Ed. Note: Sadly, this location has closed.
The Crepe Maker
175 Peabody Place
While we were in San Francisco we saw several places that had a guy in a window making crepes. Several times the monkeys (Satchel, 8, and Jiro 6) insisted on stopping to watch (and drool) through the window. Sadly we never had a chance to actually eat at one of these places.
When we returned to Memphis, Satchel was still lamenting the fact that he did not get to eat any crepes. That's when I remembered the Crepe Maker downtown. "I'll take you to get a crepe after we go to the Farmer's Market on Saturday," I promised him.
I made good on my promise a couple of weeks ago. It was a blistering hot day, so I didn't think we should make the walk from the market, or even my office which is closer, so I decided to drive to the restaurant. Finding street parking is pretty tricky downtown, so I sucked it up and parked inside the Peabody Place garage caddy corner to the Hampton Inn, where the Crepe Maker is housed. I wasn't thrilled about leaving my market bounty in the hot car, but I was less thrilled at the thought of lugging it over to the restaurant.
The Crepe Maker is very small inside. There's seating for six at small tables, three seats at a bar facing the wall, and a small two-seater table outside. When we arrived all of the seats were full and the one lone employee was cooking up crepes as fast as she could. I didn't see any menus handy, so we all stared up at the giant menu board.
As you can see, there are quite a few selections. I highly recommend looking at the menu in advance if at all possible. (There isn't one on the website and the one on Urbanspoon is pretty hard to read.)
After a cursory glance at the menu, I determined the Red & Black to be closest to what Jiro wanted--strawberries and Nutella. I ordered him one with whipped cream. Satchel didn't seem to know what he wanted so I sold him on the pizza crepe from the kids' menu. I hadn't really planned on getting anything, but I realized that this was not going to be a quick in and out as I had imagined, so I ordered a Western Crepe which includes eggs, tomatoes, black beans, corn, sweet red onions and cheese.
Since the only employee present was busy making others' food, she just jotted down my order real quick and then handed us cups to get drinks on the house. This pleased me enough to wipe the unhappy look off of my face.
The monkeys always love getting their own fountain drinks. They filled up, then we just stood and watched as the woman cooked since there was nowhere else to go.
Jiro soon had soda dribbles on his hands and gave me his all too common complaint, "My hands are sticky." He's been driving me nuts with this, but since we clearly had a long wait, I agreed to take him to wash his hands. The woman directed me to go the inside of the hotel. Satchel chose to stand guard while we were gone.
The bathroom was very large and very nice since it was a part of the hotel. I don't recall seeing a changing table, but that doesn't mean there isn't one.
When we got back, the woman still hadn't started on our order and the other people in the restaurant still hadn't abandoned their tables so we could sit down. The woman apologized and said that it wasn't always this busy. Clearly we just had an ill-timed visit.
Meanwhile another employee showed up and appeared to unload several boxes from her car. She eventually settled in and started ringing people up. I went ahead and paid for our food so we could get out quickly when we were done eating. With our free drinks, the total was $15. (The kids' crepe actually comes with a free drink and small bag of Goldfish.)
By the time everything was ready there was still no seating, but the second employee told us we could eat in the hotel lobby. (There are a couple of tables outside the restaurant between it and the hotel, but they were also full.) The monkeys were absolutely thrilled to eat inside the hotel lobby. It was fine with me too because frankly the restaurant is a little claustrophobic. My only concern was getting to the table without the monkeys dropping their food.
I found that our presence in the hotel lobby immediately made everyone think we were tourists, including the Crepe Maker employees, which I kind of liked. If the monkeys were to go crazy, chances are no one would notice or care. Everyone was happy and on vacation!
Ok so on to the food. Satchel's crepe was just a plain ol' cheese pizza crepe, but it had the right spices added, so it tasted pretty good.
Eating it was a bit tricky. Satchel complained that it was falling apart on several occasions. The small cone cup they give you to help with the eating, only helped a little bit. The crepes come out extremely hot too, which makes the eating of them by children even more difficult when cheese is involved.
Jiro's crepe wasn't as hot since it was just Nutella and strawberries. It was a little unwieldy, but I heard no complaints from him. (My only complaint was that cook forgot the whipped cream, so it came on the side. Actually, it was probably better that way.)
See? Happy boy.
My Western Crepe was actually quite good. I would have liked the outside a bit crisper, but overall it was very tasty. I was impressed. Satchel was also impressed and ate about half of it, once I removed the tomatoes for him. (A word on the tomatoes--they are described as "vine ripened" on the menu, and are actually very good. No pink mushy tomatoes to be found. However, I doubt they are local.)
When the monkeys like something, they immediately want to know when they can come back. I suggested we return on kids eat free night.
We did in fact return for kids eat free night this past Tuesday since the kids were at the Y camp downtown. This time it was raining so we didn't walk, as I had planned. I went ahead and parked in the garage right next to the Hampton Inn, which was just $1 per hour. We were then able to walk under cover all the way to the hotel, which was just a few feet away. On our way in and out, Jiro had a blast running through this fountain in the hidden courtyard.
The restaurant wasn't as crowded as the first time we went, but the service was painfully slow again. A man was working this time and he was busy talking on the phone for most of our visit. Thankfully, I think the monkeys have gotten their crepe craving out of their systems.