First Glimpse at Columbia Petit Louis Bistro via 'Comptoir,' French for Pastries Galore

The cafe offers pastries, macaroons, quiche, sandwiches, coffee and espresso in a casual setting that adjoins the new French restaurant on the lakefront.

The comptoir, a small cafe, adjoining the new Petit Louis Bistro in Columbia officially opened on Tuesday. Credit: Andrew Metcalf
The comptoir, a small cafe, adjoining the new Petit Louis Bistro in Columbia officially opened on Tuesday. Credit: Andrew Metcalf

The small cafe attached to the new Petit Louis Bistro on Columbia's lakefront officially opened Tuesday.

The walk-up cafe, called a comptoir, which is French for counter, offers pastries, macarons, sandwiches, coffee, espresso, croissants and quiche.

The comptoir adjoins the full restaurant, which is scheduled to open to the public in February. The restaurant is operated by Tony Foreman and Cindy Wolf, well-known Baltimore restaurateurs who also own Baltimore's Charleston, Cinghale, and the original Petit Louis Bistro in Roland Park.

The space is designed to be more of a casual area compared to the full bistro next door, according to the restaurant's owners. You can grab a pastry and coffee to go, or enjoy a sandwich at one of the cafe tables.

On Tuesday afternoon, the space was bright, with five tables lining the windows that look out onto Lake Kittamaqundi. The baristas helpfully explained the menu items, like a gruyere and apple sandwich on sourdough with walnut butter and arugula ($8); and a grilled eggplant sandwich on a baguette with goat cheese and tapenade ($8.25).

All the items are made in-house, including the macarons ($2 each), which come in three varieties—peanut butter honey chocolate, coconut passion fruit, and pistachio grapefruit. Macarons, the meringue sandwiches served at Petit Louis are created with a slightly different method than the puffed coconut balls many know as macaroons.

Displayed up front in baskets were pastries, freshly baked croissants ($3.25) and bags of waffle potato chips.

The comptoir held a soft opening over the weekend, before officially opening Tuesday.

"We had a good flurry [of customers] Saturday and Sunday," said general manager Peter Keck.

Local food blog HowChow tried the cafe over the weekend and gave it a seal of approval. HowChow wrote, "Everything that we ate was perfect.  A small, crispy croissant that was simultaneously light and flaky, but left a luscious impression of butter on my tongue.  A cake moist with a strong lemon flavor and a slight crunchy crust for contrast.  You know that I love the local bakeries, but you can't beat these pastries overlooking the lake.  We split a French press of coffee, and we had the best time."

The comptoir opens at 7 a.m. during the week and 10:30 a.m. on the weekend. A spokesperson for Foreman Wolf said closing times haven't been established yet in anticipation of customer response.

Restaurant Information

Petit Louis Bistro Columbia
10215 Wincopin Circle 
Columbia, Maryland 21044
Phone: 410-964-9999
Website - http://www.petitlouis.com/

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