Herman Hell opens high-profile restaurant concept on Rotterdam’s Coolsingel in February
Hospitality entrepreneur Herman Hell, known from Zalmhuis, Sijf and NRC, among others, will open a “high-profile” hospitality concept on Rotterdam’s Coolsingel in February. It involves a luxury nightclub (The Grit) opening in early February and a restaurant with star chef Marco Prins at the helm, which will open in mid-February. We spoke with the successful Rotterdam native about his plans. “Twenty years ago I started in this place, now I’m back,” he said.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE GRIT?
“The Grit will be a wonderful club in Rotterdam, it will even be the new Rotterdam. It will be a place where you do not go into the night through strobes and glow in the dark, but where you can really be seen. We have room for about 500 people, with an age limit of 23+. In fact, for the older crowd, we saw that there was a lot of need for a club like this. A large part of the target group now drives to Amsterdam to go out. With The Grit we try to offer the ‘older Rotterdammer’ a nice alternative.”
AND WHAT ARE THE PLANS FOR THE RESTAURANT?
“Two weeks after the opening of The Grit, a restaurant will open in the same building with the working title for now being The Next Best Thing. Marco Prins, who previously ran the New York restaurant Ukiyo and worked in Dutch starred restaurants, will be our chef. More about the restaurant will be announced soon.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NEW ROTTERDAM LOOKS LIKE?
“As far as we are concerned, the new Rotterdam is a place where life can be celebrated and where you can be proud of who you are. That’s why the club’s slogan is: ‘express yourself’. We want to get rid of the image: rough husk and rolled up sleeves.”
WHY IS THE GRIT GOING TO BE SO HIGH-PROFILE?
“It is a business that is really different from other clubs in Rotterdam. With this concept we say goodbye to the dark whole that clubs often have. In appearance, the place is also a lot more luxurious. For example, the dance floor consists of a large LED screen. We imported this screen from China. In all of Western Europe, this does not yet exist.”
“In the main, the music is based on disco with a beat and vocal. On Friday and Saturday there is a mix of Detroit house and 70’s, on Friday r&b and afro are added.”
WHAT WAS YOUR ROLE IN THE REALIZATION OF THE CONCEPT AND WHO ELSE WAS INVOLVED?
“The Grit” means willpower, persistence and internal motivation. I myself started, some twenty years ago, at this location. I even worked in the basement. Now I am back where it all once began. I have been part of the design, styling and construction team, among others. Also, we have a very good club manager: Ali Can Sert, he is a very well-known guy in the club scene. He has a rich history of throwing parties in Rotterdam for the audience we also open to. Now he has joined a hospitality group for the first time, we are really very proud of that! Dominique Nossent is our creative director, she really put her signature on the design. Together with them and many others we worked out the whole concept.”
IS THIS A GOOD TIME TO OPEN A BUSINESS?
“I just think this is a good time to open a business. There is so much hassle and stress in the world that at this time it is nice to get out and immerse yourself in relaxation. We have enough people to open, but people looking for a job are always welcome. And about the high costs: it’s the way it is, there’s not much you can do about that. We just have to deal with that wisely.”
Bij twijfel, gewoon vragen!