On a Saturday afternoon at Minou in the East Village, a chic couple installs themselves at a marble bistro table by the window. He orders a crepe with ham and Gruyere, while she settles on an iced mocha and a whipped goat cheese crepe with apricot compote. A pair of young women take a seat next to the bluish-gray wall with intricate molding to share a crepe filled with housemade hazelnut butter topped with a scoop of salted caramel ice cream.
“Our partners were in Europe a couple of summers ago, and they sent us a picture of their girls peeking into the window of a creperie,” says Alison McGrath, who in addition to Minou co-owns beloved French bistro Café Chloe. “We thought, We should do that.”
The charming creperie opened late last year. Well-placed antiques, bought at French flea markets, and 100-year-old globe-shaped lights that once hung from Parisian street lamps lend a feeling of having slipped into the belle epoque. Bentwood bistro chairs with an art nouveau floral pattern are made by Thonet, the European company that invented the Vienna coffeehouse chair in the 1800s. Customers can pick up fresh almond croissants in the morning, eat them sur place with a frothy cappuccino and, of course, order crepes that can be enjoyed as a full meal or as a refined afternoon snack paired with a glass of sparkling rosé.
“When you go to a restaurant, there’s a set of expectations. Here, you can linger as long as you want,” McGrath says.