Baker Emily Rheingans got her start selling her pastries at the Minneapolis Farmers Market, and after a successful year there decided to do what so many have done before her: open a bricks-and-mortar shop. But rather than opening a baked goods shop, she’s opened a bakery-cafe in the Seward neighborhood and named it Mon Petit Chéri, a nod to her time spent in France studying baking. The cafe opened on Valentine’s Day, and it’s off to a promising start.
The space itself is charming and welcoming, decorated with a variety of vintage cooking implements, including framed displays of rolling pins, and the tabletops have pages from old cookbooks laminated onto them. Food is ordered at the counter and delivered to the table by friendly, enthusiastic servers.
Lunch is a treat here. The Swedish Reuben sandwich ($9, above) is made with limpa bread, a combination of rye and wheat that’s a bit less dense than whole wheat bread. But the limpa is sturdy enough to support the sizable slabs of corned beef and admirable amount of sauerkraut, and the grilling gave the bread a satisfyingly crunchy and greasy bite.
The ham and Brie sandwich ($8, above) is served on toasted house-baked baguette, with the warm brie oozing off the ham. There’s homemade mixed-berry jam on the sandwich too, which is a nice counter to the saltiness of the ham and richness of the Brie. Both sandwiches came with a serviceable, if unexciting, mixed-green salad. Currently Mon Petit Chéri does not sell beer or wine, which is a shame, because both of these sandwiches would have paired well with some local brews. Staff said the idea has been discussed, and it’s something customers have asked for.
Bakery items to go were not quite as successful. The croque monsieur pastry, which has ham and Gruyere rolled up in a pastry in the manner of a cinnamon roll, could be a tasty savory breakfast option, but the one we had was underbaked and doughy in the center. The baguette used in the ham and Brie sandwich was good and chewy, but one taken home to be eaten later turned out also to be somewhat underbaked — pale in color, and soft to the bite instead of giving that sense of starting a tug-of-war you get when biting into a baguette from Salty Tart or Rustica.
By contrast, the blueberry-sweet-orange roll ($2.25, above left) is a baked good worth returning for. The icing is brightly citrus-kissed, the blueberries pop with flavor, and while the roll is in fact sugary, it’s not sickly sweet. And it pairs wonderfully with coffee.
Mon Petit Chéri serves Dogwood Coffee products, although the lattes in-house are not up to the Dogwood standards. But Mon Petit Chéri has only been open a few weeks. Get the baked goods baked thoroughly and put a little more effort into the lattes, and this will be a cafe any neighborhood would be delighted to have.
James Norton contributed to this review.
Mon Petit Chéri
Bakery and casual eatery in Seward, Minneapolis
2401 E Franklin Ave
Minneapolis, MN 55406
OWNER / CHEF: Emily Rheingans
Mon-Sat 7 a.m.-7 p.m.
Sun 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
RESERVATIONS / RECOMMENDED?: No
VEGETARIAN / VEGAN: Yes / No
ENTREE RANGE: $8-$10
PARKING: Small lot, limited street parking