Typically, a pop-up bar or restaurant is the sort of thing you hear about through a friend or someone always in-the-know when it comes to all things edible in the local area. Temporary eateries are intriguing places, whispers of some high-profile chef collaborating with a local venue to offer patrons a glimpse at something cutting edge in the culinary world. They often leave your taste buds singing -- and then disappear without a trace.
But the pop-up restaurant at Bar Stache 1920's Drinking Den in Fort Lauderdale is nothing like that, and it isn't going anywhere anytime soon. At least, we hope not.
The small crepe stand, dubbed simply Mangez!, has set up shop at the entrance to the bar, and chef-owner Keith Wright will literally pop up next to you while you're drinking to proffer his goods. What he offers, you shouldn't refuse.
Wright, who relocated to South Florida to be closer to family, owned a small creperie in North Carolina. Rather than hassle with opening a new store here in Florida or deal with the day-to-day drama of pushing a moveable crepe stand in the smoldering summer heat, Wright said he approached Bar Stache to see if the food-free venue would be interested in having a dinner and dessert service on hand several days a week.
The bar agreed, and Wright has been flipping gourmet-style crepes inside the speakeasy ever since, working with only a few coolers and a portable crepe pan. Despite the kitchenless setup, Wright whips up a masterpiece in no time, presenting them to patrons on a real plate, with actual silverware -- just like you were in a restaurant.
Need that crepe to go?
"I can three-way fold it, put it on a paper plate with some napkins, and give it to you just as you'd get it on the streets of Paris," said Wright.
The menu offers savory dinner crepes, including ham and cheese, tomato and pesto, or maple and bacon. The sweet side comes out with a creamy Nutella, dulce de leche, or a rum and Kahlua-soaked dessert that may give you a better buzz than your drink.
The best part about Mangez! isn't the crepes, however -- it's Wright. Despite suggestions to raise his prices, he refuses to charge more than $5 per plate, and uses organic and top-quality ingredients (an award-winning dark rum is better for cooking than drinking, he says) for savory and sweet dishes.
"I love what I do, and I love making people happy with good food," said Wright. "Maybe you don't see me scrutinize every single tomato before I buy it. You can't see me walk away from the display [when I'm shopping] because something isn't ripe. You can't get inside of my head and hear me think about how I want to change what your perception of what a crepe is."
Mangez! operates Wednesday through Sunday and is located inside the Bar Stache 1920's Drinking Den in Fort Lauderdale.
Follow Nicole Danna on Twitter, @SoFloNicole.
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