Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Le Petit Cafe

This is Le Petit Cafe! The 1st restaurant to take a chance on the less populated part of Carroll Gardens-- Court Street below 4th Place (now quite a thriving area!) I remember walking by this storefront, windows covered with brown kraft paper, 10 years ago and wondering what was going to eventually open. Hard to believe, but only 2 guys were in there doing all the construction. Tommy Perez (background as a Contractor in Hotel Renovation) conceived of and created Le Petit from scratch with Jose Segundo. I just learned today that he met Jose while he was making a delivery for a nearby restaurant on Smith Street. He knows a hard worker when he sees one!
Le Petit opened on October 23rd, 1999 as a small Coffee House/Muffin/Juice Bar and has since expanded into a full & delicious restaurant. It is one of my very Favorites in NYC.

Here is Tommy Perez (on right) and Jose Segundo (left) hanging out. They rarely have a chance to relax, especially now that they are expanding into next door (my landlord's old shop). I can't wait to see the finished space-- as you'll see, these guys do amazing work, not a single detail is missed. It's nice that Tommy has something to renovate besides the garden patio, which has gone through 4 incarnations since it was built in 2002.

Here is the entrance, where people on the go line up each morning for their coffee, espresso, muffins, croissants & more... The beautiful ceiling mural was painted by a the talented french artist Nadia Wolinska

Le Petit is known for being kid friendly and was recently written up in Time Out Kids
This Choo Choo train is a treat for all the little ones who venture in. It travels the perimeter of the front of cafe. There are also some stuffed toys & tiny creatures hiding in small nooks, if you take the time to look around. Plus, the metal sculptures in the garden can be quite fascinating, too.

There is a wide array of tasty treats like this rugelach above, cute colorful iced cookies with sprinkled sugar, pecan hearts dipped in creamy vanilla, wonderful scones, muffins, chocolate chip, oatmeal and NY's famous Black & White cookies. Could be more, these are what I have sampled--Oh yea--great lemon squares, too!! Look in the displays and feel your mouth water :)

Every day you will find the sweetest arrangement of flowers on your table. They are fresh & oh so pretty! I just learned from Tommy that he is the one that does all the landscaping. He buys plants daily & flowers (weekly) at the Flower Market in Manhattan and on 7th Avenue Park Slope.

I realize that because I enjoy the space of Le Petit so much, I've neglected the food. I apologize for only having this one photograph of scrumptious panini. Maybe I will find some time & take pics of my favorites like corn flake chicken fingers, blueberry pancakes to die for, best french fries ever, perfect spinach salad with blue cheese, cranberries w-raspberry vinegrette & chicken on top if you so desire. I also enjoy their huevos rancheros, shrimp salad, turkey burger & wonderful omelettes. I know they have great hamburgers, too! Brunch on weekends requires a lot of patience because the whole neighborhood seems to make their way down. If you want a seat without much wait, you have to show between 9am-10am or maybe between 1pm-2pm. Dinners are bit less crowded and served from 5pm-10:30pm.

During the week, Le Petit acts as a tranquil environment to get some work done. There are often a number of people lunching & working away (or blogging, Facebooking or Twittering ;) Here is a local writer working on her book. The waitresses and I noticed her nice highlights, so if that's any indication,
this book will Rock!

This is the first back patio Tommy built. It looks a little like a 1970s beach hut here and I'm suddenly craving Pina Coladas! Did not look so much like that in person, it opened up in 2002.

These photos above are from Le Petit's early days as a mere coffe house/muffin shop. Jose is pictured above with Tommy's sister who has done her share to make the cafe a success! I have felt much inspiration in my own life watching as Tommy slowly but surely works towards his next goal. I love that they opened small and just kept going & going until it was just what they wanted!

Le Petit at night! Most of these photos below are from private parties booked for the garden...

Yes, Le Petit serves Beer and a large selection of wines.

Here is one of my favorite waitresses! Tommy also recruits family like his sharp, lovely sister & nieces. You can tell by these two below that waitressing can be fun (at least to the outsider ;) I haven't done it in a while and it is hard work, but good excercise, too.

Above are just some of the cooks who make everything from salmon filet to fluffy pancakes.

Below is the garden patio today... there are 2 sides, one is more enclosed with skylight, the other with a fabric cover that allows the sun to shine in.

Below is the new addition (in the making) to Le Petit. This is George's old storefront, he has moved across the street and down a block. I know he and his wife, Emily miss sitting outside chatting with the cafe crowd. In the spring & summer, there is always someone hanging out on the benches in front, enjoying an ice coffee or fresh fruit smoothie. Tommy & Jose have their work cut out for them, but I trust this will be just as charming & yummy as the original!!

Long road ahead...

Le Petit Cafe is the perfect neighborhood spot. The atmosphere is always friendly and the food is consistently good!! This is also one of the most reasonably priced places in Brooklyn which, given the current economy, is a real gift :)

Le Petit Cafe is located at 502 Court Street between Nelson & Luquer Streets. Take the F or G train to Carroll St. or Smith & 9th St. Stations * Phone # 718.596.7060 Enjoy :D


kristine lombardi said...

What a great post! I am amazed by just how many photos you posted of this great cafe! It really is a lovely spot. A little bit of Paris in Brooklyn. Wish I could work in that garden patio each morning.

Nice job Allyn. You are quite the journalist! :)

Allyn said...

Thanks for such nice comments Kristine! I'm sure they won't mind if you set up your drawing table in back ;)

ahoward0005 said...

I enjoyed reading about Le Petit and Cozbi...two of the most charming places I have
ever seen. The pictures almost do justice to
the creative and colorful look of both businesses.

I remember when Le Petit first opened how
great we thought it was....just to have such
a pleasant place for coffee, hot chocalate,
light breakfast and, with the
work that Tommy and Jose and the staff have
put into is a real destination
for people in and around Carroll Gardens.

Cozbi herself is enough reason to visit her
store .... but then there are the lovely
clothes and baby items which I love seeing
on my trips to Brooklyn. Thanks, Allyn, for
writing about these great places!

mzexter said...

Like the pictures of the guys. They have good soup in the winter... and fries.

Margaret said...

Wow, thanks for the great post Allyn. So much information and beautiful pictures. Makes me want to move to Brooklyn...

Stephanie said...

You know how I love Le Petite !! When are we going back for the cornflake chicken ??? I also love the photos ...feels like I'm visiting you in your I just need some food and a nice drink.....

Carola said...

Hi Allyn,

I have recently discovered your blog and love it. Great pictures of Le Petit... I have been going there since I moved here over 7 years ago and loved to see the pictures showing the transition of this great spot.

Allyn said...

Thanks Carola!! Glad you found me. Can't wait to see what they do with the new space :)

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