Northwest locals who love the taste of a buttery morning croissant, or a tomato, garlic, romaine and vinaigrette-covered baguette can now savor the flavor a little closer to home.
Ghini's French Caffe, of central Tucson, has opened another restaurant, located in the lobby of Desert Cardiology, 6080 N. La Cholla Blvd.
Ghini's Petite Caffe, as the 10-table northern restaurant is called, serves breakfast pastries, salads, sandwiches, desserts and coffees, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Before the Petite Caffe opened, and even now, the original Ghini's Caffe had a lot of patrons from the Northwest, said Dee Wasson, front of house manager at Ghini's French Caffe.
Opening the new restaurant made sense, because now those patrons can get the food without the drive, Wasson said.
The kitchen at the new Petite restaurant is, well… petite, said general manager Mike Lopez, so though he does make a quiche du jour, his menu has been slightly condensed to avoid some of the more cooking-intensive dishes.
Patrons can get the chicken cordon bleu sandwich with brie and Gruyere cheese, for example, but not the "soupions a l'ail," or calamari with onions, garlic and white wine offered at the original restaurant in a strip mall on East Prince Road.
The owner of both Ghini's restaurants, Coralie Satta-Williams, is from Provence, the southern region of France known as wine country. Her father calls her "Ghini," with a hard "G," thus the name of the restaurants.
Satta-Williams' background is reflected in the cuisine, and in the Ghini's Petite dcor of lavender, wheat and sunbathed orangish walls in the image of Southern France.
Satta-Williams and Lopez found their spot in Desert Cardiology by chance, Satta-Williams said.
Lopez had been working another job and driving around the north side in his hours off, looking for a place to set up shop.
A member of the marketing staff at Desert Cardiology was a patron at the original Ghini's French Caffe and a friend of Satta-Williams. The friend at Desert Cardiology made an offer.
Ghini's Petite Caffe has been drawing a crowd of nearby residents and patrons recommended by Northwest Medical Center staff, Lopez said.
Lopez takes a lot of call-ahead orders, because the NMC staff is less than a 10 minute walk away.
Business fluctuates between 55 and 95 customers per day, depending on the season.
"A lot of people who come in here I can call by name, or ask how their son is or how their daughter is," Lopez said.
Ghini's Petite Caffe also stocks turnovers, bear claws, strawberry shortcake and various types of fresh-baked bread from La Baguette Bakery, run by William's father.
The prices rival what a customer would pay at a sandwich shop.
"At a lot of other sandwich shops you have to buy your side. But here we give it so them, so it's really quite reasonable," Lopez said.
Ham and cheese croissant with a side of greens: $4.75.
A bowl of French onion soup with baguettes topped with Gruyere: $4.75.
It wouldn't make sense to charge more, Satta-Williams said.
Opening another restaurant has been good business, Satta-Williams said. She's considering opening more branches around town, if she finds the right staff to manage them.
For more information, call 547-3526.