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 Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

A Prime + Proper Progress Report

The Detroit steakhouse is on its way to becoming one of downtown’s destination dining spots

Exploring the Art of Over-the-Top Cocktails

We gave five of metro Detroit’s top bartenders full creative freedom to craft their most avant-garde concoctions. What we got exceeded our highest expectations

Inside the Resurrected Takoi

The restaurant has survived arson and controversy to claim a top spot in Detroit's culinary scene

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
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. 7 Michigan Breweries Worth a Trip
    Check out these must-visit locations during your summer travels
  2. To Market, to Market
    Michigan Wine & Cider Festival at Eastern Market May 24
  3. Your Guide to Michigan’s Odd and Unusual Festivals
    We rounded up some of the state’s most niche events, celebrating everything from fishflies to...
  4. Hour Media’s Real Estate All-Star Party 2017
    Hour Media's Real Estate All-Stars celebrated at the fourth annual Real Estate All-Star Party...
  5. Meet the Southwest Detroit Pizzeria Serving Sospeso
    PizzaPlex in southwest Detroit is challenging what it means to be a new business on the block
  6. Dry Times: Looking Back 100 Years After Prohibition
    A century ago, Detroit became the first city in the nation to prohibit alcohol
  7. An Hour With... Candice S. Miller
    Macomb County Public Works Commissioner
  8. The Gentleman’s Guide to Style
    From grooming to shopping, a comprehensive directory for stylish men in metro Detroit
  9. Motherhood in Metro Detroit
    From pre-pregnancy thoughts to developing unconditional love, several local women give a glimpse...
  10. The Michigan Opera Theatre Pays Homage to a Negro League Baseball Legend
    The program honors Josh Gibson while exploring themes about discrimination and race