De Heerenkeet is not just any restaurant but a story that needs to be told. In a very special place in the village of Rengerskerke stands a restaurant that is not to be missed. If you can’t find it on the map, that’s not surprising. After all, it concerns a medieval village that was swallowed by the waves during a storm surge in 1662. The historic site north of Zierikzee has been transferred to the municipality of Kerkwerve and, fortunately, is a lot easier to find.
Marion and Richard Snijder fell in love with this special place over a quarter of a century ago. But if you are a seamstress and a harbour master respectively, coming from the north of North Holland to settle in Zeeland and start a restaurant is no easy matter. A lot of love for the place and for each other combined with a large dose of ambition and entrepreneurial spirit means they are still here after more than 25 years. Richard even started a successful fish shop alongside it (exclusively sustainably farmed and caught).
When you ask Marion about the Heerenkeet’s secret, she reveals that they are just really good at frying fish. Soon we see that this answer is far too modest. For Marion knows how to make her guests feel truly welcome. A sweet hostess who understands her craft and has a kind word for every guest. The bottom line is that a warm welcome, delicious seafood and a prime location are the foundations of De Heerenkeet.
Nice cards but Richard and Marion’s trump cards turn out to be even more interesting. For they have managed to pass on the passion for their life’s work through their dna. Their two sons Dylan and Troy are bubbling with energy and can’t wait to raise the bar of De Heerenkeet a little higher every day. They are the up-and-coming talent looking for space to develop further. To say they are competitive and ambitious is an understatement. The brothers never miss a hospitality-related competition and regularly walk away with 1st prize.
Troy is the chef, completed his hospitality training with a 10. An exceptional achievement but he doesn’t think that’s enough. Even now, he enjoys working for other chefs he admires and whom he says he can still learn a lot from. How lucky that his girlfriend Jennifer also works at De Heerenkeet because otherwise there would be very little time left to see each other.
Dylan attended hotel school in Belgium and did internships at the michelin-starred restaurant Inter Scaldes, among others. In between, he became a two-time oyster-cutting champion. After hotel school, he developed a passion for bartending and therefore subsequently successfully completed the European Bartending School in Amsterdam. So feel free to ask him about his home-made cocktails. With his creative recipes, Dylan competes in international competitions.
For a simple fish, you can still go to De Heerenkeet but we advise you to take a closer look at the menu. The brothers’ creations are an interesting variation on the menu and a culinary promise for the future.
So thanks to these young men, it looks like the story of the inn from 18th-century Rengerskerke can continue to be told gloriously. At the time, it was the meeting place of the dike counts and lords of Schouwen. In 1914, therefore, it was officially named “De Heerenkeet”. Turbulent times followed and in 1943 the keet was demolished by the occupiers but after the war in 1948 it was rebuilt and restored to its former glory. During the 1953 flood disaster, De Heerenkeet even served as a refuge for local residents.
Fun fact is that the refuge (also called De Flaauwers) served to transport sugar beet to the factories in West Brabant. The weighbridge house from that time tells its own story and is well worth a visit. Today, the Flaauwers mostly serves as a diving platform and from the terrace you have a beautiful view of both the storm surge barrier and the Zeeland Bridge. From Wednesday to Sunday, you can come and experience The Heerenkeet for yourself….