By: Amanda Thomas
The South is a never-ending spread of small towns with little to offer other than grass, cows, and bails of hay. One of the small towns in South Carolina is Travelers Rest, or “TR” as locals call it. In Travelers Rest there is the greatest hidden gem, Tandem Creperie and Coffeehouse. Now I am ashamed to say, that up until this year I had never actually ate a crepe. (Insert dramatic gasp from audience) So naturally, now that I live in Greenville, I had to try this place that I have seen posts of all over my Instagram feed.
Walking up to the restaurant, I could already tell that it was going to be good just based off of the building. (I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but I was judging in a good way so I think that’s acceptable in this case.) The building was structured with brick that has been painted and aged until it achieved the perfect combination of modern meets vintage. In the front of the building you can see its own golden arches with the word “TANDEM” written in plain writing. To the right of the building you can already see a glimpse of the outside deck area adorned with greenery around the entire deck, yellow bistro-esque chairs, and a hanging bike which matches perfectly with the Swamp Rabbit Trail riders pulling up into the provided parking rack.
Pushing the door open you immediately are overcome with the delicious smells of coffee and pastries in the make. The indoor décor compliments the rustic feel outside the restaurant by having farm tables for eating and long wooden benches to match on either side of the table. In the center there is a sleek table top bar with bright yellow stools for sitting and an eclectic arrangement of light fixtures above the bar. Straight ahead you will find the food prep and cashier space where you can place your order. The detailed menu hangs against the wall for those of us who like a little more explanation about what it is we are ordering. Written delicately on the oversized chalkboard, three sections dominantly divide the menu: Crepes, waffles, and coffee with the crepes being sub-categorized by sweet and savory options. Wanting to try something new? To the left-side corner of the ordering station you will find a smaller chalkboard with their daily specials of crepes and coffee.
Now… it’s time to order. I opt for the blueberry cream crepe whose seductive description was better than any romance novel I’ve read. Blueberries, cream cheese, cinnamon crumble, topped with whipped cream. Once I read it, I knew I just had to have it. To accompany my sweet treat, I also ordered a salted caramel latte. (I knew that they did latte art so a latte was going to be a must-have) As I paid for my order I was very impressed with the genuineness of the entire establishment. From the welcoming staff to the eco-friendliness IPad payment, this place was the epitome of hip and trendy…in a good way.
Due to lack of available seating inside at the time, my friends and I decided to explore outside. Looking at the several bistro tables, most of them were full or didn’t have the seat count that we needed for our group but then we spotted the perfect place for us. On either corner of the outdoor deck there were wooden booths with small center tables, perfect for a group that wants to chat and eat.
After only a few moments of waiting in our booth, a doe-eyed young man came over and asked “Blueberry cream and a caramel latte?” Gimme Gimme! I thought in my head, but in reality I just smiled and took the plates from him. Okay NOW I understand why everyone takes a picture of their food when they are here. Everything from the plate to the flakiness of the crepe to the dollop of whip cream on top was more beautiful than even my most prized prom dress. The crepe arrived on a simple white plate, which complimented the plum color of the crepe’s insides perfectly. The crepe itself was a camel soft brown packed full of a pale purple filling that was barely spilling out on either side. Atop the crepe, just as described on the menu, delicate lace-like swirls of whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon crumbles, and then an intentional zigzag of blueberry sauce that went on the crepe then off the crepe and onto the plate. Beside this plate, a sunshine yellow cup laid onto a matching saucer for the latte. Inside the cup was the scrumptious hazel-colored latte that had been poured carefully as to create the most artistically milky design…ah, latte art.
Once my necessary picture was taken I think it took me all but five minutes before my crepe was devoured and my yellow cup half empty and let me just tell you…it tastes even better than it looks. I am officially a crepe person. From the inside-out Tandem has created an environment that is warm and welcoming for all, even if you aren’t in skinny jeans and a flannel. I thank Tandem for my gone-too-quick meal art and for being a place my friends and I could sit down and call ours for just a little while.