Magic Café Fantasy

The brightly colored facade of the café

Franky Verrecas was a Flemish singer who rose to prominence in the 1980s. He adopted the stage name Frank Valentino, given to him by the world-famous Shirley Bassey. After a successful stint on television and in the music industry, Valentino noticed that musical tastes were changing and instead focused his efforts elsewhere.

He embarked on an enchanting endeavor, opening the Magic Café and Tavern Fantasy. For six magical years, Fantasy served as a haven for Disney aficionados and a stage for Frank's musical talents, creating a unique experience in Flanders that I invite you to explore further on this webpage.

The café

Fantasy opened in 1998, near the railway station of the Belgian city of Roeselare. Beneath all the layers of decoration and theming, it's also a typical Belgian café. Copious amounts of beer were served, and you can even see the logo of a beer brand on the facade as is typical. Another café tradition is that regulars would put money in a savings bank to fund events.

Parents could organize birthday parties for their children, and there were karaoke evenings as well as all kinds of Disney-related events. It also served as the hangout of a local mini soccer club. And when he was not in the café, the people of Roeselare could see Frank Valentino driving around in his very own Herbie the Love Bug.

Unfortunately, a long conflict with a neighbor led to the closure of the café in 2004. Many years later the café is still fondly remembered by locals.


Fantasy was divided in several themed areas inspired by lands and attractions in the Disney parks. The more general areas were decorated with a veritable treasure hoard of Disney collectibles.


Fanty the teddy bear

Fantasy had its own mascot, a teddy bear named Fanty. While Frank Valentino came up with the original concept, the design was made by Disney animator Jeroen Dejonckheere, who was working on Tarzan at the time. Dejonckheere grew up in Roeselare, and still returned to his hometown while working in France.

Official recognition

Beyond the link with former Disney animator Jeroen Dejonckheere, Valentino's café even earned the praise of Roy E. Disney.

A letter in which Roy says the tavern looks quite wonderful, and wishes Frank every success with it.

Further resources

These are, for obvious reasons, unfortunately entirely in Dutch.

All pictures used in this article come from the Facebook group and the archived remnants of the original website.