Sweet Paris Crêperie and Café brings French delights—and ambiance—to Woodbury’s CityPlace shopping district.
What does Houston have to do with Paris? And, for that matter, with Woodbury? The story is a delicious one. Back in 2012, a couple of Houston restaurateurs opened a café inspired by the energy and flavors of Paris, focused on a perfectly executed staple of French cuisine: the crêpe. They called their eatery Sweet Paris. “They just loved the dish and the elegance, and they found there wasn’t really anything out there that offered this dish the right way,” says Alberto Landero, Sweet Paris’s chief development officer. “The original idea was just for one store, but it became a phenomenon.” By 2018, there were a handful of Sweet Paris Crêperie and Café locations in the Houston area. More locations blossomed in Miami and at resort towns in Mexico. The newest café location—right here in our own backyard—makes number 15.
Bringing Sweet Paris to Woodbury are strategic partners Dustin Wetzel, Pete Thelen and Dan Vansteenburg. “We started looking at opportunities for us to branch out with new and exciting brands,” Wetzel says. “We came across the Sweet Paris concept.” The trio traveled to Houston and spent a day immersed in the crêperie experience. “We were absolutely blown away by the experience—the look, the taste,” Wetzel says. “We were so excited to explore the possibility of doing this in the Minnesota market.”
The Woodbury Sweet Paris location opened in September, but it’s on the leading edge of three additional planned locations in the Twin Cities. The team believes it offers something truly unique to Minnesota diners. “I think it’s hard to find a place like this here,” Wetzel says. “When you walk into Sweet Paris, it does take you away from where you are. It takes you to another world. It’s comfortable and bright, with great coffees, great drinks, great food.”
“As soon as you walk in the door, we want to transport you to a sidewalk café in Paris,” Thelen says. That environment is particularly appealing in the middle of a Minnesota winter, and Sweet Paris offers plenty of details to evoke the streets of the Ville de Lumiere. There are intimate marble-top bistro tables with traditional rattan chairs and banquettes; chic tableware in the shop’s signature white and turquoise color scheme; and artful greenery. If the interior of the café is picturesque, the food is downright Instagram worthy. You might see a perfectly done crêpe, in its recognizable cone-shaped fold, drizzled with chocolate sauce, sprinkled with powdered sugar or filled with fruit and whipped cream (or all of the above). Savory crêpes are just as pretty, adorned with fresh herbs and accompanied by fresh greens. Lattes are topped with an image of the Eiffel Tower, and milkshakes tower in their glasses, crowned with whipped cream and candy bits.
Yes—we said “milkshakes.” Lest you think Sweet Paris is all crêpes all the time, Landero is quick to set the record straight. “Even though the café is based on French crêpes—a classic—we really brought it home in terms of our diverse customer base,” he says. “There’s a Philly Cheesesteak Crêpe, a nod to an American classic. There’s a Chicken Alfredo Crêpe. We play a little with things like this.” In addition to sweet, savory and kids’ crêpes—including a riff on peanut butter and jelly—the menu includes fresh waffles; breakfast plates and omelets; lunch items like soups and paninis; and a complement of coffee drinks, cocktails and milkshakes. “People can come in on the weekend for breakfast or brunch, and have a mimosa or a cocktail, inspired by the French Riviera, while their kids are diving into a Strawberry Nutella crêpe,” Thelen says.
One menu item that’s exclusive (so far) to the Woodbury café is (aptly) the Minnesota Crêpe, inspired by traditional ingredients and flavors of a hearty Upper Midwest breakfast. “It includes scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes and a little bit of fresh jalapeños,” Landero says. “That’s one of the favorites.”
The local Sweet Paris owners—Wetzel, Thelen and Vansteenburg—are calling Woodbury the perfect fit for the new eatery. “Our headquarters is in the area, and Pete is a resident of Woodbury, so we’re very familiar with the area,” Wetzel says. “The community as a whole is great.”
That connection to the community isn’t just superficial. Each Sweet Paris location partners with local food shelves and other nonprofits to give back, via its Eat Here, Feed There program. The Woodbury location will be partnering with Second Harvest Heartland “There are three crêpes on the menu where, every time somebody orders one, it results in a meal being made for children in the community,” Landero says. “It’s our way of giving back and letting our customers know that they can contribute to end hunger in their community by enjoying one of these delicious crêpes.”
Sweet Paris’ Texas-Parisian charm, mixed with Minnesotan hospitality, has been a winning combination. Thelen says Woodbury’s restaurant scene has lagged behind its residential development for the past several years. “There’s been so much residential growth, but the commercial growth has not been as abundant,” he says. “A lot of people will leave town for dinner—they’re going to Stillwater or Hudson, [Wisconsin].” He notes that Woodbury’s retail offerings, more generally, draw shoppers from all over the Metro and beyond. “But they’ve been underserved on the food side,” he says. Sweet Paris is helping to fill that gap—plus plenty of hungry tummies.
Highlights from each section of the Sweet Paris menu prove it offers something for everybody.
Bonne Maman Crêpe: This sweet crêpe is a decadent take on the berry-filled French classic, spread with cherry, strawberry, redcurrant and raspberry preserves (and a dollop of whipped cream, of course).
Nordic Crêpe: Smoked salmon, dill sour cream and pickled red onions are familiar flavors to Minnesotans with Norwegian or Swedish heritage, perfectly melded in this savory dish.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Kids’ Crêpe: Need we say more? From the American lunchbox to the bistro tables of Sweet Paris, this combination is an instant classic, and nobody will look askance at a grown-up who orders this one, too.
Dulce de Leche Waffle: The indulgent goodness of dulce de leche—caramelized milk, a traditional sweet of Latin America—is only improved with the addition of strawberries or bananas on top.
Croque Madame Crêpe: This hearty breakfast crêpe is a nod to a classic French sandwich, filled with scrambled eggs, Gruyere, smoked ham and creamy bechamel sauce.
Salade de Chèvre: For a lighter lunch or dinner, try this one: creamy goat cheese, crunchy walnuts, sweet dried cranberries and a Dijon vinaigrette on a bed of spring mix.
La Vie en Rosé Cocktail: Imagine you’re enjoying springtime on a Paris sidewalk, sipping on this rosé wine with strawberries, green apple, mint and rose essence.
Nutella Graham Milkshake: With all the flavors of a cozy s’more in a glass, this shake features chocolatey Nutella and graham cracker crumbs.
Mayan Hot Chocolate: In the French tradition, Sweet Paris does chocolat chaud right, with deep cocoa notes and the right amount of sweetness. This variation, for kids or adults, offers the addition of a little spice.