Article about Lounge Restaurant Friends in Felderhof Magazine
Sometimes you meet them, people that shine with fire and passion in their eyes …
By Rik Felderhof | Felderhof Magazine
Tired of strolling along the promenade of Playa de Aro on the Costa Brava, I sat down in one of the inviting chairs of what turned out to be the best restaurant by the sea. ‘Friends’ was written with colorful letters on the facade. Before I knew it she was standing next to me. “Hi, I’m Claudia, How can I help you ..”. I looked in a pair of sparkling eyes, who dwelt in a candid face. So, that was something different then; “My colleagues will be with you”, and before I knew it, Claudia came with a cool draft beer. It was after five after all.
When I asked her how she ended up here as a Dutch, she crouched next to my table and began to rattle … “I was a hairdresser in The Hague when I met Edwin and I fell head over heels in love! He was a civil servant and it clicked right away … now he is tending the bar “and she pointed in that direction. “We both dreamed of a restaurant. We went to Greece, but there were so many administrative snags, that wasn’t going to happen.”
I had often been on vacation here, so we decided to try Spain. We arrived here after a long search at the Costa Brava right. At first I said no, I didn’t like it here at all. Edwin’s response was “Don’t be so negative,” let’s at least take a look at around. So we did, we went to a broker who pulled a crumpled piece of paper out of a box and said; “Maybe this is something for you.” It had to be on the boulevard for us, and according to the broker it was… “Just a moment, sir, I need to help a customer first.” I was surprised by her charm, that she had not only for me (silly me) but of course for all her clients. There was Claudia again and rattled on. “The restaurant looked like hell” she continued, “We still have the pictures”. The previous owner wanted al lot off goodwill. Then I called my parents and said, we face a decision and want your opinion! “You have to come right away.” Then we all together, considered, weighed, and finally decided “We’ll make one offer and that’s it.” I talk big, but when it came to it I said to Edwin, you de the negotiations, I’ll sit in the bar! … We had a tight budget and more than that we just couldn’t afford. We had saved for years living in a small two rooms wimpy apartment! Edwin comes back and I asked; “AND? ..” “…. And?” Well … he says, it’s not enough, the seller has rejected the offer. So I ask; “How much does he want for it?” And he replied: “500 euro’s more then our offer.” I got really pissed “did you let it bounce off 500 …?” Yes, you told me, not a penny more then our budget …? I was furious and shouted: “You’re an ass ..”! I could kill him. Off course he was kidding, but I have been angry for a while as you can certainly understand. We totally rebuild the restaurant. Just a few days after we werde finished, it started to storm, the worst storm in 25 years. The waves of the Mediterranean Sea literally flooded the basement off the restaurant. I felt like crying, we had to start all over again. After that the Police came to our restaurant telling us that our papers and licenses were not in order and that they were closing us down… Right in front of our guests. As it turned out, it was all jealousy from fellow catering businesses who begrudged our success.
Claudia her eyes are full of fire and enthusiasm …. “do you want another beer? ..” “Sure” and it wouldn’t be the last beer… I also trapped a bite to eat, because the food that was served at the table next to me looked so good, I could not resist temptation. Enjoying the delicious cuisine and a bit of Claudia naturally as she made her way among the crowded tables and serving all guests with a friendly word in any language. Oh boy, what a passion and energy, and what a look. I also wanted t have a chat with Edwin so I took my coffee at the bar… An espresso with a delicious Dom Benedictine Liqueur.
Quiet and calm Edwin poured the drinks even thou it was rush hour at Friends. He was the type of guy that just kept calm and going. “How did you get here so as Dutchman” I asked through my nose. He looked at me intently, stopped by rinsing the glass and said; “That’s quite a story man …”. “Look, I was an official in the ministry in The Hague, and one day met Claudia, I look into those eyes and fell in love. She was a hairdresser, and before I knew it we were together in small two rooms apartment in the Hague. “And you had a dream,” I interrupted him again …. he looked at me intently … “You’ve already spoken with Claudia,” I nodded and he continued his barwerk. That’s it, I thought, a dream, a dream you must have one and follow it. Work hard and it wil come true…
I sipped my cordial and enjoyed their success.