Working in the City – Adelle’s Creperie

Passport to Paris

Most 12-year-olds aspire to make good grades, excel at sports, and not doing anything too embarrassing. But in the summer before her seventh-grade year at Normal Park, Adelle Pritchard was dreaming on a different scale.

By Mary Beth Wallace / Photography by Emily Long

She explains, “Cooking and traveling are both passions of mine, and I’ve been fascinated with French culture ever since I was little. Crepes in particular always caught my eye; there’s just this creativity and experimentation that comes with them. Some of my favorite memories are getting crepes from street carts in Paris, and I wanted to bring that experience back home to Chattanooga.”

Having grown up with two parents who had started their own businesses, Adelle knew that her dream of owning a creperie was possible. In fact, the perfect space was already available to her – her parents owned a warehouse, which they renovated to house a kitchen and large seating area, in Chattanooga’s Southside neighborhood. After months of scouting décor, creating a menu, and practicing her crepe-making skills, Adelle and her mom, Carla, opened Adelle’s Creperie to the public in July of 2016.

“None of us had worked in the restaurant business before, so it was a learning process for everyone,” Adelle recalls. “But the response from the community was fantastic – far better than we had anticipated. There was a line out the door our entire opening day!”

Sweet and savory crepes make up the core of the restaurant’s offerings, although customers can also find a selection of breakfast and lunch items like paninis, waffles, and omelets. “We’ve expanded our menu over the years, but crepes are what keep our regular customers coming back,” Adelle says. “You can order more traditional French crepes, and then there are some from our imagination that you wouldn’t find anywhere else.” The restaurant’s most popular crepe combinations are The Roma – with ingredients like turkey, roasted red tomato, pesto, and Havarti cheese – and The Royale, featuring Nutella and fresh strawberries.

On top of the menu expansion, Adelle’s Creperie has grown in other ways, from increasing the staff to adding catering as a service. In 2018, the restaurant acquired its first food truck. According to Adelle, “The food truck was a huge thing for us. It allowed us to bring our crepes straight into the community at events around town and really educate people about a food they may not be very familiar with.”      

Being an asset to the Chattanooga community is important to Adelle, which is why the creperie regularly offers food and services to benefit local foundations, including the Kidney Foundation of Greater Chattanooga and March of Dimes. Adelle’s also opens its doors for the French Chamber of Commerce’s monthly meeting, as well as hosts students from local schools.

“We host the first-grade class at Normal Park every year, which I always look forward to. We do a crepe-making demonstration, and the students get a chance to ask me questions about my business. They’ll tell me that they want to grow up and own a business too! That’s the most rewarding part, showing them that they don’t have to wait until they’re older to follow their dreams,” Adelle says.

That’s not to say that running a business doesn’t present challenges for the 16-year-old. Not only is Adelle juggling her life at the restaurant along with school, friends, and other projects, she also puts pressure on herself to give her customers the best possible experience. “I have my reputation and my name – quite literally – on the line. I want our customers to have a great experience because it’s a direct reflection of us and our work,” she says.

Never one to settle, Adelle is currently crafting some changes that she hopes will help her business flourish in the next year and beyond. Among them is incorporating more healthy, unique dishes on the menu. She explains, “Our hope is to appeal to a wider audience while maintaining the essence of the restaurant and what we do best, which is and always will be crepes.” CS

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