When Dusty Lockhart couldn’t find a specific tile with an intricate print she discovered on archival microfiche, she commissioned an artist to design a stencil of the scalloped, fan-like pattern inspired by the art deco era of 1930s France. She then hired a team to hand-paint it on the floor—it took eight days—in repeating lines across her restaurant. The result is both stunning and welcoming.
Petite LouLou, from Lockhart, a restaurant publicist, and her Italian-born, fine-dining-trained husband, Stefano Frigerio, serves one of their family’s favorite foods: crepes. But the creperie and coffee shop is more than French street food; it turns out daily classics, like a coq au vin and duck a l’orange. A midweek beef bourguignon is tender, sauced beef swirled with pudding-like mashed potatoes.
Everything here is tried-and-true, studied, traditional. A French onion soup is light, with a flavor that deepens as the cheese infuses into the broth. Available every night, steak (rosy hanger) frites (dark, crispy fries) is elevated with an almost frothy side of bearnaise.
The Purcellville counter operation (there’s also no table service at night) displays cream puffs, croissants, plus a scrambled egg and gruyere gallete formed into a square with extra dough crisscrossed over top. It’s excellent at first bite—and is even good taken home and microwaved the next morning. Baked eggs, with yolks just-set, sits in a bath of cream with pieces of smoked salmon and
manages to be hearty, indulgent and elegant.
The Croque Madame is a standout with rosemary-scented ham pressed together with gruyere and crowned with a fried egg. It’s crusty and cheesy, a little sweet and miraculously meaty. It does a classic proud.
Lockhart and Frigerio live across the street, on more than a 1-acre plot with two goats, three chestnut trees and four children. In season, Frigerio tells his kids to gather the prickly nuts from the yard—a chore they hate because of the sharp thorns and the more than 500 pounds that fall to the ground. He then will make chestnut soup, roast the chestnuts out on the restaurant’s patio, and turn them into a crepe filling: savory, earthy even, but still in dessert territory. Naturally, the children won’t eat it.
Petite LouLou Creperie + Bar a Vins
713 E. Main St. Purcellville; lapetiteloulou.com
Open for breakfast and lunch Sunday through Wednesday and breakfast, lunch and dinner Thursday through Saturday
Appetizers: $5-$13; Entree: $14-$22