Flying Pan Lands Here

May 29, 2013

What Chipotle did for the burrito, Flying Pan hopes to do for crepes.

Part of Australia-based BFC Retail Group, the Flying Pan is opening its first U.S. location Monday in the former Bin 27 site at 2702 W. Kennedy Blvd. in Tampa, offering an upscale version of a casual gourmet restaurant, with crepes for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Crepe options include: the apple pie, with caramelized apples, butter and whipped cream, for $8.45; the Aussie Sunrise, with egg, bacon and Monterey Jack cheese, for $7.95; and the Islander, with salmon, baby spinach and red onions, for $9.25.

Though diners in Europe and the Middle East long have adored crepes as a near-universal wrapper and meal, whether Americans will opt for one over a burger is an open question, said Darren Tristano, a restaurant consultant for the Chicago-based market research firm Technomic.

“The good news is there are not a lot of crepe players here,” Tristano said. “So there’s a big opportunity to franchise in urban and affluent areas, offering people an escape to France. The question is, is this a place to go to two to three times a week like people do at McDonald’s?”

Owner Laurent Corgnet said the company faced that same question when it started in Australia.

“So we gave breakfast crepes with egg, bacon and cheese to construction workers,” he said. “They came back in droves.”

The site in Tampa also has a wide variety of local sodas, such as Ale 8, Earp’s Sarsaparilla and MacFuddy Pepper Elixir.

“We’re making this a cafe in the best sense,” Corgnet said. “A place where you can come any time of day and have a snack or lounge and work with Wi-Fi. Have everything from a crepe with duck, brie and red apples, or a sweet crepe with Nutella, which is good with everything.”