By OWEN MORRIS
and Genessee in the space once, a long time ago, occupied by the Nutty Girl. The
Duchess in this case is Vivianne Berghman, a native of Belgium who
moved to the States eleven years ago and brought some of her home
cooking with her.
"In Belgium we call it a traiteur, it means to treat
people," Berghman says of her concept. "It started out with butchers in Belgium who would cut up meat
and they started to make stews in the store.
They have the meat right there, and on and on it went to now they have
full meals. Women started working more in the '70s and it allowed
people to still eat well... Do you know Dean & Deluca? This will be a small-scale Dean & Deluca."
Berghman says The Duchess of Flanders will focus on carryout business with sandwiches and two soups at lunch every day and one different home-cooked meal every night.
"I want to keep the entrees the same each weeknight for a month so on
Wednesdays for next month, I will be making meatloaf and people will
know that hey, it's Wednesday and they can get meatloaf here."
has never cooked professionally but has lots of experience cooking
for groups. For the past six years, she's made a weekly meal for the
workers of Boulevard Brewery, where her husband Steven Pauwels, is the
brewmaster. "The people at Boulevard told me, 'Viv, you're chasing the American dream.' But I don't think I am. I'm not trying to get rich. All I want to do is break even, maybe make a little money, and have fun."
As for the name, Berghman handed me a flyer explaining that there never
was a real-life Duchess of Flanders but that Flanders was once apart of
the "Duchy of Burgundy, a land renowned for its famous wines and
of Flanders is open Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. On
Saturdays it is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. with a slightly different
menu. "It's only baked goods on Saturday. I love baking and I've done
it all my life. So baked goods and maybe a soup as well if we have some
left over from the day before and Saturdays my kids will be here working
It's worth a visit just to see the space, which is my version of a dream kitchen. There's so much natural light that Berghman says they need very little artificial light. The colors and the layout is comforting, and the lone table in the front of the store makes it seem like you stepped into someone's kitchen -- in a good way. When I told Berghman that I felt like sticking around, she smiled. "So many people say that. We wanted to make it comfortable. Like our food, it's comfort food and this store it matches that."
Find The Duchess of Flanders at 1621 West 39th St., 816-931-0930.