When Thomas Vigue moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2012 to open a restaurant specializing in authentic, gourmet crepes, he scouted locations throughout Puget Sound before settling on what he feels is the ideal location – Tacoma. And if the line out the door of eager customers means anything at all, Tacomans are welcoming Savor with open arms. “Tacoma really is an up-and-coming city, and we felt an energy here that aligned with my entrepreneurial spirit,” Vigue said.
Vigue himself has extensive experience in the culinary world, having worked in corporate food and beverage regional director roles for foodservice contract companies, senior living and a national hotel chain. He also owned and operated a small café and catering business. As a French Canadian, he grew up eating and preparing crepes, and a 2011 trip to Europe only reignited his love for this famous French dish.
“Opening a restaurant like this is a lot of work, but you either have a passion for it, or you don’t. I happened to love it,” he said. “The biggest thing I’ve learned in my career is that you could have the best food in the world, but if your staff is not providing good customer service, people will never come back. We’ve invested time during our hiring and staff orientation process on focusing on service delivery and we’re proud of the team we’ve assembled. ”
Vigue hired a mix of staff – some with a great deal of experience in culinary arts, along with cooks tasked with the challenge of learning the art of crepe making on the job. “Our kitchen staff has really blossomed,” Vigue said. “They knock out so many crepes, mostly within 10 to 12 minutes of a customer ordering.”
Each crepe is served on a china plate, with cloth napkins and silverware. Tables in the restaurant are surrounded by the local artwork, currently showing work by local photographer Terry Rishel.
The menu itself offers a wide variety of crepes featuring fresh, local ingredients. Savor offers traditional and gluten-free rice flour crepes, and pairs a mixed green salad with each savory option. Many recipes are tried and true combinations Vigue has made for his family for years, and daily specials are often concocted after picking up local produce at a nearby farmers market, when available.
One that has become a customer favorite is the maple roasted butternut squash with stilton cheese, candied hazelnuts and fresh thyme ($9.25), and a crepe filled with rosemary chicken, roasted sweet potato toasted pecans and balsamic reduction ($9.75).
Savor’s crepe scrambles have become popular with the Saturday breakfast crowd. Served with fresh fruit, these crepe scrambles feature a variety of combinations, from asparagus and mushroom, sun-dried tomato and goat cheese ($7.25), to ham, peppers, onion and cheddar ($9.25). These crepes can be made with egg whites for an extra $.75.
On the dessert menu, crepes can be made with ingredients such as Nutella, banana and toasted coconut ($6.50), as well as the strawberry with brown sugar pecan crumb and vanilla crème fraiche ($8.25).“The strawberry crepe is not overly sweet, and the crème fraiche enhances the fruit,” Vigue said.
The team at Savor is always playing around with ingredients and developing new specials. In addition to daily specials, Savor also offers French pressed coffee straight from Valhalla Coffee Roasters, as well as Mad Hat teas. “It’s important to us to give back by supporting local businesses,” Vigue said.
Savor is celebrating its Grand Opening on Friday and Saturday, June 21-22, featuring a ribbon-cutting ceremony, discounts on crepes, samples and drawings for gift certificates.
The restaurant, located at 1916 Pacific Ave., is open Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.