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Piquant in Hyde Park

by Meghann on January 23, 2013

There’s a new “Sophie’s” in town. My favorite Hyde Park coffee house ( I miss it so much!) closed up shop a couple of months ago and a “coming soon” sign for a new French cafe was quickly placed on the front door. Last Saturday Piquant quietly opened its doors to new customers for the first time. This afternoon my friend Dee and I decided to check it out for coffee and girl talk.

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From the inside it felt like the structure of Sophie’s was still there, only it was as if they gave it a polished makeover. Gone were the warm inviting colors, mismatch furniture, and circle of couches. In their place were black tables, clear plastic chairs, and tasteful wallpaper that went with the new sleek vibe. Everything seemed very bare, like they hadn’t finished moving in yet or something.

The girl who greeted us at the counter was sweet, but still trying figure out her new role. She wasn’t 100% sure what they had in stock as far as drinks were concerned or how to run a credit card (totally understandable, we even joked about it being the first week! ๐Ÿ™‚ ), but she was very knowledgeable about the menu and the pastries at the counter. All the pastries are baked fresh in house daily and the food is prepped in the back. We were just there for coffee and a snack, so we ordered an almond croissant to share.

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The almond croissant was flaky, nutty, and only slightly sweet. The huge croissant was also perfect for the two of us to share. Plenty for two girls to nibble on while chatting up a storm.

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I paired the almond croissant with a cappuccino, which was just okay. It was missing something, but I couldn’t tell you what.

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We enjoyed our croissant, but I have to say that I think we were missing out on some of the other food on the menu. Seriously, the flatbreads, soups, salads, and elegant baskets of french fries that passed us by all looked incredible. We would both like to return for lunch to see if the food on the menu tastes as good as it looks.

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Dee and I stayed quite a while playing catch up. It was good to see her and I hope to see more of her in the future. We’re both doing an Ironman this year, so I see a lot of training rides/runs together in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚

At home, I reheated some leftover Hearty Meatball and Spinach Soup for dinner.

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With a side of cucumber slices and cheddar cheese.

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Derek just put “The Great Mouse Detective” on via Netflix. GREAT movie! I haven’t seen it in years, talk about a nostalgic movie. Awwww… memories.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Christine @ BookishlyB January 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm

What’s next in the queue? American Tale? Rescuers Down Under? Kidding ๐Ÿ˜‰ I wish we had more options in terms of local coffee places- all that’s near me is Starbucks and the Coffee Bean. Fine for coffee, not so much for charm.
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2 TorontoRunner January 23, 2013 at 11:13 pm

I absolutely love finding little coffee shops/bakerys to go to. It’s the BEST atmosphere for a girlie catch up!
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3 MrsSwan January 23, 2013 at 11:14 pm

That case is really empty. Your croissant looks yummy though.
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4 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope January 24, 2013 at 7:02 am

I love little coffee shops/cafes like that! I wish there were some around me. We only have the chains like Starbucks.
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5 Madison January 24, 2013 at 7:39 am

It is fun to discover new coffee spots, eh? They really have their own personality. That almond croissant does look delicious!
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6 sara @ fitcupcaker January 24, 2013 at 7:43 am

I love finding little, new coffee and tea shops ๐Ÿ™‚
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7 Erin January 24, 2013 at 8:06 am

I love little cozy coffee shops, I hope it lives up to the expectations! Do you drink coffee every morning?

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8 Meghann January 24, 2013 at 10:18 am

I do. My husband and I have a Keruig so I usually have one cup after breakfast, when I’m writing my morning post.

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9 Natalie @ Free Range Human January 24, 2013 at 9:37 am

I love The Great Mouse Detective! It seems to be the week for Disney movies ๐Ÿ™‚
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10 Emily N January 24, 2013 at 9:54 am

wow it HAS been a long time since i have seen that movie. i think i might have seen it in a theater… holy smokes…
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11 Marie January 24, 2013 at 9:56 am

A soft opening is like practice opening when a restaurant opens its doors without any fanfare. Usually not advertised except by word of mouth. The benefit
is that guests are usually more accepting of minor mistakes if they know the restaurant is still not fully open. This allows the staff to get a feel for operating the restaurant while still giving them several days or even weeks to settle any major issues before the grand opening. Scheduling both a soft opening day and a grand opening will give the restaurant staff a better chance of running a successful operation.

In other words, you could have been a little more forgiving of their mistakes. It would have helped them out more if you’d spoken to THEM about your issues, rather than rushing home to give them a poor review on your blog.

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12 Lisa January 24, 2013 at 10:03 am

I wanted to mention this, too. Soft-openings help restaurants smooth out any bumps before holding a grand opening, including bumps with everything you criticized (the decor, the procedures, and the coffee). It sounds like you just wanted to nitpick, instead of offering any constructive comments. What’s more, you have now singled out that employee, and she could face ramifications if her boss takes your comments literally. Please be more judicious with your critiques–people have lost their jobs because of reviews more misguided than yours.

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13 Claire January 24, 2013 at 10:16 am

I agree. I can’t imagine being that cafe shop owner and having your review being one of the first things written about it. They have only been open for one week – the things you criticized them for come with any soft opening. I just found it a bit uncalled for. They are clearly a small business, not a massive chain like Starbucks where soft openings don’t even exist. It’s hard enough for them to stay in business even with glowing reviews.

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14 Meghann January 24, 2013 at 10:20 am

It wasn’t a meant to be a bad critique just an observation that they’re new and still learning the ropes. I can’t wait to return for lunch and plan to do so in the next week.

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15 Alyssa January 24, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I rarely comment but I just feel so bad for this employee. I’ve worked many retail jobs, and made my share of mistakes on the cash register, because most people make mistakes at their jobs at some point. I would have been mortified to have been called out on the internet on a blog with thousands of readers. I understand that wasn’t your intention but that really resonated with me, because I’ve been in her shoes, and it’s embarrassing enough in the moment, no extra humiliation is needed!
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16 Jessica January 24, 2013 at 10:33 am

I am friends with the owners sister. I hear he is an excellent chef. I want to go and check out his food too!
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17 Meghann January 24, 2013 at 10:35 am

Let me know when you want to go! The fancy basket of fries and flatbreads looked amazing!

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18 Shari January 24, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Goodness. People make mistakes, maybe it was her first day on the job or maybe her mom is very ill and she just got the news. I’m certainly glad that I don’t have bloggers critiquing every mistake or bad day that I have. Please read through your posts. There are spelling and grammatical errors daily and that’s your job. Don’t critique the coffee shop employee when you publish mistakes multiple times daily in your job. You know. The whole throwing stones at glass houses thing.

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