While enjoying my walk down the cobble stone streets of the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic and the oldest city in the new world, it occurs to me it is time for lunch, which should consist of a large and naturally delicious salad. more...
While enjoying my walk down the cobble stone streets of the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo, the oldest city in the new world, it occurs to me it is time for lunch, which should consist of a large and naturally delicious salad.
I reach Plaza España, where I find the Naval Museum of the Atarazanas, the house of Diego Colon (the first-born son of Christopher Columbus and wife Filipa Moniz) and a number of restaurants. My eyes are drawn to a beautiful building turned into a restaurant and a lovely terrace where the waiting staff walks around disguised as “pirates”.
Before I know it, I find myself sitting at a table, studying the menu of restaurant Pat’e Palo (wooden leg). Beside the set menu and a few loose items I can only find one salad featuring feta cheese and chorizo; not exactly the ingredients I had in mind. I inquire with one of the attractive pirates if it is possible to fix me a custom made salad. “Of course, no problem”, is the reply and I am being encouraged to give my favorite pirate a list of ingredients, which I would like to find back in my salad that turns out to be delicious.
The owner of Restaurant Pat’e Palo is Lodewijk Bröcker, a Dutch entrepreneur who is known by most Dominicans as Louis. “Only those who come to collect money call me Lodewijk”, smiles Louis when we are sitting on his terrace the next day, enjoying the sun and a drink while Louis continues to tell me about how on earth he ended up here!
Back in the days, at age 21, Louis left the Netherlands to work on a Windstar Cruise ship because he needed adventure and to find the right environment to realize his ideals. After travelling around for a little while, he ended up in Santiago where one of his three older brothers resided. Louis immediate felt the attraction and potential of Santiago despite the violence, which was quite common in the colonial center during that time. While standing in front of the run down 15th and 16th century buildings on the Plaza España, he knew this was the opportunity he was waiting for and decided to buy one of the properties. Louis not only fixed up his property but also moved around some nearby palm trees and other objects, thereby giving the direct area a new and more uniform appearance.
The enthusiasm of the charming Louis Bröcker prompted other investors to follow his example and soon the Plaza España became the prime location of Santo Domingo’s Zona Colonial where a variety of establishments offer lunch, dinner and of course refreshing beverages.
Louis is convinced that the Zona Colonial still needs a lot of restoration and improvements. Underground power lines, wider sidewalks, better parking facilities and more boutique hotels are just some examples. This idea is not unique neither impossible to accomplish. Other large cities like Havana, Cuba and Cartegena, Columbia are in the middle of massive restoration projects. Successful restorations are homage to the culture and the history of a country. To this end, Louis founded the "Asociacion Ciudad Osvando” in order to study the “super restoration” of the city, to approach and advise investors and to offer assistance in virtually all areas needed to turn this vision into reality. If one could think of one city, which deserves the attention and investments to be preserved for generations to come, it must be Santo Domingo, the heart of the Caribbean as the whole development of the new world started here at the beginning of the 15th century.
Website: Restaurant Pat´e Palo