Batter's Up

Detroit has several French connections, and now it has another — a delightfully unexpected little crêperie in downtown Detroit


Published:

Torya Blanchard stands at her electric crêpe maker, pouring batter onto its hot surface, then spreading it with what she calls her “rake,” a wooden tool that swirls the batter into a perfect 12-inch circle.

She flips the crêpe to its other side, then drops in a handful of fresh strawberrries and blueberries, folds the crêpe over the filling, squirts on some whipped cream, and voila! She’s produced a “Cora,” which she turns onto a paper plate atop a sheet of waxed paper and hands to a waiting customer.

All 20 crêpes on Blanchard’s menu have names. There’s the Katie, the Melinda, the Vera — friends and family of the Detroiter who loves Paris and is creating a tiny corner of it in her hometown.

Blanchard’s domain is a minuscule 48-square foot space with a window that opens to the downtown Detroit sidewalk on John R just east of Woodward where patrons walk up and order, which is a common arrangement in Paris.

Good Girls Go to Paris, the crêperie she opened in July, serves its repertoire of $3 to $5 savory and sweet crêpes to an eclectic audience of business people, construction workers, and often-surprised passersby, who eat them just as they would a hot dog or a hot pretzel from a street vendor.

It takes just about three minutes to produce a finished product, and Blanchard makes it look easy, chatting with the customers as she works.

The crêperie is about as unexpected in Detroit as a Coney Island stand would be in Paris, where she learned to love the dish. She had gone there in 1998 as an au pair to look after two children in the ninth arondissement, despite her pretty shaky French, mostly because, “It was a free trip” and she was unsure of what she wanted to do as a career after studying engineering for a while at Michigan Tech.

When she returned after two years, she got serious and studied French at Wayne State University, and then taught the language for five years at Consortium High School, a Detroit charter school.

But the idea of bringing the kind of fresh crêpes she had enjoyed in Paris to the downtown audience was always in the back of her mind.

When she happened to pass by the space on John R and saw a for-rent sign, the concept of Good Girls Go to Paris began to take shape.

Besides the electric crêpe maker, there is room only for a small refrigerator, a sink, and a few shelves. Fresh produce and cheeses for savory crêpes, such as the Sarah (mushrooms, chèvre, spinach, and red pepper) come from the Eastern Market, often picked up for her by her husband, Rick.

Eastern Market is also where Blanchard intends to open a second crêperie, if all goes according to plan.

2 John R, Detroit; 313-964-2023. 

Edit Module
Edit Module

Hour Detroit Magazine

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

This Bank-turned-restaurant is Another Reason to Love Clarkston's Dining Scene

The Fed Community is serving up good food in a kid-friendly atmosphere

River Bistro is One of Detroit's Hottest New Restaurants – and It's Not in Downtown

The Northwest Detroit restaurant is just the beginning for the hometown chef

Red Dunn Kitchen Boasts an Imaginative Menu with Plenty of Originality

Expect the exceptional at the Trumbull & Porter hotel’s restaurant

Review: Inside Detroit Vegan Soul’s New Westside Location

It's one of several restaurant openings in Grandmont Rosedale this year

The World Is Their Oyster

Chefs’ fresh, flavorful fare that highlights seafood from near and far makes a trip to Ferndale’s Voyager memorable
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Why Abdul El-Sayed's Run for Governor Is for Real
    Can a political rookie from Michigan become America's first Muslim governor?
  2. Female Entrepreneurs Are Staking Their Claim in Detroit
    These three women-owned businesses are unstacking the deck
  3. Michigan’s Craft Distilleries Are Setting Their Sights on Bourbon
    Proof that the best things require patience
  4. Inside the Resurrected Takoi
    The restaurant has survived arson and controversy to claim a top spot in Detroit's culinary scene
  5. The Era of Autonomous Vehicles May Be Here Sooner than Expected
    What does that mean for Detroit's legacy automakers?
  6. Introducing the Nordin Brothers: The Duo Behind the Detroit Design Center
    You may not know their names, but chances are, you've seen their art
  7. The Faces of Michigan Wine: Josh Morgan
    To say that 2017 was a pivotal year for Josh Morgan would be putting it mildly.
  8. Meet the Makers: Pingree Detroit
    The brand is employing veterans to craft upcycled leather totes and journals
  9. It's Game On for Detroit's 'Bar Arcade' Scene
    M-Brew, Pop + Offworld, and Ready Player One pair microbrews with retro video games
  10. What You Need to Know About Oil and Gas Drilling in the Suburbs
    Energy companies are staking out new territory in metro Detroit