LE PETIT MARCHE in Kirkwood is something like the foodie equivalent of a chick flick. Inspired by her travels in France, owner Marchet Sparks opened the "little market" in February, filling it with fancy victuals, frilly displays and a small menu of salads and sandwiches.
FRANCO-MODERN STYLE: Situated in a new building on Hosea L. Williams Drive, a few doors down from the new Vinocity, Le Petit Marche features a modern design —- with high ceilings, acid-washed concrete floors and stainless steel deli cases. The light, airy space is arranged something like a gallery or department store, with different stations displaying goods from various purveyors, announced by whitewashed signs. For dining in, there's a collection of pretty, nicely appointed tables scattered around the store, several more wrought iron-style tables along the sidewalk, and a counter near the front door. During a recent noontime visit, a couple of lunching ladies were clearly having fun shopping and munching on salads. But the steady boom of Euro lounge music seemed to puzzle them.
LE PETIT EATS: The current menu lists eight deli-style sandwiches, three salads and a weekly homemade soup. There's also a PB Loco brand peanut butter tasting station, and kids or adults can get sandwiches made with the likes of cinnamon-raisin peanut butter, fig jam and sliced bananas. Among the deli offerings, the Cuban panini is a favorite —- though fans of the traditional sandwich will be surprised to find that it comes sans ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese or even Cuban bread. Instead, it's Boar's Head pastrami and provolone pressed in flat, ridged panini bread. But the addition of marinated onions, dill pickles and spicy mustard give it an unexpected tang, similar to a Reuben, that's quite tasty. Other choices include roast beef with herb and feta-flavored mayo on whole wheat, and tuna salad with lettuce, tomato and avocado on a croissant. The same tuna can be had as a low-carb salad on romaine lettuce. And there's a crisp Chinese chicken salad, with sliced almonds, black sesame seeds and wanton croutons, tossed in a sweet ginger dressing. Everything comes served on traditional Provencal-style plates. Coffee drinks, cookies and other desserts round out the menu. You can choose a combo of a half-size sandwich with a half-size soup or salad. And Mondays-Fridays after 3 p.m., get a sandwich with a drink and a dessert for the price of the sandwich.
MARKET GOODIES: Among the variety of retail goods for sale, one area offers up Caldrea botanical bath, body and cleaning products; another, retro aprons. Around the corner you can find Sweetgrass Dairy cheeses alongside Italian tallegio and packaged prosciutto, Hope's Garden pesto, dried pastas and Via Elisi sauces. Turn again, and you'll discover boxes of fleur de sel next to squeeze bottles of Agave nectar and packages of Counter Culture fair trade coffee. Coolers hold San Pellegrino and grab-and-go sodas. By the register, a small fridge has local truffles from K Chocolat.
HOURS: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays
CREDIT CARDS: Visa, MasterCard
PRICES: Soups, $3.75-$4.95; salads and sandwiches, $7.55-$7.85
RECOMMENDED DISHES: Sandwiches and salads
PARKING: Street and lot parking.
A pretty gourmet market and deli that makes it easier to shop and dine in Kirkwood.
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