68, historical year
In 1968 our father and grandfather Albert Niels (1917-1978) took over le Café de la Justice. He also purchased the building.
It is a place lost between the top and the bottom of the city of Brussels, inhabited and appreciated by many artists. Back then it was an insignificant square situated between up and downtown Brussels and a dwelling place for numerous artists. Hergé had his studio on the square. René Magritte and Paul Delvaux were frequent visitors. The artists of the movement COBRA held their meetings at 30 rue de la Paille.
Albert Niels undertakes renovation work in collaboration with the Belgian designer Christophe Gevers. The decoration, revolutionary at the time, favored noble materials such as solid oak, brass, copper, leather and blue stone. Lots of works of various artists hanged on the walls in the restaurant.
The story continues...
In november 1968 the restaurant opens its doors. From the first moment on, it proved successful, and its turnover grew steadily.
Albert Niels was a great art collector, and in 1965 during an auction he found a sculpture of Saint Martin dating from XVI century, and he decided to name his restaurant after this Patron Saint of the poor. He decides to give back the original name of the place to his restaurant and to make it his emblem.
In 1988, Albert Niels’ two sons, Albert-Jean and Philippe, undertook major modernization work.
Since 2011, this true Brussels institution is managed by Albert-Jean Niels and his son Frédéric.
Joseph Niels invents the recipe for the “Filet Américain”,
Opening of the Canterbury hotel-restaurant at 129 Boulevard Emile Jacqmain
Independent pavilion at the Brussels World Fair
Opening of Nielsvins
Opening of the restaurant of the Claridge Hotel in
Buenos Aires Argentina
Opening of the restaurant “Au Vieux Saint Martin” on the Grand Sablon in Brussels