Belgo is a small chain of London restaurants specializing in simple Belgian cooking and Belgian beer. Belgo is noted for its arresting 1990s design and architecture, including kitchens viewable by customers entering the restaurant (Noord and Centraal) and its waiters and waitresses, who dress as monks. Anand Zenz was the designer-architect responsible for the main space and the furniture and fittings at Chalk Farm (Noord, 1992), with Ron Arad taking over as architect-designer for the extension to Noord (1994) and the Template:Convert Belgo Centraal, voted London Restaurant of the Year in 1996.
There are five Belgo restaurants: Belgo Centraal, on Earlham Street, Covent Garden, Belgo Noord on Chalk Farm Road, the two former Bierodromes on Clapham High Street and Kingsway, and Belgo Bromley in the Glades shopping centre in Bromley which opened in March 2010.
Belgo was founded in 1992 by French-Canadian Denis Blais and Anglo-Belgian Andre Plisnier. The brand was expanded to a chain of bar diners known as Bierodrome in Clapham and Kingsway (and Islington, and Belgo Zuid (124 Ladbroke Grove), both now closed) but those remaining open all now trade in the Belgo format.
Belgo was bought in 1998 by ex-fund manager, newspaper columnist and ex-Chairman of Channel 4 Luke Johnson, known for his highly successful financial stewardship, with colleague Hugh Osmond, of the Pizza Express chain of up-market pizza restaurants in the 1990s. However, attempts to extend the Belgo franchise organically beyond London in the late 1990s were not successful: the franchise in Jersey lasted barely 12 months before closing in 2000 and, in any event, the Belgo flotation was used as a vehicle to acquire a number of celebrated chic London restaurants, such as The Ivy, The Caprice, Daphne's The Collection and J.Sheekey, creating the 'Signature Restaurants' division and a business with a market capital which peaked at more than £90,000,000.
Johnson sold his interest in Belgo in 2005 to Tragus Group, which also owns the French-styled Café Rouge chain and the Bella Italia chain of Italian restaurants.
In 2013, Belgo were official partners of Comic Relief, the British charity founded in 1985 that aims to "bring about positive and lasting change in the lives of poor and disadvantaged people."
- Bella Italia
- Café Rouge
- Tragus Group