New owners bring fresh air to Lunchroom De Koffiebar

The Koffiebar on Karel Doormanstraat was taken over by entrepreneurs Amar Tember, Shailin Mewalal, Sandra Ramdien and Sabrina Ramdien at the end of last year. Since the takeover, the business has been renamed: Lunchroom The Koffiebar.

Love the City
22 April 2024
By Lisanne Van Beurden

It still remains the familiar Koffiebar with its cosy atmosphere, but soon with a brand new lunch menu! We stopped by to see how things are going and spoke to co-owner Amar Tember.

How did this adventure start for you?

Amar: "Seven years ago, I started Steak & Bier on Karel Doormanstraat with my cousins. There I gained a lot of hospitality experience. But after all these years, it was time for more rest. I no longer wanted to work late hours, mainly because of my wife and children. However, my cousins wanted to continue, so they bought me out. Initially, I thought of taking a year's rest, but then I was approached about taking over De Koffiebar. I discussed it with my wife, and she thought we should just do it, as we were in the flow of the restaurant business anyway. And actually, this business was exactly what I needed: a lunchroom/coffee bar that closes at six, so I can spend time with my family afterwards."

How did you find the switch from beer to coffee?

Amar: "Very nice. It's a totally different experience. Coffee and pastries are really the heart of the business, and there is a huge variety of those products. As for the lunch menu, we kept the existing options from the previous owners. The other day we added the 12-hour snack to the menu: croquette with bread, a small soup and salad. But the menu will be expanded even more."

The entrepreneurs behind Lunchroom De Koffiebar: Shailin Mewalal, Sandra Ramdien, Sabrina Ramdien and Amar Tember.

What else are you going to change about the menu?

Amar: "Currently, the menu is mainly inspired by Italian cuisine, but we plan to expand it to include Surinamese-Hindustani dishes and sandwiches and comfort food such as burgers and fries. In the winter months, we plan to offer different soups, such as saoto soup and lentil soup. Since my wife is vegetarian, we will work with tofu in addition to the meat dishes. The menu will also expand to include main dishes for dinner. That means we are more than just a lunchroom."

"With summer approaching, we want to start offering cocktails and organising network nights. We have noticed that surrounding offices are looking for good places to have drinks, so in the future we want to offer this by appointment."

"Currently, the menu is mainly inspired by Italian cuisine, but we plan to expand it to include Surinamese-Hindustani dishes and sandwiches and comfort food such as burgers and fries."

Amar Tember

What is currently the most popular product?

Amar: "Right now, the most popular dishes are the tuna melt panini and the chicken sandwiches. In addition, the sandwiches with carpaccio are also very popular with our customers."

Lunchroom de Koffiebar is a real family business. Can you tell a bit more about that?

Amar: "Together with my wife, sister-in-law and brother-in-law, I took over the business. It is nice to be able to share responsibilities. Since all four of us work full-time, we divide the work among ourselves. On Tuesdays, my wife Sabrina is on the floor, and I am here on Wednesdays. On Thursdays, there is staff. My brother-in-law Shailin takes care of Fridays, while my sister-in-law Sandra works on weekends; she can choose whether she is here on Saturdays or Sundays. On Mondays, my parents help out as volunteers. It really is a family business."


What kind of work do you do besides Lunchroom de Koffiebar? How do you combine this with hospitality?

"I am a structural engineer and work mainly as a designer, focusing on infrastructure. I design roads, cables and pipes, and sewers. This includes both making technical drawings and doing calculations. I work 40 hours in four days, and Wednesdays I am off my job and work here."

"It is quite demanding, because working in the hospitality industry is not always easy. But I really like the variety. At the municipality, I'm working 40 hours on technology. In the lunchroom, on the other hand, you have very different conversations with people and much more social interaction."

How do you feel about working with your family?

"Very nice, we see each other more often now. The business has really become a meeting place for us. Besides work, the place is also a kind of lounge environment where we all get together."

How is it going so far? And how do you like it on Karel Doormanstraat?

Amar: "Very good. Actually, I already felt very much at home here because Steak & Beer is also on Karel Doormanstraat. There is a lot of foot traffic; especially on weekends. People come in for a coffee and cake, especially after shopping around 3 or 4 o'clock."

"Other than that, the restaurant is doing well. We also have our regular customers. For example, there is a lady, Ms Janssen, who always sits outside. She and her group of friends stop by every morning for a cup of coffee. And so we have other loyal guests."

Thanks Amar. Good luck with Lunchroom De Koffiebar!

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