Plano Eats

New cafe adds French charm to downtown Plano

New cafe adds French charm to downtown Plano

Allumette Cafe
Photo courtesy of Allumette Cafe

A new restaurant is coming to old downtown Plano, trying out a spot that has seen more than a few concepts come and go. Called Allumette Cafe, it will open at 1045 15th Pl., in the space most recently occupied by the cake bakery Bake Rejoice.

Allumette comes from chef James Coulter, a former instructor at the now-closed Le Cordon Bleu who also worked at Seventeen Seventeen and at a presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas; and Jenny Berryhill, a Le Cordon Bleu graduate who has worked at restaurants including Five Sixty and Modmarket.

Set to open in early fall, Allumette Cafe will take a healthy emphasis, with a menu of sandwiches, salads, and soups.

Aspiring to an urban vibe, Allumette is a few blocks from the downtown Plano rail line stop. It has a quick-service option for food to-go, but also a dining room where you can eat in. On weekends, it'll host late-night and live entertainment and eventually a Sunday brunch.

It's a sweet building but it faces a slight challenge in that it's not right on the main 15th Street drag but is instead one street north, at the corner of Avenue K. It has been home to more than one coffee shop such as Fusion Cafe; decades ago, it was home to a branch of Coffee Haus, one of the earliest coffee shops in DFW that opened before Starbucks arrived.

"I know that the location has had a few things there, but I always thought it was a good spot," Coulter says. "They're doing some things in downtown Plano with developing an arts district, and we'll be in a good place for that."

The menu will include a lot of scratch cookery, even down to its own mayonnaise. Coulter will also run a catering operation for personal and corporate events. They'll also offer "at home" bistro classes where they bring the tools, equipment, and ingredients to your home and turn it into a fun and/or team-building event.

"I've hired a lot of my former students from Le Cordon Bleu, and they're all trained in French techniques," Coulter says. "We won't be French, but we'll be using those techniques."

Signature items will include a Cobb salad, made more thoughtfully than the usual version, with an assortment of ingredients that includes watercress. There will also be a daily bistro item such as beef bourgignon or roast chicken that runs through lunch and dinner.

Sandwiches include an "ultimate BLT" with pork belly, Bibb lettuce, tomatoes, and a poached egg. A turkey club will have house-made bacon, Bibb lettuce, and Muenster cheese. The "Big D" will be a sandwich with pastrami-style duck breast served on rye bread with mustard, red cabbage slaw, and Swiss cheese.

"So you can come in and get farm-to-table quality food but with a quick-service platform," Coulter says.