Le Petit Bijou by Domaine South mixes classically Southern and French influences to create an eclectic, contemporary dining experience in Huntsville, Ala. Half wine shop, half wine bar, the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence–winning concept comes from the locavore leaders behind Best of Award of Excellence winner Domaine South, located a short walk down the street.
The decor alone tempts the eyes, with brick walls lined with plush velvet lounge chairs and decked with charcoal portraits, oil paintings of pomegranates and minimalist embroideries. But wine lovers are sure to take a thoughtful look at the shelves of bottles in Le Petit Bijou’s retail space. General manager and wine director Hazel Sikorski began her career in wine retail more than 20 years ago, taking over as Domaine South’s wine director in 2019, a position she still holds. When Domaine South moved to a new location at 200 Westside Square, Sikorski helped reopen that restaurant’s original space as Le Petit Bijou, creating a more casual and intimate dining experience with an emphasis on naturally made and small-lot wines; it’s an approachable environment for consumers to learn about distinctive styles and regions off the beaten path.
Despite the small space, Le Petit Bijou packs in a whopping 1,300-bottle inventory, encompassing 270 selections available to-go or for on-site enjoyment with a $20 corkage fee. Guests can enjoy diverse, often lesser-known, varieties from across the globe, as well as low–production wines from the likes of Raúl Pérez, Railsback Frères and Stolpman, as well as conventional staples like Ridge, Lingua Franca and Evening Land. They can also further their wine education at Le Petit Bijou’s weekly tastings and classes as well.
The food is also a feast for the eyes. Though the restaurant is dubbed a “sandwich and wine bar,” it offers so much more. Chef Jen Smith’s breakfast menu is filled with favorites from across the South, like velvety cheddar grits, breakfast burritos bundled with Hatch green chiles and, occasionally, heaping plates of biscuits and gravy. Alternatively, diners can dive into the French side of the menu with dishes like tuna niçoise salad or spinach-Fontina quiche. And don’t forget the sandwiches: Le Petit Bijou’s BLT:DS improves upon the classic with tomato chutney, mozzarella and Black Forest ham, and the pumpernickel-swirl grilled cheese positively oozes with Fontina.