It’s not every day you wander into a storefront coffee shop for a quick breakfast and enjoy it so much you come back for lunch. Diners in St. Louis are having this déjà vu moment–even getting their drink on–at Crepes: etc. in St. Louis.
Crepes: etc. is the daytime counterpart to the trendy Scape American Bistro located next door along Maryland Plaza in the city’s Central West End. Chef Eric Kelly oversees both, bringing innovative, international twists to diners from breakfast to dinner.
Kelly, who once trained under uber-chef Wolfgang Puck, clearly isn’t satisfied to send diners out the door with a belly full of run-of-the-mill breakfast. Eggs are plentiful and dressed to the nines, as evidenced by the Mushroom Omelet, which sports cremini, oyster and shiitake with cheddar. For the more adventurous there’s Double Crème Brie with Granny Smith Apple.
A fan of breakfast sandwiches myself, I heard the Commuter Sandwich calling my name: egg, cheddar, fresh avocado, bacon, tomato & mayo. I was tempted to ask the chef to hold the mayo but figured it was there for a reason so I took it as offered. Good decision. The mayo added a creamy-dreamy warmth that I loved.
My editor and dining mate wisely chose the Cornflake Crusted Brioche French Toast. Piled high with vanilla cinnamon cream and fresh strawberries, it was textural masterpiece–and, to my advantage, highly sharable.
The namesake crepes, both sweet and savory, are offered for breakfast and lunch and are made fresh on one of two cookers just behind the counter. Think of it as a meal with entertainment: you can chat up the chefs as you watch them craft your creation. By early afternoon I was ready to enjoy the Sundried Tomato and Chicken crepe with goat cheese while my editor indulged in the Skinny Californian with chicken, bacon, swiss, tomato, avocado with a ladle-full of not-so-skinny mornay. Who cares? Delicious, both.
For the more traditional diner there are plenty of sandwiches, salads and soups from which to choose. For those in need of a chocolate fix I can recommend the hot chocolate with a giant homemade marshmallow, or the chocolate pancakes with cream and strawberries.
Note to diners: On weekdays this is a breakfast and lunch joint exclusively, serving until mid-afternoon. On Friday and Saturday, however, trendy Maryland Plaza dwellers can nosh until midnight, enjoy a liquored-up illy Cafe, or wander the neighborhood with one of Crepes: etc.‘s signature gelato flavors.
I’ve left for last one of the first things that stood out: the kickin’ blues music that greets you as you walk in the door. The soulful groove of B.B. King, Otis Rush and Muddy Waters is the last thing I expected, and one of the things I enjoyed the most. I got a charge out of watching diners young and old stretch out in their chairs, sway and tap their toes as they lingered over French pastry and espresso.
Overall, nothing to be blue about here except for the fact that Crepes: etc. is one of a kind. Chef Kelly, you can wheel your crepe griddle to my neighborhood any time.