Le Petit Parisien was one of the world’s most widely-circulated newspapers prior to World War II, reaching an audience of millions, until it was taken over by Nazi collaborators during their occupation of France and eventually shuttered following that country’s liberation. What does any of that have to do with the Upper East Side in 2022? Well, descendants of the newspaper’s original owner resurrected the name for their authentic French baguette sandwich shop, which is set to open a newest Manhattan location right here on the UES.
‘Coming soon’ posters featuring photos of Le Petit Parisien’s deliciously simple sandwiches now hang in the windows of storefront at 355 East 78th Street just west of First Avenue— formerly the home to acclaimed Thai restaurant Maison Bangkok which closed at the end of May after just three and a half years.
‘Sandwiches that used to be a newspaper’ is how Le Petit Parisien describes itself– and just like the words originally printed in the old-time publication, the focus is on quality and authenticity.
Nowadays, that means using the finest ingredient and highest standards, including flour delivered from France using traditional baking techniques to make sure every bite of your baguette is perfectly crisp.
When they say simple sandwiches, they mean it. Their classic ‘jambon-beurre’ sandwich, as it’s known in France, is dubbed ‘Le Parisien’ at the shop and features just two ingredients— shaved bone-in Parisien-style cooked ham and butter.
That’s all it has and all it needs to delight diners. But you can add a little whole-grain mustard to the sandwich at no charge for a little spice.
The menu features a total twelve sandwiches— named after French icons like Marie-Antoinette, Charles de Gaulle and Louis XIV stuffed with ham, duck rillettes— where the meat is slow-cooked in fat, smoked tuna and salmon, fois gras and even royal Siberian caviar.
That’s not to mention a variety of cheeses including fresh goat cheese, Fourme d’Ambert bleu cheese and camembert.
Le Petit Parisien even has something for those searching for a meatless or plant-based French sandwich. Brigitte Bardot is a great option for vegetarians and includes artichoke, fresh goat cheese, kale, tomatoes and extra virgin olive oil. Skip the goat cheese to make it vegan.
Jeanne D’Arc comes vegan and is stuffed with olive spread, roasted red peppers, artichokes, mustard, mushrooms and arugula.
A selection of soups, salads and traditional French quiches round out the menu— while you’ll also find an assortment of pastries and baked goods available to satisfy breakfast cravings or your sweet tooth.
If the interiors of their other sandwich shops located in Harlem and the East Village are any indication of what to expect on the UES, we should see at least one wall decorated with copies of their namesake newspaper inside the new restaurant, which appears to be significantly larger than their other locations.
Le Petit Parisien tells Upper East Site they’re aiming to open the new UES location by the end of July.