozens of sauces available in addition to traditional Belgian mayonnaise.
The friterie is also a favourite of French rocker Johnny Hallyday, dubbed France’s answer to Elvis, who turns up his sports car for his dose.
Maison Antoine has been run by the same family for three generations and is currently in the hands of two brothers, Thierry and Pascal Willaert. – AFP