Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style

Rosie Carbo's picture
Categories: 

Visiting Texas? Don’t come and simply dine on Mexican food and barbecue, although both are Lone Star State mainstays. Instead, say Bonjour to French crepes. Texas has an ongoing love affair with the iconic pancake from France.

Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style
Photo courtesy of Crepe Crazy, adapted by Wandering Educators

Aside from dining on tacos or juicy ribs, you can savor traditional and international crepes while visiting Texas. The paper-thin, round pancakes are usually filled with savory or sweet ingredients. Crepes are versatile, so they’re a good choice for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. 

Street vendors in Paris have popularized the crepe. But they originated in 12th century Brittany, where they were made with buckwheat flour. Today, you can get them made of plain white flour or gluten-free. The basic ingredients are flour, eggs, and milk or water.

Crepe cafes and bakeries abound in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio. Crepes are even in small towns such as College Station, where a couple of former firefighters started Fire Truck Crepes. The husband and wife were also EMTs who repurposed a fire truck to serve as a crepe truck. 

Fire Truck Crepes. From Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style
Photo courtesy of Fire Truck Crepes

The classic crepe is made with ham or bacon, eggs, and Swiss cheese. A sweet classic crepe is filled with bananas or strawberries, and topped with whipped cream. The S’mores, also a popular sweet crepe, is drizzled with Nutella and crumbled Graham crackers and chocolate.   

It´s hard to determine exactly when Texans began “l’ amour” with the French staple. And had another crepe cafe not opened in San Antonio recently, I would not have realized there’s been a crepe craze ongoing for years.

San Antonio is the latest city to attract a crepe cafe and bakery. Sweet Paris Creperie & Cafe is a crepe chain started in 2012 and based in Houston. Foodie and co-owner Ivan Chavez was inspired to start it after spending time in Paris.

Sweet Paris crepe. From Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style
Photo courtesy of Sweet Paris

Interestingly, Sweet Paris Creperie & Cafe and Mélange Creperie, also in Houston, both have romantic stories about their spouses, the “city of lights,” and the creperie business. Their stories prove why Paris has always been regarded as the city of love and romance.

Sweet Paris crepe. From Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style
Photo courtesy of Sweet Paris

In 2009, Sean “Buffalo” Carroll started selling crepes from an outdoor stand in Houston. A simple tarp was all that shielded him from the hot Texas sun. His humble stand became a crepe-hub at the corner of Westheimer and Taft. Later, he began selling crepes at the farmer´s markets, festivals, and private parties. 

Carroll took his new bride, Tish Ochoa, on their honeymoon to Paris. While there, the husband and wife decided it was time to finally open a brick and mortar creperie restaurant upon their return to Houston.

Mélange Creperie. From Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style
Photo courtesy of Mélange Creperie

Mélange Creperie opened to rave reviews in the historic Heights neighborhood in 2017 in Houston. A full-blown crepe restaurant was what Carroll’s faithful following had longed for. You can check them out at: www.melangecreperie.com
 
Meanwhile, Ivan Chavez spent two summers in Paris. It was there that he dined almost daily on street-vendor crepes. His love of crepes led him to take Allison Young to Paris, where he proposed marriage. While in Paris, the couple decided to return to Houston and launch their first creperie cafe. 

Sweet Paris started as a single cafe and bakery dedicated to preparing Parisian-style crepes. Now, it’s grown to more than half a dozen cafes in and around Houston. Waffles, lavender mimosas, and towering chocolate milkshakes are all part of the menu. 

“Our target market is always lifestyle centers where people can eat, play, and live. We like centers that attract people to spend the day, where they can pause and just enjoy the surroundings, said Allison Young Chavez, referring to their newest location at San Antonio’s upscale Shops at La Cantera. 

Chocollazo, a chocolate candy cafe near San Antonio’s Witte Museum, is owned by chocolatier, Mary Collazo. She makes delicious crepes daily, along with truffles, éclairs, and a chocolate baklava she calls choklava. Her food truck, Chocolate Trolley, is used for catering, birthday parties, and fun events. See eye candy in the form of crepes and chocolates treats at: www.chocollazo.com 

Chocollazo. From Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style
Chocollazo. From Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style
Photos courtesy of Chocollazo

Vladimir and Inna Giterman, a deaf couple, immigrants from Russia, began selling crepes in downtown Austin in 2007. They called their business Crepe Crazy. In 2014, they finally opened their first brick and mortar creperie west of Austin in Dripping Springs. They’ve been so successful that they opened a second location in 2015 in South Austin.

Crepe Crazy may be the only deaf-owned creperie business in Texas. This intrepid couple hires from the local deaf community for both locations. Customers simply point to what they want on a large menu. A helpful sign reads: “point and ye shall receive.” Sign language is another option. 

Dallas has a few of its own creperie cafes, bakeries, and restaurants, too. For example, Whisk Crepes Cafe in the Sylvan Thirty neighborhood is a popular place to get three squares a day, Parisian style.

The Paris-born owner, Julien Eelsen, has lived and traveled all over the world. But feeling at home in Texas inspired his brisket crepe. It’s filled with smoked meat from a barbecue joint down the street. Another savory crepe on the menu is the one filled with Israeli style tomato sauce and Harissa cream.

Whisk’s owner also celebrates International Crepe Day on February 2. This is a great time to try several crepes since they’re priced for only $2 each in honor of the special day. 

Whisk. From Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style
Photo courtesy of Whisk

Meanwhile, back in Houston, Youssef Youssef Nafaa may have been the trailblazer in the Texas crepe craze. He started his first CoCo Crepes Waffles & Coffee back in 2005. Now, there are nine locations in Houston and more on the way.

Merguez Moroccan Sausage is a one-of-a kind crepe on the menu. Francophiles may be thrilled by other savory and sweet crepe selections. CoCo’s also offers breakfast, lunch, or dinner. And in addition to a host of tasty waffles, customers may order gelato and an array of drinks. 

Coco Crepes. From Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style
Photo courtesy of CoCo's Crepes

Although Texans will probably not stop dining on breakfast tacos, pancakes, or waffles, their love of crepes is sure to continue. Personally, as a member of Alliance Francaise de San Antonio, one of 111 chapters in 45 states, I say Bon appétit!      
 
Bonjour to French Crepes, Texas Style
Photo courtesy of Sweet Paris

 

Rosie Carbo is the Lifestyles Editor for Wandering Educators, and is a former newspaper reporter whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines nationwide. Some of those publications include People magazine, The Dallas Morning News, The Houston Chronicle, and San Antonio Express-News. Some of her features were redistributed by The Associated Press early in her career as an award-winning Texas journalist.

 

 

 

Share