Tuesday, August 21, 2012
'Crepes' brings the City of Light to the City of Trees
As the nation continues to struggle with economic troubles, and luxurious vacations to European getaways seem more a wish than a possibility, the team of Crepes de Paris Claremont looks to bring a little taste of Europe to town. With it also comes a desire to provide a new way of looking at the Parisian specialty from which it draws its name.
“Crepes aren’t just about dessert,” said employee Johann Aza. “They can be sweet or savory and both are really fulfilling.”
“We immediately saw the potential,” said the franchise’s designer Marty Huyette of working with the historic Packing House space, which she said provided the “vintage feel” of an old French creperie.
Ms. Huyette achieves her goal of capturing the desired theme with meticulous detail from start to finish: a map of Paris in the hallway, names of famous French people on the back of each chair and vintage shutters to finish off the vintage French look. A movie projector entertains guests with Parisian cinema classics like Albert Lammorise’s 1956 sensation The Red Balloon. Customers are encouraged to send in postcards of their trips to Paris or other exotic locals to be fixed to the restaurant walls.
“These are little ways to bring Paris and draw our customers into the restaurant space,” Ms. Huyette explained.
The restaurant, a southern California franchise with a small-town appeal, is a welcome new addition, says Packing House manager Jerry Tessier. It brings with it something the Packing House has been missing: a food destination that offers culinary creations around the clock.
“It offers breakfast all the way through dessert,” Mr. Tessier said. “The Hip Kitty and other spots don’t open up until much later. [The creperies] will be open for the morning traffic as well as for those wanting to mix things up for dessert after a dinner.”
The eatery offers a selection of sweet and savory crepes as well as sandwiches, salads, omelets and café latte specialties. Selections range from the tantalizing caramelized bananas of the Warm Wish crepe to the rich cream sauce of the Chicken and Spinach. For Emily Glavin, fresh off a tour of the Claremont Colleges Monday afternoon, it was all about the St. Louis crepe with mozzarella, cheese, mushrooms and tomato with a choice of turkey or ham.
“It’s different from what I usually have,” Emily said of what drew her to the savory option.
Friend Allie Barnes stuck with the more traditional dessert crepe, selecting the “Favorite”—fresh strawberries, raspberry coulis, Chantilly cream and powdered sugar—as the delicacy of her choice. For both the variety of the menu was a plus.
Prices range from $5.25 for your traditional chocolate crepe—dark chocolate, Chantilly cream and powdered sugar—to $9.95 for the Parisian Special, a mix of chicken, mushrooms, black olives and mozzarella cheese with garlic cream sauce. Beverages go from $1.75 for an espresso to $3.75 for a French iced coffee.
With a wide range of menu items and things to see about the restaurant, the Crepes crew hopes to transport its customers in both body and mind.
“We want it to be a mini vacation in the comforts of home,” Ms. Huyette said.
Crepes de Paris Claremont is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., Friday and Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sundays. For more on crepes, visit www.crepedeparis.com.