Café the Plaza's Gert-Jan Koopmans is a barkeeper in heart and soul. He loves to work behind his bar when it is crazy busy, when there are scores of people clamoring for drinks. “On evenings when local bands Grupo di Betico or Tsunami are playing, when there is dancing and lots of singing and shouting, that's when I love my job most”, he tells us. Gert-Jan has worked behind Café the Plaza's bar for the past three years now.
Café the Plaza's manager is originally from Holland; he came to Aruba with the idea to stay for 6 months or so, but that was 15 years ago. In the meantime, the 45-year-old has married, and the couple has four children. “The oldest is 13, the youngest is 5”, the tells us. His former hobbies, such as fishing, repairing cars and drinking Heineken beers are almost a distant memory. “Life is different with four kids.”
Although Café the Plaza in the Renaissance Marketplace is known for being a Dutch restaurant with lots of Dutch specials on the menu, a reality check shows that 80 percent of the popular café's regulars are locals. “These people have been coming here since we opened in 1992. Our menu is international, but with the satay and shoarma platters, the meatballs and croquettes as favorites for our Dutch clientele.” But tourists also find their way to Café the Plaza, where they discover lots of tasty menu items for very reasonable prices. The chef's Special Event, a monthly dinner winking at an interesting country's cuisine, is a big hit, featuring a Mediterranean evening, a Greek night, a French night, fish night and many more.
Asked what Gert-Jan's favorite drinks are, there is a big smile: “I am truly a Heineken man, but I won't say no to a Bacardi Coke or a Screwdriver now and then”.
Gert Jan Koopmans - Manager Café the Plaza
March 28, 2019