Two restaurants in the center of Antwerp have been closed by the mayor. For restaurant COCO, a luxury restaurant with millionaires, professional football players and influencers as regular customers, there is also a seal by the KALI team of the police. “It is a great pity that our name is portrayed in a bad light,” the restaurant responds.
Joris van der Aa, Sam Reyntjens
Restaurant COCO is a new business that describes itself as a ‘festive restaurant’ where people are treated to DJs, dancers and other acts during dinner. Champagne can be ordered per twenty bottles and the menu is brimming with luxury products. In recent months, the trendy restaurant has been very popular with Dutch people who could not go to the catering industry in their own country. Influencers and famous people such as football players Noa Lang and Lior Refaelov and the eccentric millionaire Salar Azimi from The Sky is the Limit also visited.
The decadent party nights are now temporarily coming to an end. Friday evening restaurant Coco was told that Mayor Bart De Wever (N-VA) has confirmed an administrative closure of two weeks. There is also a seal by the KALI team. During an investigation by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, irregularities in business operations were identified. Investigators from the KALI team’s Direct and Indirect Financial Approach (DIFA) seized pieces of accounting records on Friday for further investigation.
The legal seal is for an indefinite period, the legal closure for two weeks. This is the second time that the case has been closed administratively. At the end of December, COCO had to keep its doors closed for a week after various warnings about noise pollution and procedures regarding the corona measures. After the reopening, the police stated several times that the business was still open after the mandatory closing time and a dozen tables were still occupied and that the values on the CO2 meter were exceeded. The social inspectorate, the FASFC and the FPS Economy were also involved in an in-depth action on 21 January.
No videos have appeared on social media from CO and customers showing the dancers not behaving their mouths (correctly). In addition, in January the police were also announcing a brawl with a dozen people. For mayor Bart De Wever, enough was enough. “If, after an attack, three are repeatedly used at different checks, then one is actually at his cabinet”.
In the same decree of the mayor, the temporary closure of restaurant Salameh on Sint-Katelijnevest is also ordered, also for two weeks. That restaurant has also made repeated use of salts against the corona measures. Belly dancers danced around without a mouth mask, there were too many people sitting at the table together and the CO2 values were too high. The restaurant must draw up an action plan to improve air quality.
“Research will rule out our purchase”
Both restaurants have a bond on paper, but during COCO’s first shutdown, the restaurant’s social media channels were made for Salamah, not a “festive restaurant” either. The text with both restaurants comparing themselves on Instagram before the closure is also exact.
CO’s business manager, Ladislas LeysCO, took to social media on Saturday to announce the closure of his restaurant. “We were asked to temporarily close on Friday. In an ongoing investigation where we received further details about an unfortunate coincidence, our name was mentioned,” says Leys. “I am very sorry that the name COCO has been cast in a bad light. We give the police space and have confidence in the investigation that will rule us out.”