Good Girls Go to Paris"I read life's clues and made them work for me."
When listening to Torya Blanchard, founder and proprietor of Good Girls Go to Paris, it's easy to see why good fortune has come to Detroit. Blanchard's understated French crepe restaurant in Midtown represents the fruit of her passions — and her contribution to her beloved city. In 2008, Blanchard decided, on a lark, to transition from a career as a French teacher at a Detroit charter school to the role of an entrepreneur. Stumbling one day upon a tiny (48 square feet) storefront for rent in the city's downtown, Blanchard's curiosity took over. Soon after, she opened her creatively named shop and began offering crepes made from her own recipes to passersby. While the idea surfaced in a sudden impulse, it actually flowed from a lifetime of inspiration, as did the name itself. When she was just 16, Blanchard and her mother planned a trip to Paris. Bur prior to leaving, Blanchard's mother, while disciplining her, exclaimed, "Good girls go to Paris." The line proved memorable.While in the French capital, Blanchard became enamored of Parisian culture: the art, the fashion and, of course, the food. Her enthusiasm from the experience proved infectious, influencing Blanchard on her return to Detroit — and setting in motion the "theme" of her career.As Good Girls became increasingly successful, Blanchard expanded the business and moved it to a new home in Midtown Detroit. The current location is on the ground floor of a historic luxury apartment building adjacent to Detroit's art and historical museums, main library and two college campuses, all of which attract customers to Good Girls. At over 2,000 square feet, Blanchard's eatery now offers sit-down space in a comfortable yet unpretentious atmosphere. Blanchard has developed a number of unique recipes, and these have undoubtedly contributed to her success. Good Girls' menu includes 50 varieties of the traditional French crepe. In the "Savory" category are the Vera (bacon, Boursin cheese and spinach) and the Jessica (ham, Swiss cheese and pineapple). Items in the "Sweet" grouping include the Katie (apple, brown sugar, caramel and salted butter) and the ever-simple Leanne (peanut butter and jelly).In the coming months, Blanchard will expand her entrepreneurial reach yet again. The same building that is home to Good Girls will soon host a bar called Rodin, a clever nod to the French sculptor — a cast of whose famous work "The Thinker" resides in front of the Detroit Institute of Arts next door. She sees Rodin as attracting an "over-25 crowd," offering cocktails, live music and dancing.Today, Blanchard is proud to say she truly loves what she does. "This business is my expression of the things that are my passions: making French crepes and collecting vintage film posters. I read life's clues and made them work for me." She knows that being located in Detroit has helped her succeed. "The advantages of locating in Detroit are spectacular," she says. "There's probably no other city anywhere where I could find a reasonably priced space right next to an art museum. Detroit is a well-kept secret."
Check out Torya's Detroit.