Belgian Cuisine Joins Sarasota Food Scene

Christian Zebier started as a waiter and built three successful hospitality businesses in his native Belgium before setting his eyes toward expanding his entrepreneurial reach to the U.S. And in January, his vision became a reality.

Brasserie Belge is now open on the ground floor of Courthouse Centre at 1990 Main Street in Sarasota. According to manager Mirco Chiodi, it is Zebier's desire to bring the familiar foods of Belgium to an audience already open to international flavor.

"The company has a vision to introduce a brasserie concept in the U.S.," explains Chiodi. "The word 'brasserie' is 'brewery,' a casual restaurant that serves drinks and simple, typically inexpensive food. Our concept has a social meaning, as well. A brasserie is where you meet friends, sometimes for a full meal but sometimes just for a drink, dessert or a lite bite."

Under the direction of Chef Karl Deneubourg, Brasserie Belge's menu features such Belgian favorites as cassolette de moules (a dish of mussels steamed with celery, onion and butter served in an enamel pot), Belgian sausage, meatballs Liège, crêpes, Belgian chocolate lava cake and tiramisu speculoos, among other specialties. Many of the dishes are served with Belgian fries, a favorite among Belgian diners.

Chiodi says Zebier chose Sarasota for his first foray into U.S. expansion because he wanted to bring some originality to an already diverse but sophisticated community. "The first visit to Florida was to Miami, but he decided against Miami as soon as he was introduced to Sarasota through a friend that moved here a few years ago," says Chiodi.

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Mirco Chiodi, Brasserie Belge

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