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Restaurant Openings

Week of May 5, 2008: Royale Cafe + Pastry and Le Petit Belge.


Royale Cafe + Pastry
461 Sixth Ave., at 11th St. 212-255-5236
Two months old but semi-camouflaged beneath a sign for the defunct annex of Sammy’s Noodle Shop, Royale is a product of its proximity to P.S. 41, around the corner. That’s where the daughters of both of Royale’s partners attend kindergarten, and where much of the café’s afternoon business comes from. “We’re getting a great response from the parents, not as much from the kids,” says Rafi Avramovitz, who stocks the display case with confections from Baked in Red Hook, where he’s also a partner. They’re among several local products the shop sells: Saratoga water, GuS soda, and Gimme! coffee, from the Ithaca-based outfit that also trains Royale’s baristas. Avramovitz says his architect wife, Ravit, did wonders with the spot’s tiny size and odd triangular configuration. “There’s even room for moms with strollers.”

Le Petit Belge
22 E. 14th St., nr. University Pl.; 212-807-7027
When the waffles-to-go kiosk that Belgian expats Maor Livni and Greg Galel had planned for Logan Airport was nixed by a security-crazed fire marshal, the partners transplanted the business to Manhattan, where they’ve converted the former Tavalon tea shop into Le Petit Belge. A shrine of sorts to all things Belgian—or at least to Liège waffles, various imported chocolates, and paper cones full of mini-pancakes they call “poffys”—the shop takes a cannily ecumenical approach to New York snack food. That’s why it also serves frozen yogurt, provided by Berrywild, and rugalach made with Callebaut chocolate. And tea drinkers will still find the Tavalon line, in hot, frozen, and bubble varieties.


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