Tom Perez's Le Petit Cafe is Now a Tourist Attraction in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn

Tom Perez transformed his tiny muffin shop into the most unique meeting place in all of Brooklyn.

(PRWEB) April 21, 2005 -- Le Petit Café – Where French Provincial Meets the Kasbah

If you want to step into a totally ‘other’ world for just a cup of Joe, and you happen to be in Brooklyn, then Tommy Perez’s Le Petit Cafe on Luquer and Court Streets is the place you didn’t even have enough imagination to dream of. Tom began it on a whim with his then wife, as a mere muffin shop. Since then it has morphed in size 8 fold and is hardly petit, but it is certainly intimate, even breathtaking, exotic and down right fun.

Now it’s his obsession and when a guy as talented as Tom obsesses – watch out world. “If I were a cave man I’d be out there imagining instead of hunting.” He’s the youngest of six in an immigrant Puerto Rican family, the handy one, the kid that dropped out of High School and labored at Path Mark and then moved on to a career as a set designer with his work in the Time/Life series.

The little place he built with his own hands was an immediate draw to the lumbering creative community of the area. Until Tom, there was no place special and eye filling to think lofty thoughts or just tuck into a tasty brick size brownie.

“It was a chance I took to give the neighborhood something no one had – a place of their own. A beautiful place to fill their eyes and give them peace and relieve stress. I wanted them to meet here and make it their spot.” And they have - in droves. Everyone, in fact, teachers, retirees, tourists, immigrants with rebozos, policemen.

In fact, the world passes through here every day because Tom teaches them to look up. He changes the settings every now and then, more now than then, simply because of his restive artistic eye and need to perfect. So he inadvertently teaches his patrons to use their eyes. That’s why he had a series of murals painted, replicas of the Sistine chapel, which he set in decorative molding in the ceiling. Look up, look down, look all around.

“When I want to get off this planet, I look up at the sky. I can’t get over the design of the sky.” He wants to work a bit on his grammar but there's nothing he need improve in the realm of design. He understands when it is done successfully - how it lets the mind soar, and has inadvertently rediscovered the very tenets of Willam Cullen Bryant and Frederic Law Olmstead and even John Ruskin.

Tom is the populist set designer, fully understanding that function should be exquisite and how that let’s the mind scale new heights, and lets everyone come in, meet and restore themselves.

Under a tent in a tiered back yard, with fountains, and organically shaped bronze fixtures, tree stumps and twining vines, Tom provides you with heat, candle light, woolen shawls and now satisfying and savory food all at very, very reasonable prices.

With his new partner, Jose, a kid he literally scooped off the street, Tom believes in spreading the wealth. “When I was 24 – I had no opportunity to own a business – I want to give him that chance. He deserves it. He’s a soldier.” An so is Tom, still opening at 6 and closing late, scrubbing and serving and re-inventing Le Petit every single day.

Alexandra Corbin
(full article available)