It all started with an inspiring visit to New York City, where you can go out for breakfast, lunch and dinner any time of day. Floor van Ede and Wilmar te Winkel opened Brasserie van Baerle as a breakfast and lunch spot in 1980. It was a new phenomenon in the Netherlands, and an immediate success. Word spread quickly and diners flocked to Van Baerlestraat 158. The key word for the new restaurant was light, both literally and figuratively: the idea was to create a well-lit space offering light fare and a light-hearted atmosphere with the liveliness of a New York hotspot and the allure of a Parisian brasserie. In the meantime, Brasserie van Baerle – or “the Brasserie” as the regulars call it – quickly became a fixture of Amsterdam.
Bolstered by the success of Brasserie van Baerle, the owners opened Zabar’s, a casual restaurant with a Mediterranean flair, across the street in 1991. Next came Le Zinc et les Dames in 1995, specialising in French regional cuisine. A fourth enterprise opened its doors in 1998: !Zest, a fusion restaurant in the canal district. Le Zinc et les Dames and !Zest were later sold, and Zabar’s was transformed into L’Entrecôte et les Dames in 2006. In 2014 the partners from the early years decided that it was time to split up in order to refine their restaurants. Nowadays Floor van Ede is the owner and managing director of Brasserie van Baerle.