Take pride in your fries: Brussels revamps its food stalls

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BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Brussels wants to improve the image of the stalls selling one of its most famous delicacies, the potato fry, aiming to make the often downtrodden establishments more appealing to tourists.

Belgians take great pride in their fries, traditionally sold doused in mayonnaise and in a paper cone from so-called “fritkots”, shacks found near the larger squares and main avenues of the city.

But the stalls are not always as appealing as their produce.

“Tourists may think ‘Well, actually, would I like to buy something there? It looks a bit shabby,’” said Thomas Hick, one of the architects that city authorities have asked to revamp the outlets.

The new fritkots will feature a reflective aluminum facade, tiled interior and be equipped with rooftop solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system to make them more environmentally sustainable.

They are set to be in place by late 2019.

There are about 5,000 fritkots over Belgium, making them 10 times more common, per capita, than McDonald’s restaurants in the United States.

On busy days, popular Brussels establishments such as Maison Antoine and Frit Flagey can attract very long queues.

Reporting by Verity Crane; Writing by Robert-Jan Bartunek; Editing by Andrew Heavens