Charles Sorel is no stranger to blighted neighborhoods in the early stages of gentrification. He's also no stranger to success in such neighborhoods--his first restaurant venture, Chez Oskar, in the then-rough-and-tumble neighborhood of Fort Greene in Brooklyn, was wildly successful, and to this day is still considered one of the best in the area (in an area that now boasts A LOT of bistros). He went on to open Cafe Lafayette, another popular and well-received establishment catering towards lighter tastes and lower prices.
Sorel was born in Martinique and raised in Paris, having lived in New York for almost two decades and most recently spending four years in Brazil. His background is colorful and cultured, and one can only hope that this variegated history is reflected in his food (ideally a blend of simple, classic French cafe foods with a Martinician flair, which combines elements of Indian, Chinese, north African, and Creole cultures, as Chez Oskar was known for).
Le Petit Zinc, Sorel's latest venture located at 1055 Trumbull (at Howard) right here in Detroit, is now open for business. It is a cozy and colorful location with a spacious outdoor patio that is sure to be abuzz in the summertime. Sorel serves a simple menu of breakfast pastries, crepes, salads, and sandwiches, with a full selection of espresso beverages, coffee, and tea to complement. Sorel is also currently working on acquiring a wine and beer license, which is no small feat in this city.
Le Petit Zinc is open Monday-Saturday 8:30AM-5:00PM for breakfast and lunch. Stop in for a croissant and cappuccino, relax and read the paper, or have a chat with owner Sorel, a colorful character. Take a moment to enjoy this casual Parisian cafe in Corktown.