But a French restaurant right downtown on Gay Street? Well, I’ll be!
And judging by the folks waiting for chairs on the patio or sipping lattes elbow to elbow inside, it’s been found by locals AND tourists alike!
During our two-week stay downtown, we ate there no less than three times — brunch, dinner, and aprés movie ( The Three Stooges, no less — nyuk, nyuk, nyuk)!
Allen and Susan Tate opened The French Market Crêperie in 2008 after wintering in France two years. After realizing they couldn’t make those delicate crêpes while standing and smiling all day only to get up to do it again the next, they hired great staff to cook crêpes and omelettes to order even ’til 10 on Fridays and Saturdays.
Susan (on right) says that she and Molly are the French Market girls, but as far as we can tell, everyone employed there can gently fold in imported buckwheat flour to make sweet or savory crêpes, bake pain au chocolate, or serve LavAzza, the world’s best-selling espresso!
You stand at the bar, staring at the long list of crêpes — hearty main meal ones like Turkey, Bacon, and Avocado or sweet classics like Crêpe Suzette made with Grand Marnier Orange Cognac, sugar, caramel, and whipped cream!
For lunch one day, we split a Monte Cristo Ham & Cheese — just because we read that it was adorned with strawberry jam, butter, and powdered sugar!
Or maybe you order a fresh croissant (oui, oui!)– plain or bulging with scrambled egg and Provolone.
Ed Jacquemin drives in from Tazewell to have his favorite — Strawberries & Cream — fresh berries, homemade ricotta cheese, whipped cream, and almonds. But today, he’s having Lemon & Sugar, the choice of Sarah Pattison who was interviewed for the May 2012 issue of Southern Living! I don’t know why you’d waste your time with anything but the lemon-and-sugar crepe, Sarah says (Tennessee Living, p. 2).
On the last night downtown, we split our ultimate favorite: a Nutella (hazelnut & chocolate) and Banana Crêpe topped with whipped cream drizzled like a Jackson Pollack canvas. Next time, we’re not sharing!
Click here for Mary’s article and the recipes!
You can follow Mary Constantine on Twitter at @skilletsister.
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The French Market Crepêrie
526 South Gay Street, Knoxville, TN
Monday: 9 to 3
Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday: 9 to 8
Friday & Saturday: 9 to 10
Sunday: 10 to 3