Cheap Eats: Pauley's Crepe Bar
An Athens fave sets up on the Westside
After seven years in Athens, a much-loved Dawgs hangout plunked down right in the heart of Yellow Jacket territory. Pauley's Crepe Bar sits at the corner of Marietta and Hampton streets on the Westside, flipping those light and fragile thin pancakes served on every corner in France. This creperie, however, is anything but a little bit of France, except it make crepes. The delicate French dish transforms into comfort food staples. These aren't the brunch doilies and this isn't a quaint little bistro. It's set up to hang out, maybe even be a little loud.
Such crepe heights: Pauley's is vast, with high ceilings, walls of windows, and a bar that runs the entire length of the expanse seating more than 25. Big-screen TVs mounted on the walls are dwarfed by the loftiness. Many of the tables are square high-tops. The lunchtime crowd included a few couples, some ladies who lunch, college students, and a large office group with matching lanyards. The smallish patio beckoned, no doubt soon to be filled with Tech students singing along to the '80s/'90s playlist, which really fits the aesthetic of the space. We happily sang along to "Bye, Bye, Bye" and "Islands in the Stream." The early '90s vibe must be intentional; there is a cocktail called A.C. Slater.
Eat your fillings: The menu at Pauley's boasts both savory ($9-$12) and sweet ($7.50-$8.50) crepes as well as sandwiches and salads ($8-$12). Sides are $4. Like those at Leon's, frites are scrumptious with a few sauce choices. A couple could easily share a savory and a sweet crepe for a full meal. Crepes are large and on the thicker, spongy side — hearty vessels for ample fillings. A Buffalo chicken crepe is chock-full of slivered hunks of roasted chicken mixed with hot sauce, mozzarella, bits of tomato, and romaine with a cool drizzle of ranch. It's reminiscent of Buffalo wings but doesn't feel like a gut bomb. Smoked ham and cheese served galette-style (like a square envelope) comes topped with a glorious over-easy egg. The red bean falafel is simply delightful with cucumber chunks, tomato, feta pieces, and a lemony yogurt sauce. Everyone was quite fond of the strawberry Nutella crepe with a chocolate drizzle. Pauley's offers gluten-free crepes for a buck extra and "add Nutella" is $1.50. Everything in life should come with "add Nutella."
BAR-unch: Crepes aren't the only draw at Pauley's. The place is reminiscent of the many late-night crepe joints in Greece where crepes are more of an accompaniment to Ouzo and loud music. These crepes are for sopping. That aforementioned bar? It holds an impressive selection of spirits. To go with the music, you can order some fun selections from the Cocktail movie era: perhaps a Cosmopolitan or a Manmosa. There are 40 beers on tap and more than 100 rotating craft beers including locally made favorites. There is a varied, decent-sized wine list with most available by the glass. Bubbles and frites, yep. To go with the libations is a late-night food menu served until 2 a.m. with standouts like the chilled, creamy Terrapin dip.