When her parents wanted to expand , Nicole Adams took over across the street. With Chef Bryan Wyatt, she offers such signature dishes as the Bleu House – chicken salad and greens on a croissant – and the Thrasher – salmon, Asian noodles, greens, and peanut sauce on a wrap. And in the dessert case are French macarons made by Adams.
But what really draws customers, Adams says, is the “barbecue,” meats cooked by Wyatt in a smoker.
“We call that our open sign – we’ll crank it up in the morning and people just follow their nose," Adams said.
Barbecue can mean salmon, pulled pork, pork chops, ribs or the occasional veggie. It can mean a beef brisket cooked slowly in a cherry vanilla cream soda sauce or turkey brined overnight and smoked all day.
The difference between the two bleus? While the café is open just for lunch, the market is open for lunch, dinner and Saturday brunch. The food is similar, but the clientele different, Adams said.
What is your business and when did you start?
We’re Bleu House Market. We do lunch, dinners to go and brunch on Saturdays. We’ve been in business about a year and a half, since the end of November 2010. We had the opportunity to expand the café, so I was brought into the family business because I was ready for a change. I wanted my work to be my own. I wanted to feel really connected to it. We were able to buy the house from the city, and it’s just really evolved and grown from there.
What makes you unique?
Our menu really changes daily. It’s like a fresh home-cooked meal without the work for the customers. We have some basics – we do some sandwiches and some meats, but we also do different sandwich specials every day. We have different vegetables and sides. We do a lot of barbecue. We really highlight our barbecue options. We use, when possible, local organic ingredients.
What is the difference between Bleu House Café and Bleu House Market?
The café is the original and they are a lunch and catering spot. They do sandwiches, salads and soups. Over here, we have a few sandwiches and salads but we expand on the offerings and we do a bleu plate lunch – a meat and two or three sides or a three-veggie plate. We’re open for dinner as well and brunch on Saturdays. But it’s definitely the same style of food.
What do you find rewarding about running Bleu House Market?
I get to interact with customers. I get their feedback and directly apply it to what we’re putting out there. I build relationships with customers. We’re on a first-name basis, and my chef Bryan is on a first-name basis with a lot of the customers. It’s just a really inviting atmosphere, and I love that.
What do you find challenging?
Today was a [good example]. We’re still growing so we were slammed, lines out the door at multiple occasions today. It’s just figuring out the best system of getting the food well prepared and out to customers in a timely manner. Just the day to day – making sure we have the food that customers love, the favorites and adding something new in there as well. You want to keep it interesting but at the same time have the customer favorites that they come back day to day for.
What do you like about being in Norcross?
It’s a fun town. You can walk down the street and you always see somebody you know. It’s like a big family. We have good relationships with all the other shop owners and business people in town. It’s just a really inviting, fun area.
Bleu House Market is located at 62 College Street in Historic Norcross. It is open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday for brunch, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. You can contact them at bleuhousemarket.com or 678-527-6278.