The French Market Crêperie, Knoxville TN

Oh, heck, I might have created a monster here.

This past Saturday, Marie and I returned to Knoxville, one of our favorite cities, for a few hours to pick up my son for the Christmas break. We’d planned to leave my daughter in the care of her aunt and cousins, go have a couple of meals and shop and have a good time, and then collect both kids after lunch. So that left us looking for a very good breakfast for the two of us after starting the day at the very early hour of five. I kind of figured that making Marie wake that early for a Knoxville-and-back road trip was going to require penance in the form of an awesome meal.

Urbanspoon’s readers have given knockout reviews to The French Market Crêperie, located downtown on Gay Street in the Farragut Building. The owners, Allen and Susan Tate, whom we met Saturday morning, wanted to bring a little bit of the flavor of the Parisian shops that they loved visiting while traveling in France to Knoxville in 2008, having ruled out Atlanta as a potential destination based, in small part, on our godawful traffic. Well, our idiotic city planners’ ongoing folly is definitely Knoxville’s gain. With imported wheat and flour to make their crêpes and all sorts of luscious meats and jams to fill them, the Tates have turned their small space, with seven small tables inside, into the absolute must-visit destination for breakfasts in the area.

It’s so darn good that we’re probably going to end up eating there at least every other visit to town. Now, you wouldn’t think that would be a problem, because everybody likes amazing food, right? Except, when you add in the must-visit lunch that we enjoyed for the third time later that afternoon (about which more in the next entry), it will really make it difficult to feature a truly good selection of Knoxville’s excellent restaurants here on our blog. How the heck are we supposed to try lots of different breakfast places in the city with the same one calling us back every time?

At any rate, Marie is much more familiar with crêpes than me, as she’s spent quite some time with family in the Netherlands. To hear her tell it, the Dutch are crazier about crêpes and pancakes than any other breakfast food. So she came into The French Market with a pretty good idea of what she hoped to get out of it, and was knocked stone cold by the experience. Marie smiles a lot more than anybody you ever met, but it’s a pretty rare day that she accompanies that killer smile of hers with a little happy booty shake after trying the blueberry crêpe on offer here. Served with lemon curd and the most amazingly decadent sweet cream I think I’ve ever had, this was definitely a traffic-stopping breakfast.

Well, while Marie went with a sweet crêpe, I went with savory. I had a ham and cheese buckwheat crêpe with a little butter. It was very good. Okay, so there was a little menu envy on this trip, but if I had not ordered the ham, I wouldn’t be able to tell you how terrific it was. The Swiss cheese was not at all greasy, either. This was an absolutely superb breakfast. We split a croissant which was the equal if not the better of the croissants from Doceur de France here in Marietta and Marie had a nice cup of wonderful breakfast tea. For those who prefer coffee, they serve imported Italian Lavazza varieties.

We’re also keen to return one day and try out their lunches. They offer a few baguette and croissant sandwiches that sound amazing. I am very keen to try their chicken salad one day soon.

Upon speaking to the Tates, thanking them for our meal, and talking of our own neighborhood French bakery, they wanted us to leave with a complementary chocolate croissant. Now that I think about it, we probably violated journalistic / blogger integrity by accepting a free gift, but in our defense, we didn’t let them know that we write up a food blog, we let my daughter have the gift after just having nibbles of it, and Marie was doing her little happy booty-shaking dance in her seat several minutes earlier, so they were assured of a decent writeup already. The French Market had already won her affections as Marie’s favorite breakfast in the city, and in the next chapter, I’ll tell you about her favorite pizza, anywhere.


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