The building from which Reuben’s Franschhoek has been operating for 12 years will become the new home of a Woolworths Food store (in a village already blessed with two Pick ‘n Pays). It has already led to the closure of the popular fruit and vegetable shop Crisp. Reuben’s Franschhoek opened in 2004, three months before we opened our former Whale Cottage Franschhoek, around the corner and two blocks up. The building housing the restaurant has an excellent location on the main road, with lots of parking behind it, and was diagonally across the road from Le Quartier Français, much to the irritation of its former owner Susan Huxter, especially when Reuben’s was crowned as top Eat Out restaurant just six months after opening, and performing strongly on the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant list for another two years thereafter. The building was bought by Marc Kent and Tim Rands of Boekenhoutskloof, and they became partners in Reuben’s, inviting Chef Reuben Riffel to return from the UK and to open his own restaurant with naming rights.
When Chef Reuben was enticed to open Reuben’s at the Only&Only Cape Town, he must have received an incentive from Sol Kerzner, with which he could buy out his two partners, and became a tenant in the current Franschhoek building.
A few months ago I heard that Chef Reuben had decided to not renew his lease (or could it have been the other way around?), so I contacted him to confirm this. He did, and told me that he would let me know when the acquisition of a new building has been confirmed. I have not heard from him since then, but the village was rife with the news that Chef Reuben had bought a building just off the main road. It is close to the Franschhoek Boutique Hotel and Allora restaurant, and faces the side of the square in which Essence coffee shop is based. It looks very spacious from outside. The building currently is used as a residential building, just off the main road, at 2 Daniel Hugo Road. It will seat 65 patrons inside and 40 outside.
Feedback provided by Chef Reuben today is that he and his Reuben’s Franschhoek staff will open a pop-up restaurant at the other Riffel-owned Franschhoek restaurant Racine, at Chamonix on Uitkyk Street, while the Racine staff take leave in June and July.
I asked Chef Reuben if any restaurant openings are planned for the rest of the year, and he replied that he is involved in the new Franschhoek Brewing Company, opening next door to Maison later this year. It will have a restaurant but it will not be Reuben’s-branded.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here Instagram @chris_ulmenstein