It’s no secret I’m a fan (read here) and for years have always made a point to pop in over the weekend and grab something from the store. The perfect lazy afternoon in Stellenbosch can be catered with delights and treats you find within these four walls. Whether you’re tearing pieces of their freshly made bread into mouth size chunks and schmearing it with one of their soft artisan cheeses or pâtés; sipping on one of their locally sourced wines while you wait for dinner meat to braise slowly in the kitchen cooks into a tender delicacy; or even just a walk under the ancient oak trees sipping on their home-made lemonade and eating ice-cream and talking kak aimlessly wondering around the town.
So, I was rather saddened to learn that after serving simple, fresh food to locals and tourists alike for the past seven years, Fritz and Chanelle Schoon are taking a break from their landmark restaurant to plan an innovative space where they can nurture their creativity and produce quality food. With so many new places that are opening up all around them, it’s hard not to understand leaving on a high and finding something else to do that channels that creativity and also the opportunity to reinvent and rediscover what brought them to SCHOON in the first place. Also, they want to focus on the new addition to their family, Heidi-Luna. For those of you not in the know, SCHOON is a temple of gourmet delights situated on the corner of Bird and Church Street and was founded in 2010 when Fritz opened Oude Bank Bakkerij, an artisanal bakery on the same premises. This expanded to include an artisanal ice cream shop, a wine boutique and coffee roastery. It was renamed as SCHOON and the eatery brought a vibrant atmosphere to the bottom of Church Street and certainly was one of the first to create an awareness of artisan products in the area. Although Fritz and Chanelle started this journey with no experience in the hospitality industry, SCHOON soon became a firm favourite amongst Stellenbosch locals and visitors.
“With the restaurant, we aimed to transport our customers for a short time in their day. We wanted to create a space where they could connect with their loved ones and celebrate life or just find peace through the busyness of life. We wanted to invest in their health and wellbeing,” says Fritz. Once they realised their business model does not optimally achieve this anymore, they decided it is time for a change.
The building is now changing hands and becoming an exciting part of the Boschendal wine and food stable. The transition will take place over a period of five months. From 1 March, the Boschendal team will take over the management of SCHOON. By the end of July, there will be an official close and a rebrand.
Though SCHOON will continue to create delicious food from real ingredients, for me it won’t feel or be the same anymore having gotten to know Fritz and the family over the past four years I’ve called Cape Town home. I’m not going to write SCHOON off just yet, but certainly won’t be so forgiving of the occasional off-days that staff, produce and experience allows now that a corporation owns it.