More and more restaurants are setting up in shopping centres

The Cloche d’Or shopping centre opened in 2019 with a food court on the second floor. This week, it was joined by other food courts in Luxembourg. Photo: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne (archives)

The Cloche d’Or shopping centre opened in 2019 with a food court on the second floor. This week, it was joined by other food courts in Luxembourg. Photo: Matic Zorman/Maison Moderne (archives)

This week, no fewer than three restaurant complexes have opened their doors in shopping centres in Luxembourg. We take a closer look at a trend that is sure to whet your appetite.

This is it! After three years in the making, the Belle Étoile food court project came to fruition on Thursday 31 August with the opening of G.A.N.G., a 2,000m2 food court designed by Stéphanie JauquetStéphanie Jauquet and Salvatore Barberio.

This is a new addition to the Bertrange shopping centre. With its separate entrance, round-the-clock service and the fact that it’s open seven days a week, the establishment should help to boost footfall in the shopping complex, which attracts six million visitors a year.

Urban opens at Copal

But it’s not the only shopping centre aiming to strengthen its gourmet offering. Monday 28 August saw the official opening of Urban in the Copal shopping centre in Mertert-Wasserbillig. Restaurant owner Gabriel BoisanteGabriel Boisante’s flagship restaurant is now available in a 700m2 XL version, with a varied menu ranging from revisited classics to Asian and South American flavours.

The new restaurant takes the place of a petrol station that used to operate in this shopping complex close to the border.

The owner of the premises--Carlo Hein from Becolux--seems to have mastered the recipe: Hein has already worked with Boisante, who opened La Familia in the Grevenmacher shopping complex in September 2022.

Six new restaurants at Knauf Schmiede

Further north, the Knauf shopping centre in Schmiede officially opened its first Food Village on Wednesday 30 August. On the menu are five food corners (Casa Nonna, Crazy Frites, Wok & Soul, Green Hill and Sweet Oceans) centred around the Grand Café by La Varenne and a dedicated children’s zone. An à la carte restaurant--LTG, or “Licence to grill”--completes the offer from the La Varenne Group. The entire complex has been in pre-opening mode for a few days now.

Strategically, we need to move towards the food court model.

Sam Pintomanaging directorGroupe La Varenne

“That’s 1,000 seats, not including the terrace,” explains Sam Pinto, managing director of Groupe La Varenne, which also operates the Knauf centre in Pommerloch. “We are going to renovate our facilities in Pommerloch to create our second Food Village after the one in Schmiede,” he announces in the same breath.

The opening is scheduled for the third quarter of 2024. “We believe that, strategically, we need to develop the food court model. It’s a trendy concept that brings everyone together around the table,” he said.

See you next year at Belval Plaza

Eating--on the go or not--and having a drink in a shopping centre is not a new concept. But the concentration of different establishments in a given area of the complex to create a veritable agora for eating and drinking has been a trend for several years now in the world’s major shopping centres.

In Luxembourg, the Cloche d’Or set the tone in 2019 with a similar space. Located on the second floor of the shopping complex, its food court is unique in that it does not have separate access, and its opening hours follow those of the centre.

At Belval Plaza, a 2,500m2 food hall is being prepared on the second floor of the shopping complex adjoining Belval-Université station. According to the owner of the premises, Firce Capital invested between €12m and €15m in this project, which was unveiled in January 2022.

Shopping centre manager Thierry Debourse says that the site is due to open in the second quarter of next year.

Finally, in 2018, the City Concorde shopping centre was transformed into a “Lifestyle Centre,” a place that focuses on both shopping and dining. The gourmet offer includes the Skybar restaurant, whose opening hours are independent from those of the complex.

This article was first published in French on Paperjam. It has been translated and edited for Delano.