Tucked away on Clayton Street in downtown Athens is Pauley's Original Crepe Bar. Offering numerous varieties of both savory and sweet crepes, Pauley's is simply known around town as that "crepe place". Crepes, if you aren't familiar with them, are thin, French pancakes. In the US, crepes are usually found in sit-down restaurants but other nations such as France and Canada offer these tasty treats as a fast food item (sure beats the hell out of anything that starts with Mc).
Now, I know a thing or two about crepes. Back when I used to live up in Canada (gasp! Yes. I am Canadian!), crepes were a common fast food and I happened to live in front of a French family. It was Mr. Garnier who first introduced me to this tasty treat at a young age. Ham, cheese and asparagus enveloped in a thin pancake? It was ludicrous! Pancakes to me (then) were topped with maple syrup from the sap shack and a knob of butter. What was this crazy French man thinking? "Just give it a try my little friend" he said to me smiling, with his thick French accent. How could I refuse his friendly gesture? I took a cautious bite. It was then when I realized that asparagus could taste good and that it's actually edible. A gateway
drug food to French cuisine. The French aren't so bad like they say afterall! However, my flashback was short-lived as Pauley's slapped me in the face and brought me back down to reality.
(cordon bleu crepe)
(greek crepe, you can't really tell from the outside)
(cordon bleu crepe, inside)
This wasn't Canada, definitely not France and I was 70-some odd miles away from Atlanta. Crepes at Pauley's weren't the tender, delicious or varieties of crepes I had been used to. Crepe Suzettes (here's a good place to demonstrate authentic FnS) were misrepresented as your classic English pancake with lemon and sugar. So what is an authentic Crepe Suzette you might ask? It's a crepe in caramelized sugar with orange zests and flambeed with usually Grand Marnier, an orange liqueur. Thick, tough and chewy, I had a difficult time trying to break apart both my savory and sweet crepes. For my savory, I had the Cordon Bleu crepe which was filled with chicken, decayed romaines, bacon, tomatoes, cheese and dijon. Aside from the actual crepe, the filling was okay until I found the blackened romaine leaf not discolored through cooking. I think with a little more seasoning on the chicken and an even spread of dijon, the filling could be improved.
KLee and I shared the Smores crepe for dessert. Again, I wasn't impressed with the actual crepe because of the same thick, tough and chewy problems. This sweet crepe was also okay...nothing extraordinary. It would've been more successful if bits of graham cracker were incorporated into the filling for texture. I think the Nutella and banana would've been a better filling choice (spare yourself the agony of ordering Nutella with strawberry at this time of the year).
(hall of fame, will you be next?)
Yes, Pauley's is that crepe place in town but it's better classified as a bar with their extensive selection of beers. Also, if you try every one of their beers, you're forever immortalized in Athens with a picture on the wall of fame. Not sure what you want from the ridiculously long list of alcohol? Ask for a sample and one of the lovely waitresses will help you out.
Overall, Pauley's is an okay place for food. You're not going to find another restaurant in Athens dedicating a majority of their menu to crepes and for the price, you get a gigantic portion. Let's not kid ourselves though - Pauley's is more of a bar than an eatery. This isn't the ideal setting for a first date or a romantic dinner. You're coming here to sober up, for cheap food or with your lady (or dude) to chill. The females that make up the wait staff are friendly, attentive and quite composed even during busy hours. Although I felt that their crepes were lacking in taste, texture and authenticity, if you've never experienced a proper crepe before - you'll probably like this place.
- Crepes range from $3 to $10 (dessert and savory)
- Beer samples are offered upon request