New platform for family food business at train station

Le Quai Steffen is the new restaurant at Luxembourg's central train station Nader Ghavami

Le Quai Steffen is the new restaurant at Luxembourg's central train station Nader Ghavami

The train station has a trendy new haunt for night owls and early risers alike after catering firm Steffen inaugurated its restaurant, Le Quai Steffen, on Wednesday.

Open from 6:30am to 11pm, the reworked station building, with its natural light-filled hall, high ceilings, and plush banquettes, is a far cry from the humble roots of the Steffen butchery and meat curing business founded in Steinfort back in 1989.

But the family has come a long way since then, developing their own products, opening other shops, a catering service and Gault & Millau-rated La Table de Frank. Le Quai Steffen retains its attention to detail, sourcing quality meats locally and from the greater region, and bringing its 30 years of know-how to play, serving customers in an area of the city which, since the closure of the Hotel Alfa, lacked a certain spark.

Since Frank was joined by son Tom in 2009, the two have developed new lines and products and a working relationship the son describes as “beautiful”. “Because can be honest with each other.” He also expects his youngest sister, Lisa, to join the business in the near future.

Groupe Steffen landed the ten-year lease for the station restaurant, which hosted a simple buffet and sandwich shop for some 40 years until its closure in the summer of 2017.

“We approached this contract here in the heart of Luxembourg city, and it immediately appealed to us. It was very compelling to our DNA because it’s something which is all about the customer. It’s not about trying to overcomplicate or overthink things,” Tom, 33, told Delano.

The fast food outlet of Le Quai Steffen, which opened at the train station in Luxembourg City earlier in 2019. Photo: Mike Zenari

Working with his father, he said, was a natural transition. Tom grew up working in the butcher’s shop during his free time. He quickly acquired his father’s passion for the food and went on to study at the Institut Paul Bocuse school, an elite culinary school in Lyon. But, he said that it was mostly the contact with the customers that drew him to pursue a career in the catering world.

“Now I’m very passionate about food, and about the whole customer experience and I’m really passionate about the people,” he said, explaining some 200 people work for the group’s companies. “I’m passionate about all of them. At our size we can only be as good as our colleagues. We really try to create and foster good working relationships, put everything in place for a good work-life balance so they feel good at work.”

Understandably, given the firm’s origins, the menu places an emphasis on meat dishes, but they also offer fish and some vegetarian salads. There will be a weekly menu offering a choice of pork, beef, poultry and fish. Meanwhile, a relatively sizeable choice of wines by the glass (as well as the bottle) and cocktails show the direction the restaurant takes come nightfall. Early commuters or those just finishing a night shift can also take advantage of a daily breakfast menu, available from 6:30am, seven days a week.