If you’re looking for a place in Calhoun County that conjures the atmosphere of a Parisian sidewalk cafe, your heart’s desire will be granted at Le Coin Des Artistes (which means “The Corner of Artists”). The bistro and coffee bar sits right next to Hubbards Off Main in the historic district of downtown Oxford. The business had its ribbon cutting on December 20 and is now open to an eager public.
Its owner, Dr. Davisson Edmond of Oxford, Alabama, states in a video created by the City of Oxford that the idea came to him through, “…Needing one thing, a place where I can come in and feel like I’ve stepped out of Oxford…They say that if you can’t find it, create it.”
The storefront pops from the street with a vibrant brick red face and bold black outlining the antique block windows. Once inside, the artwork (echoed in the bistro’s name) stands out immediately. Customers congregate to order at the wood-paneled, L-shaped marble-top counter, where sits random decorative items, a bread box, and space to serve up orders. Wrapping in the same L-shaped fashion overhead is a colorful handpainted fixture sporting portraits of famous artists from Vincent Van Gogh to Andy Warhol to Frida Kahlo. From the inside view, there’s a silhouette of Mona Lisa in all her radiant serenity.
An impactful standout statement mural bedecks the back wall–a giant reproduction of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” The corner is quaint with an antique couch, coffee table, and chairs for groups of 4-6 to congregate. The eye candy continues on the left side wall separating the dining room from the kitchen with a mural of a brown monochrome map of the world, overlapped here and there with vintage postage stamps and passport stamps, bottles and glasses of wine, a steaming cup of coffee, French bread, cheese, and grapes.
In a space between the kitchen and bathroom door, a dark Eiffel Tower image towers against a bright sunset background. In the back hall, the murals of rock walls covered with climbing roses frame an oceanside Mediterranean town. This will only cement the feeling that you could actually be dining in Europe.
Amber Burns, who was busy taking orders, preparing coffee drinks, and assisting with serving, is also the artist who painted the walls with the assistance of her partner Dan Seymour. The design of the entire cafe, from the paintings to the smaller art pieces to the antique furniture, was charming and inviting.
No matter how attractive the building may be, a restaurant’s survival rests on the food. The cuisine is described as European-inspired small plates including breakfast items, sandwiches, pastries, and salads. They also specialize in coffee beverages, handcrafted cocktails, and other non-alcoholic drinks.
This bistro is only open for breakfast and lunch and serves dishes that cater to both. The breakfast menu is as follows:
- Pain Perdu (French Toast)
- Omelette (Build Your Own)
- 2 Eggs Your Way
- Monte Cristo
While I didn’t visit at breakfast, I believe that menu is available in the afternoon, as I saw delicious-looking beignets being served to others. The lunch fare includes:
- French Dip
- Bahn Mi
- Soup & Sandwich
- Ratatouille Soup
- Pork Belly Sandwich
Most items range anywhere from $10.99 to $15.99, with a few exceptions being less like the beignets, tartine, and soup. At present, there are no side items accompanying the sandwiches. I was initially disappointed, but when served a delicious Cuban pork sandwich, I quickly forgot.
The toasted Cuban bread was soft, the perfect compliment to tender, juicy, flavorful slices of pork. The gourmet pickles, ham, Swiss cheese, and mustard all blended together to create a flavorful delight dripping with goodness. Since the Peerless Saloon discontinued their Cuban in recent years, I haven’t been able to find one to compare. I have to say that this Cuban sandwich outdid those of the past hands-down!
Their coffee menu, which I didn’t indulge in this time, features:
- Caffe Latte
- Caffe Macchiato
- Flat White
- House Brew Coffee
- Red Eye
- Hot Chocolate
There are also bottled drink options, juices, and fountain drinks.
All the ingredients of continental class can be experienced at Le Coin Des Artistes, located at 12 Choccolocco St., Oxford, Alabama. Their hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from & am to 2 pm. For inquiries call (256) 403-6451.