Le Pain Quotidien Opens on Walnut Street

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We’ve all known it was coming, thanks to the massive photos of freshly baked bread and decadent little desserts slathered across the windows for the past few months. And with a name like Le Pain Quotidein, we have been dreaming about still-warm croissants and crusty French baguettes. The bakery opened its doors last week and two surprises have been revealed: they serve way more than bread and there’s no bakery on premise.

The interior fits the bill for what a Belgian bakery might look like, with rustic walls, communal tables, shabby shelves stacked with pantry fodder and a set of ancient-looking doors hung on the wall for some serious statement art. There’s a take-out area with a rainbow of treats and a coffee bar, or you can settle into one of the farmhouse tables for a more formal nosh.

Open all day and for all three meals, the menu builds off of baked goods, but then mixes in organic eggs, garden-fresh salads, simmering soups and a slew of hearty dishes for dinner. Start your morning with Paris ham, Gruyere and muesclun on a croissant, a ricotta, mission fig and honey tartine (think sandwich missing one of the slices) atop organic wheat bread, and for dinner lentil stew with chicken and chorizo. There’s even a small beer and wine menu for those needing an extra kick at the end of a long day. The restaurant, which while new to us has locations in more than 15 countries, strives to use local and organic ingredients as possible.

But right now, local bread isn’t in the cards. According to Michael Klein’s peak inside last week, they are shipping bread up from their Washington D.C. location for now.

Let’s hope that “as possible” means there might be a Philly-based oven heating up soon. Until then, let’s hope the traffic on I-95 is light.

Le Pain Quotidien is located at 1425 Walnut St., Philadelphia, 215.751.0570, www.lepainquotidien.us.

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