In the original Parisian sense, a bistro is a small and usually chef-owned neighborhood restaurant serving rustic, casual food. Chalkboard menus, seasonal specials, square tables that can be moved together and wooden chairs for the eclectic mix of patrons. Mirrors on the wall and stacks of glasses, plates and wine bottles lining shelves. A rustle of newspaper over fresh coffee. Students huddle in conversation. Wine glasses lifted as the regulars say hello.
Nestled along 200 East near the City Library Trax station, the new Lumi Bistro is co-owner Carmen Fournier's take on an authentic French bistro experience, culminating from fond memories of times spent in European and Seattle bistros. Her business partner Evan Sherow has a formal education in conservation biology at Kansas State University, a lifelong passion for cooking, and extensive experience in the food industry. The result is a welcoming, unpretentious niche that serves unique, carefully sourced food made from scratch.
"Working in corporate environment was a big turning point for me," Sherow explains. The 28 year old was inspired by her passions for ecology and gardening, and for food and all the effects it has on the environment and people—those who produce it and those who eat it.
The friendly crew there gathers many of the varied menu ingredients from the local farms and farmers' markets. The rmenu features high-quality artisan products from local sources such as Rockhill Creamery, Snowy Mountain Sheep Creamery, Clifford Family Farm, Christiansen Family Farm, Slide Ridge Honey, Creminelli Fine Meats, Shepards Dairy, Millcreek Coffee Roasters and Eva's Bakery. And people are coming back for the flavorful, robust food. Although Lumi Bisto only opened four months ago, it has already has quite a few regulars; "it's going very well so far." Lumi's menu reflects handmade bistro-inspired comfort food: four different crepes ($6), a daily selection of meat and sweet pastries, seasonal fruit tartlets, and more.
There are fresh salads ($8-$12), a daily soup ($5) and a selection of sandwiches with a choice of couscous, salad or fresh fruit ($7.50-$10). All the meats are roasted in-house. The overhead chalkboard features the daily lunch and dinner specials.
Brunch is served all day. For dinner, try a Croque Monsieur or Croque Madame ($7-$8), baked eggs, ($8), seasonal fruit selections ($4) or daily quiches ($6). So far, the most popular dish seems to be the House Niçoise Salad with wild salmon, boiled egg and potato, season vegetables, Niçoise olives and house dressing. "The croques are starting to catch on," Sherow says. "Once someone sees them, they want one!"
There is a casual small bites menu as well ($4-$7), including a gourmet selection of cheeses and charcuterie with perfectly orchestrated accompaniments. Sherow explains that she is obsessed with cheese, having sold it for several years. For instance, she pairs Occelli, an Italian cheese rubbed with malted barley and whiskey, with candied lemon zest and fresh baguette slices. Ossau Iraty, a Basque sheep's milk cheese, is accompanied by spiced cherry preserves.
Customers can order local beers, an array of wines, loose leaf teas and selections from a full gourmet coffee bar. Signature champagne cocktails ($4) are very popular. The current special is a Basil Plum Champagne featuring just-picked basil from the front window garden. "Lumi serves organic Himalayan coffee beans sourced from private farms in Nepal," says Fournier who, along with her Nepalese husband, also owns Himalayan Kitchen.
The owners aim to maintain a relaxed, down-to-earth environment that is genuinely friendly as part of their recipe for success. The Bistro itself is an eclectic mix of old and new. Gleaming metal surfaces and wall mirrors pair with farmhouse wood furniture and plaster finishes. Local art lines the wall; cozy couches nest in a corner and large street-side windows illuminate the dining area.
Lumi is short for lumiere, reflecting the owners' passion of an enlightened approach to old traditions.
801-906-8946. Metro Building #100, 350 So. 200 East.