Belgian Church Transformed Into Rock 'N Roll Restaurant

adaptive re-use

You will swoon over this former church now restaurant, The Jane, with its mix of textiles and re-use of space. I'm gaga over the use of light and lighting, and the now so-not-typical stained glass windows . . and as you'll see, unorthodox new treatments.

Three years ago, "Dutch design studio Piet Boon completed the transformation of the church of a former military hospital into The Jane, a gourmet destination that combines fine dining with a rock 'n roll aesthetic" (from "Yatzer." )

From the awesome exterior lighting presentation to the significant 150-lights long-spiked interior chandelier, the entire venue superbly incorporates spectacular lighting systems, each perfect for its space usage. (Credit to .PSLAB)

Light and lighting is a primary consideration in any design project including lighting provided by daylight
and/or windows. Here we can see the traditional style of Western European churches and their use of stained glass windows.

But, look closer. The Jane Restaurant has neither martyrs nor miracles of medieval saints. This adaptive re-use site hosts windows " . . . decorated with a haphazard collection of objects, animals and other shapes, ranging from eaten apple cores and penguins to gas masks and birthday cakes . . ." according to Studio Job. Going 'green,' is good, for our environment, and to shake up and modernize previously used building materials.

The preserved church of a former military hospital is now a restaurant of international allure with Michelin-Star Chef Sergio Herman at the helm. This is building re-use at its most culinary.

Where the alter used to be, the kitchen now stands; and it is encased within glass walls making the entire cooking process visible to The Jane Restaurant patrons.


If you are in Europe and near the lovely Country of Belgium or are making plans to visit it, add The Jane, in Antwerp, to your itinerary.

Let me share some secret truths about Belgium:

  1. It is a genuine paradise for gourmet lovers.
  2. Then there is the Belgium fashion and nightlife. Belgium is fast becoming THE destination in Europe for the 20-30 somethings. It seems they are flocking to cities like Brussels for stylish, inexpensive hotels, great food and a pulsating nightlife.
  3. And, now there is 'The Jane.'

Heads Up! To book a space in the Upper Room Bar, allow one month. You'll need to book a table however at least three months in advance for The Jane. Go for it! I love Belgium, it's the best of the beautiful. In French - it would be said, "Le meilleur de la belle!"

For reservations,

Photos by Richard Powers

How To Entertain And Easy Spinach Balls Appetizer Recipe

About entertaining:  I have often thought, as I prepare the house for a party, that I am doing more than I know I am doing. Something about the laying of the tablecloths, setting out of candles, and fixing flowers in vases has a sacramental quality to it - as if I am turning a house into a tabernacle - to be filled with spirits that enlarge my own.

Here are some ideas, some secrets to entertaining well.

  • Keep your guests happy, keep them entertained
  • Use the largest space available, play music there, place your food table there and provide places for people to sit, to play games and dance! Open the curtains and the windows, weather permitting, this helps set a nice atmosphere.
  • Provide food and drink. Present it attractively - people - all people - love good food.
  • Play music.  It adds to the ambience, helps your guests get in a more relaxed, festive mood
  • Provide party games.  If you don't have your own, buy or borrow (or google search) for fun games. Keep them simple. The simpler the party game is, the easier it is for your guests to get enthusiastic - and, competitive.
  • Introduce your friends to one another.  If it's a large crowd, consider name tags.
  • Talk to everyone. Thank them when they arrive; pay a few minutes of personal attention to each and every guest. If there are too many people, then talk to groups.
  • Consider a theme for your event. "Hippy Generation: Peace, Love and Flower People" is easy and fun.  Vintage-era themes like, "Gangsters And Flappers," aka, "Speakeasys," also work well. Or, opt for a particular piece of clothing to serve as your theme, like a hat.  Make it as silly or as strange as you like. Click here for a fabulous link of party theme ideas.  
  • Remember, you can lessen your own load by making it a "Pot Luck," or another version is a "Pie Party" (each person brings a Meat Pie, Vegetable Pie or a Dessert type pie - quiche also works here).

Spinach Balls Appetizer Recipe By The Kitchen Is My Playground Bonus Recipe


2 10-oz. packages frozen spinach, thawed and well-drained
2 small onions, very finely chopped (I use a food processor)
2-1/4 cup stuffing with herbs (I use Pepperidge Farm)
6 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tsp. garlic salt
1 tsp. black pepper


  1. Mix all ingredients until well combined. Form into about 1" balls; place on a baking sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Makes approximately 60 balls.
Notes:  Spinach balls may be frozen, either baked or unbaked.  (I always freeze mine pre-baked.)  For pre-baked balls:  remove from freezer about 30 minutes prior to reheating.  Reheat in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes.  For unbaked balls:  remove from freezer 30 minutes before cooking. Bake as directed (350 degrees for 20 minutes).

Enjoy!  Spinach Balls Appetizer Recipe is from The Kitchen Is My Playground, with Tracey Harrelson.

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