Tandem Crêperie and Coffeehouse, located on Main Street in downtown Travelers Rest, is the type of place you would expect to see on Pinterest.
Fresh flowers sit on wooden tables surrounded by rustic metal chairs. The menu is listed in a handwritten script on a large chalkboard. The background noise is a mixture of sounds from an espresso machine and stovetop intermingled with the low hum of voices.
Kristen Hartman and her husband Brad, owners of Tandem, first got the idea to open a restaurant serving specialty coffee and crêpes after Brad raved about the crêpes he tried in Greece while he was in the Air Force.
When the Hartmans found the building that would later become Tandem, it had been abandoned for seven years. But because they loved the location and the spirit of Travelers Rest, the condition of the building didn’t stop them; they renovated the building in two years with the help of friends and family and opened its doors Aug. 1.
Tandem’s interior, much of which was handmade by the staff, creates a relaxing environment with light wooden floors, tables of various sizes, a mixture of brick and white wooden walls and an open kitchen that allows patrons to watch their food being prepared by friendly employees.
The Hartmans named the restaurant “Tandem” because it embodied their goals to bring people together in their restaurant and to work together as a staff to serve delicious coffee and crêpes. They even have a tandem bicycle on a shelf in the restaurant to drive the point home. Tandem’s Facebook page often uses the hashtag #togetherisbest to emphasize that the restaurant can’t function alone and that life is better when spent together with friends and family.
The food at Tandem is fresh and delicious and typically begins with employees grinding their whole-wheat flour to make in-house waffles and crêpes, which fall between $3.50 and $8.50. Patrons can choose between a sweet crêpe, such as banana nut or chocolate and caramel, or a savory crêpe, such as the Mediterranean or fiesta.
The apple crisp crêpe, filled with warm apples and caramel and topped with apple crisp topping and whipped cream, is especially delicious at just $6 for a dinner plate-sized serving.
Tandem also offers low gluten cornmeal and almond crêpes, as well as a variety of drinks, such as espresso, cappuccino, hot chocolate and handcrafted sodas.
Freshman Christine Harter said although Tandem is a little farther from campus than what she would usually drive, it’s worth the drive time for the delicious food and reasonable prices.
Emily Etchison, an employee at Tandem who helped open the restaurant, says the best part about her job is having the opportunity to get to know people that she didn’t know before. She loves learning the names, faces and stories of people who regularly come into Tandem and providing them with good crêpes, coffee and conversation.