10 Feb 2012

First Bite: Holy crepes! Crepes on the Corner

crepe / クレープ

Photo by Flickr user Kanko*

By Andrea Klee
Crepes? Two blocks away from my Hill East apartment? Oh, how very Parisian! And well worth the wait.
I noticed the signs declaring the coming-soon arrival of Crepes on the Corner when I first moved to the Hill in November 2011. From reading the Facebook posts, I learned I was not alone in anxious anticipation and in the multiple stroll-bys to see if the doors were open. It certainly took longer than we all expected (starting with the owners!). But, finally, on February 1, its first customers, then 20 customers, then hundreds, crowded into the charming space. I visited during the soft opening that day, round about 6 p.m., and then several other times over the next few days.

Due to unexpectedly high demand, the business closed early on Feb.1, and was also closed Sunday and Monday to restock and regroup.

However, between the unexpected closings, I was able to nosh down a fruit crepe (to which I added Nutella); The Italian, a savory roasted red pepper, chicken and cheese crepe; The Banana Split crepe;and—on a day (Saturday) when the wait for crepes was running 40 minutes—a freshly prepared off-menu quiche with mushrooms and arugula. The Presley—containing Nutella, both peanut butter and peanut butter cups, bananas, peanuts, and whipped crème—was also sampled by one of my party and declared to be fit for the King.
I’ve also hopped myself up on an artfully prepared Chai latte and a shakes-inducing traditional-style macchiato.

So why a crepe-centric place? Having always had a love of crepes,the chef, Vincent Bradberry, wanted to create a creperie that was different from the other shops in town. Using a traditional French-style crepe, he wanted to incorporate locally grown products, while creating some whimsical interpretations of the classics. The Harvest,for example, uses the crepe as a vessel for a traditional turkey dinner complete with stuffing and cranberries.

And, crepes are not just a fad. “No, Crepes are not the new cupcake,” he said. “Crepes have so many variations beyond just savory and sweet. Crepes can be found in one form or another in many cultures. By offering our monthly Crepes Around the World specials, we will be able to highlight cuisines from all over the globe.”

The crepe contents are locally sourced and seasonal. Crepes on the Corner has a small on-site herb garden with a fig tree. Additionally, it will be partnering with Back to the Roots to become the first restaurant location in the country to use oyster mushroom-growing kits. Bradberry and owner Marc Ross plan to partner with and source products from numerous local farmers, meaning some menu items will depend on what is in season and available from the partner farms. Finally, the cafe makes preserves from products in-house while ingredients are plentiful.

Hill East may seem like an unusual spot for a creperie, but it fills a need for dining options in the neighborhood. Plus, Bradberry and Ross wanted to create a comfortable gathering spot: a place to meet for morning coffee or for a casual dinner. Said Ross, “The neighborhood has been extremely excited and supportive of our cafe. We are truly grateful and look forward to serving this part of the Hill.”

Wanting to visit Crepes on the Corner? Expect large crowds, and a wait, especially for now, as the throngs have overwhelmed the small and meticulous staff. But if you’re patient, you’ll be treated to a cone stuffed with deliciousness. Or, you can consider it an experience akin to dining at a café in Paris, where time moves slowly, and food is
delivered when it’s ready merci-very-much. But at least at Crepes on the Corner, you won’t have to deal with très rude Parisian waitstaffs.

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