The French Stall by Jérôme Grenier puts the spotlight on crêpes at the Saint-Roch market | Food and drink | Weekly Gambit
Jérôme Grenier grew up in Toulouse in the southwest of France. He was working as a project manager for a tech start-up in Paris, where he met his wife, who is from New Orleans. They decided to settle here and he launched The French Stall, a pop-up offering cakes, pies, quiches and pancakes. In July, he moved the business to the Saint-Roch market, where he focuses on pancakes. The French Stall is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. For more information, visit french-stall.com or strochmarket.com.
Gambit: How did you start The French Stall?
Jerome Grenier: I was fed up with my work and wanted to try something else. I really like to cook. I learned to cook at home. My mom taught me a few things.
I met my wife in Paris. We decided to move to the United States and do traditional French cuisine. We moved here in August 2019. I started small – doing a few farmers markets here and there.
I started at (markets) in Covington and Mandeville. I went there because it was really easy to start. I was going to talk to people, and they were like, “Yeah, come next week. It went pretty well. I started small to find my place and little by little it grew. I made a lot of pastries and quiches. I was making chocolate cakes and strawberry pies and chocolate caramel pies and things like that. After the pandemic, pancakes took over.
I thought my food was getting popular. My two main concerts were at Parc Lafrenière on Wednesdays and in Mandeville on Saturdays. It was starting to get busy by word of mouth. I was also doing pop-ups, like on the second lines. I thought maybe now was a good time to try and take the next step. I was not ready to open a restaurant. I didn’t know if people knew about pancakes. When I’m at the market, people can see them. They’re like, “That looks good.”
Gambit: What do you think of traditional French crêpes?
Attic: When I travel to other cities in the United States, I always check to see if there is a creperie. It’s not like there’s an American version of pancakes. What I do is an authentic French version.
With savory crepes, I use a batter made from buckwheat flour. This is what we would use in France. This gives a crispier pancake. With a sweet batter or a yellow batter, all pancakes here are like that. For sweet pancakes, I use a simple batter made from plain flour, eggs, milk, and sugar.
I try to stick to the classics. The Parisian has mushrooms and house parsley, with garlic, shallots and parsley. For breakfast there is one with eggs, cheese and bacon. I have specials. I made a Cajun with Cajun sausage, onions and cheese. I plan to make one with shrimp, parsley, butter and garlic.
The breakfast crepe and the Parisian are the two most popular. For sweets, people like Nutella, and you can add fruit, like strawberries. I also make crêpes Suzette. It is flambéed with Grand Marnier. I put butter, sugar, orange zest and orange juice in the pan, and when it’s ready, I add the alcohol.
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Gambit: What’s next for the company?
Attic: I just started at the market six weeks ago. Sometimes I make quiches on the weekends. I also have sweet pies that I would like to make.
I’m having a baby shower in a few weeks. It’s something that I develop. I’ll make quiches and pies. I have a few weddings in the fall where I will be doing a pancake station.