Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, July 15, 2016

River City – Sweet, savory wonders on Market Street

Creperie brings mouth-watering piece of France to Chattanooga

The Bee’s Knees tastes as good as it looks. - David Laprad

Until recently, the popularity of crepes has mystified me. I couldn’t understand why someone would want to eat a wafer-thin pancake when they could have a thick stack of the real thing. Then I stopped by the recently opened Adelle’s Ice Cream Creperie on Market Street and tried The Bee’s Knees – a decadent wonder stuffed with Nutella and topped with banana slices, honey, almonds, and cinnamon and maple sprinkles. It took me one bite to come around. I get it!

You have to see The Bee’s Knees to appreciate it. Imagine a freshly grilled 16 inch crepe, filled with hazelnut cocoa goodness, the toppings adding visual appeal to the appetizing aroma, and everything elegantly presented on a white, curved square plate. It’s like a piece of France in downtown Chattanooga.

If all Adelle’s offered was The Bee’s Knees, I believe they could rest easy, assured of success. But they offer four more sweet crepes: The Royale, which comes stuffed with fresh strawberries and Nutella, and is topped with powdered sugar and drizzled chocolate; Nuttin’ But Nutella; London’s Calling, a tart treat topped with lemon juice and organic sugar; and Miss American Pie, which boasts a house-made apple pie filling and is served drizzled with caramel. To make the latter a truly decadent treat, you could add a scoop of Adelle’s all-natural cinnamon brown sugar ice cream.

Are you getting it?

Let’s say you want lunch instead of dessert. Adelle’s has you covered with a selection of savory crepes. The Crowd Pleaser offers a hearty helping of ham, eggs, and Swiss cheese, and is topped with Hollandaise sauce. Then there’s the Better With Bacon, which offers an appetizing blend of bacon, eggs, Gruyere cheese, and Hollandaise sauce. Adelle’s cooks these ingredients fresh in the crepe –  including the eggs, which are fresh-cracked, not scrambled in advance.

While The Crowd Pleaser and the Better With Bacon make for a satisfying breakfast, Adelle’s is open until 2 p.m., which means they also need to satisfy the appetites of the lunch crowd. To this end, they offer The Roma (turkey, tomato, pesto, and Havarti Cheese topped with Adelle sauce), the Lean, Bean & Green (black beans, spinach, red onion, and Gruyere cheese topped with Adelle sauce), and the Fire in the Hole (spicy chicken, greens, and Gruyere cheese topped with Sriracha Aioli).

Even better: You can make your own crepe with these and other ingredients. A Swiss cheese, spinach, and mushroom crepe sounds good to me.

Being a crepe novice, I was initially hesitant to eat savory ingredients wrapped in a sweet crepe, but my concern was unfounded; Adelle’s crepe recipe works for both savory and sweet creations. On separate visits, I tried the Better With Bacon and The Bee’s Knees, and the crepe was delicious in each case; it complemented the sweetness of the ingredients in The Bee’s Knees and offset the savory ingredients in the Better With Bacon.

Although Adelle’s is about the crepes, a few other tempting treats caught my eyes while I was looking over the menu. The milkshakes are sure to be a popular item, as is the hand-dipped Blood Orange sorbet. Then there’s the cold-brewed coffee, the Rituals Ice Tea, and the San Pelegrino Sparking Orange beverage, among other drinks. Adelle’s encourages creativity, so I’m thinking about trying a scoop of Blood Orange sorbet in a San Pelegrino Sparking Orange.

I can picture myself enjoying my concoction on the sofa in the large dining area. Adelle’s is housed within The Granfalloon, a Southside event space. Located in a former warehouse, The Granfalloon hums with industrial and rustic ambience: its cinder block walls, high, exposed ceiling, and tasteful secondhand decor have an agreeable retro-modern feel. I described the furnishings to a friend as “random secondhand decor,” but the “odd chair here, odd couch there” approach works. Large windows along the front of the building let ample natural light into the room.

The Granfalloon becomes transparent when Adelle’s is open. A dozen or so tables are available, and there’s plenty of room between each one. The crew serves customers from a nook on the far side of the room, with the magic happening on the other side of a countertop where patrons place their order.

My first visit took place soon after Adelle’s opened at 7 a.m. on a weekday. I ordered the Better With Bacon and a hot tea (organic ginger peach black tea), took a seat, and consumed my breakfast. After I ate, I lingered, soaking up the quiet, relaxing atmosphere. It was a pleasant way to start the day.

Perhaps the most surprising thing about Adelle’s isn’t the food but its mastermind and co-owner, 12-year-old Adelle Pritchard. That’s right – the owner of the only dedicated creperie in Chattanooga is a young lady who hasn’t even reached her teens. Adelle’s parents helped her, of course, including her mother, Carla Pritchard, who owns the building in which the creperie resides as well as Chattanooga Presents. But the idea was all Adelle’s.

I spoke with a rosy-cheeked Adelle and her mother one morning after the breakfast crowd had thinned. Adelle said the idea for opening a creperie in Chattanooga came to her while she was visiting her father’s relatives in England. During the annual sojourn, Adelle and her parents also spend time in France, where pedestrians can purchase a variety of crepes from street-corner chefs. The crepes Adelle ate made the entrepreneurial blood in her veins percolate, and a business was born.

Adelle’s is infused with the personality of its namesake. This is most evident in the logo, which uses a silhouette of the Eiffel Tower for the “A,” and the shiny ceramic Eiffel Towers placed on each table. If I hadn’t met Adelle, though, I wouldn’t have known she was as young as she is, as her business has the fully developed bones and muscle of other small, local eateries.

Chattanooga is known for providing fertile soil for small businesses, but it really says something positive about a city when a 12-year-old can take a viable idea and rally the resources needed to turn that notion into brick-and-mortar reality.

Or maybe that says something about Adelle.

With one bite of The Bee’s Knees, I became a fan of Adelle’s Ice Cream Creperie. I get it - and I plan to keep getting it often as I can.