A piece of Sicily in Maastricht by Fleur Leijte
On 2 June, Sicilery opened its doors at the Petrus Regoutplein in the Sphinxkwartier. Entirely run by Italian students, this food start-up aims to bring the best Sicilian cuisine to the Netherlands.
A student food start-up
The idea of opening a Sicilian food start-up was born two years ago when a group of Sicilian students came together, all between the ages of 17 and 22. One of them is Guiseppe. He was born and raised in Sicily and moved to Maastricht to pursue his studies. ‘We were tired of the bitterballen. We wanted a place where we could sit and have authentic and fresh food. This is how Sicilery was born.’ Everything is organised by students, from the design of the logo and menu to the social media pages, website, and bar and wait staff. The food is imported directly from the island and the menu contains traditional Sicilian dishes, such as Rosso Ragù, an arancino with fried rice, and norma, a dish with fried eggplant and basil.
Collaboration with SNS bank
Sicilery is located inside the SNS Expertisecentrum, a bank and office space in the Eiffelgebouw. Guiseppe explains that the SNS bank has been a great help. ‘It was really difficult for us to find a place. When we pitched our idea to Peter van Neer, manager at SNS, he loved the idea and decided to offer us the place.’ The centrum also offers study spaces, so students can come and work while enjoying espresso and Silician snacks.
Although Sicilery only opened a few days ago, Guiseppe and his friends are not afraid to already look ahead. ‘We now have a 3-month contract with SNS expertisecentrum, but we definitely want to stay longer in Maastricht. Eventually, we would also like to expand to other places in the Netherlands.’ The enthusiasm and ambition of the young Sicilians are notable in everything that they do, from the way they happily greet the customers, to the detail that they put into the dishes and presentation of the restaurant. ‘We worked really hard to make this happen. We struggled with locations, permits, and finances. We could have easily given up, but we did not and I am really proud of that. Time flies whenever I am working here, and I am very excited for what’s to come!’