By Hannah Middaugh, Wilson College student
If you know the alley in downtown with the cool art on the walls and the old red phone booth that you can take photos with, you know about Brussels Café.
Brussels Café has been in the Downtown Chambersburg area for four years while the original Brussels café is in two locations in Belgium.
Alex H, the owner of Brussels said that he, "just happened to be here,” and that he “just fell in love with downtown.”
Alex has lived in Brazil, Mexico, Korea, Africa, and ended up in Chambersburg.
He said, “I was like ‘Eh, that’s a cute little town. Quaint, love the community, I think we are going to reopen this here.’”
Alex commented, “The people who know us and know why they love us, we love them back.”
Brussels Café is known for many things. From coffees, teas, smoothies, and boba teas, one has plenty of drink options. When it comes to food, Brussels Café offers various kinds of crepes, waffles, macarons, which are butter-cream filled cookies, and salads. There is a little something for everyone.
When it comes to events, Brussels has some cool ideas they plan to execute as well as events they already have. Alex mentioned they have a “First Fridays” event every month and that they plan to bring more of a music scene to Downtown Chambersburg. He stated, “We’re going to look into genres for all ages, but mostly for college students.”
Alex also mentioned, “Before Covid, we did something called ‘Sober Parties.’ Once a month we would pack the house with musicians, and it was a party with no alcohol.” “Sometimes you have a student that is like 19 and from out of town and they don’t know where to go. So, instead of going to hang out in their dorms, their house, or a friend’s house, they could go and party out as well in a safe environment.”
Alex mentioned that many days there are college students with their laptops out working on homework for hours at a time.
He said, "We like to provide an area for students where they could go unplug and study a lot. You usually find a lot of Shippensburg students here on the weekends with their laptops and throughout the week as well. It’s free Wi-Fi for all students here, so they just come in and study for hours. And that’s okay. Even though we have a limited amount of seating, we’re here for that.”
Even though Wilson is only down the road, it is mostly Shippensburg students that Alex sees. Alex stated, “I wish there were more Wilson College students that come in compared to Shippensburg students. We have employees from both Wilson and Shippensburg, but we love everyone equally. I just wish there was more of a connection with Wilson College students.”
Although it is mostly Shippensburg students that Alex sees, Wilson's students can get free delivery from Brussels Café through Door Dash.
Alex stated, “We get Door Dash and Grub Hub but have the agreement with Door Dash for free deliveries for a certain number of miles.”
At Brussels Café, everyone is treated equally. Alex commented, “I mean, you can come from Hagerstown, Shippensburg, Wilson, HACC, whatever; I love you no matter what.”
Brussels Café will be taking over Shippensburg Cultural Week and bringing their food and drinks to Shippensburg’s campus and would love the opportunity to bring it to Wilson College.
Another cool fact about Brussels is that they have a food truck. Alex says, “It’s the coolest truck in town.” The Brussels Café food truck is a 1965 Vintage camper.
Alex said that the camper was in a bad state of despair, but within four months they completely changed it.
They take the food truck to the racetrack and to car shows.
Brussels Café is regularly active on social media. Lauren Formosa, Franklin County Visitors Bureau’s Tourism Associate said, “They’re always posting specials, videos of people making drinks, and creative ideas that are always bringing people down. It definitely helps promote the overall culture of Brussels and portrays it as more than just a coffee shop.”
Brussels Café is closed Mondays and Tuesdays, but are open Wednesdays and Thursdays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Fridays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Special Note from DCI: We would like to express our gratitude to Hannah for writing this article. Hannah originally wrote this article for the Billboard, a student newspaper at Wilson College.