The first time I stepped into the Cadieux Café, I was only about 18 years old. I was staying with a host family in Farmington for about two weeks, and one day they took me to Cadieux Café. I was excited to see the picture of the Belgian king and queen on the wall, King Boudewijn (Baudouin) and Queen Fabiola at the time. There were also pictures of Eddy Merckx, the famous cycling champion, and prints of landscapes and people reminding me of my home country.
When I revisited Cadieux Café a few days ago to interview Ron Devos, not much had changed. The picture of King Boudewijn and Queen Fabiola was gone, but I saw a replica of the Manneke Pis statue and Eddy Merckx was still on the wall. Belgian memorabilia are everywhere in the café and the coats of arms of Belgium’s provinces are hung atop the entrance.
The Cadieux Café has been owned by the Devos family since 1962, when Robert Devos bought the business and carried on the Belgian spirit by adding a restaurant that reflected its cuisine. Robert was born in Michigan but went back to Belgium as a child. He served in the Belgian army and met his wife in Belgium. They had their first child over there. Later on they moved back to the US and that’s where Ron was born. As he puts it, “The boys in our family were born in the US and the girls were born in Belgium.” Ron Devos and his business partner and nephew, Paul Misuraca, are the current owners of the Cadieux Café. They have been careful to maintain the place’s Belgian charm and traditions but they have also made it more accessible to a broader crowd by bringing in live musical acts and staying open until 2 a.m. daily.
The Cadieux Café is the meeting place for an array of clubs like the darts team and the feather bowlers. It is shocking to me as a Belgian to see the game of feather bowling being preserved so fervently in the US when it is rarely, if ever, played in Belgium anymore. The café also used to be the unofficial headquarters for the cycling club until they moved to a bike shop, and for the pigeon fanciers. The Devos family had to stop with the pigeon racing because Robert Devos was suffering from pigeon breeders’ disease, a kind of emphysema you get from inhaling the dust that comes along with breeding pigeons.
When asked about his favorite thing on the menu, Ron says that, although the mussels are delicious, he is a hamburger guy at heart. His favorite Belgian beer is Palm but for some reason Palm cannot be imported. On the menu at the Cadieux Café is a wide range of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, soups, stews, beef, chicken and fresh seafood entrees. The main feature of the bill of fare is, of course, the mussels. The best sellers on the beer list are Stella (on tap) and Chimay Grand Reserve.
I can’t resist asking if the rumors about the Cadieux Café being for sale are true? Ron answers that, for the right price, it is always for sale. But talking about it too much is not good for business and that’s why they are not very aggressive about trying to sell it. According to Ron, there has not been a ‘for sale’ sign in a long time because they simply do not want to scare away their customers.
Source: Nathalie Padilla