Nanou, Je t’aime

The French creperie on Willy Street is as authentic as they come

For the adventurous eater, a stroll down Williamson Street is like culinary nirvana: Cuisine from Thailand, Jamaica, Costa Rica, Greece, China, Mexico and France all lie within a mile of one another.

And if we’re talking global eats, France takes the cake—or, in this case, the crepe.

Chez Nanou serves up both sweet and savory renditions of the French staple. Helmed by Anne-Marie Rieunier, known affectionately as Nanou, and her business partner Dee Kuech, the little creperie recently assumed full operation of the Willy Street space that once housed Chez Nanou by day and Bon Appetit Café by night.

Rieunier and Kuech now offer their lunchtime menu of soups, salads, crepes and French specialties into the evening hours, with weekend brunch plans in the works.

Chez Nanou is authentic—like something you’d find in the south of France, the home Rieunier left in 2011 when her husband’s job brought them to Madison. The décor, the background music and, naturally, the food all reflect Rieunier’s love of her native country.

Customers are generally eager to have an authentic French experience when they come to Chez Nanou, Rieunier says. She and Kuech estimate that half the Niçoise salads are ordered in the traditional style with anchovies. After a few months in business, they indicated on the menu which of the sweet crepes was the most popular in France, and its sales shot up.

If Rieunier has her way, though, she would like to be a bit more adventurous and challenge the status quo. “I would like to start cooking things that Americans aren’t used to eating,” she says with a smile.

Chez Nanou
805 Williamson St.

Grace Edquist is associate/web editor of Madison Magazine. She blogs about food and drink in The Chow Down.

Photo by Nicole Peaslee.

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