“Crepes were the easy thing to do because you can make them, put them in the freezer and then the next day pick any filling you want, and you have a meal,” Ouazdi said.
Ouazdi’s fond memories of the thin French pancakes inspired him to open Taste of Paris Creperie & Cafe in December 2019 with longtime friend Achraf Elmimouni.
However, just as the restaurant finished training its employees, the first COVID-19 wave hit the Greater Houston area. And without any employees officially on payroll, Ouazdi said the new eatery did not qualify for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program.
"It was very rough because we didn’t have any relief on the rent, ... so we paid everything out of pocket, which really demolished our budget,” Ouazdi said.
Nine months later, Taste of Paris was able to open and begin offering takeout in August 2020.
“One of the greatest things about opening in this area is that the community is very helpful,” Elmimouni said. “We had people coming in saying, ‘We are here because we want to support you,’ and that’s really amazing.”
Since then, the duo has opened the doors to its Parisian cafe for dine-in service. In addition to signature and build-your-own crepes, the eatery serves panini, waffles, French toast and salads, which can be paired with a variety of smoothies, shakes and coffee.
“We want food done the right way with fresh, good-quality ingredients,” Ouazdi said, noting he and Elmimouni also serve as the restaurant’s chefs.
Now, 18 months into the pandemic, the duo said their latest challenge has been hiring staff. Once Taste of Paris is fully staffed, however, the partners said they hope to add some new menu items, begin offering delivery and build out a covered patio.
“We’re trying to build memories here,” Elmimouni said.
Taste of Paris Creperie & Cafe
12230 W. Lake Houston Parkway, Ste. 115, Houston
Hours: 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily