Tradition and transformation in Sant Lluis - Es Foraster
Throughout history, outsiders have brought new goods, ideas and influences to
Menorca, enriching local life and contributing to the island’s unique culture.
Two such 'outsiders’, Lluis Sala and Abraham Pérez, arrived in Menorca as so many others do: first they came for a summer visit and, loving the island, decided to buy a holiday home in Sant Lluis. Then, finding a life of calm and serenity here, compared to the hectic pace of Madrid, they decided to relocate permanently.
While Abraham opened a small boutique a few doors down from their home, Luis continued to work as a theatre producer. But the constant travel took its toll and, at the end of 2019, he took a sabbatical - not knowing that a few months later, a pandemic would strike, theatres would close, and travel would stop.
When lockdown ended and they were again able to walk around the village, they found
themselves returning again and again to an unoccupied two-storey building - formerly the Casino - on Sant Lluis’s main street, imagining what they would do with it, if it were theirs.
They made enquiries with Fincas Sant Lluis and finalised the purchase in early 2021. They then had a few short months to turn what had once been a simple bar, restaurant and community centre of sorts, into something quite different.
They replaced the entire roof, installed a new kitchen, built a bar and opened up the ground floor into one big space. In keeping with the ethos of the business, the refurbishment was as
environmentally responsible as possible.
Named Es Foraster (The Outsider), a reference to their non-islander origins, it is something new in Menorca: a concept store. Or in their words, "a place where you are surrounded on all sides by creativity".
Downstairs became an expanded version of Abraham’s original boutique, that sells arts, crafts and decorative items, household goods, books and sustainable clothing, where customers can also sit down for a coffee and homemade cake, while upstairs is the result of a collaboration with friend and gallerist Nicola Quadri : an exhibition space filled with paintings, antiques and designer furniture - all of which are for sale - that also doubles as a venue for a supper club, book signings and other events.
For these creative entrepreneurs, moving to Menorca has transformed their lives, giving them a chance to slow down and savour the simplicity of island life. But at the same time, their business, along with a growing number of other small, creative ventures that have opened in the village in recent years, is helping to breathe new life into Sant Lluis and lend it a more cosmopolitan, contemporary appeal.