Young and Hungry

Crepes: Are They the New Cupcakes?

crepes in chinatown

With all due respect to my colleague, Metrocurean, I don't think the macaroon is the next cupcake, not unless you've got the bank to hang out at Adour or Restaurant Eve. I think another French treat is more likely to supplant the little frosted cakes in the hearts of Washingtonians: crepes.

Why? First off, because the tissue-thin pancakes are tasty and easy to eat on the go (although they can quickly turn rubbery if the batter is over-mixed, as Carrie and I learned this weekend when we bought a Nutella pancake from the newish Crepes on the Walk in Chinatown).

crepes twoSecond, crepes are far easier to make than macaroons — and don't require as many ingredients, which makes them more attractive to potential businesses.

Third, crepes can swing both ways, sweet and savory, which means you don't have to have the sweet tooth of a 5-year-old to enjoy them.

And finally, creperies are starting to mushroom around the area, much like cupcakeries have. Aside from Crepes on the Walk, there are two more recent additions to the scene: Crepe Amour in Georgetown and the Choupi crepe cart in Arlington. More are, no doubt, on the way.

  • saf

    Also the Crepes at the Market cart at Eastern Market

  • hilaryJ

    Crepe cart in Bethesda. True sign of a food fad.

  • Former Staffer

    Crepes are so Berkeley 1997.

  • Elle Kay

    Crepeaway on L Street and Crepes a Gogo on P, though I'm not sure this is a new food fad so much as the east coast catching up to what we San Francisco kids have known all along.

    I still say gourmet donuts are the new cupcake.

  • An Briosca Mor

    What goes around comes around.

  • Jenna

    Yeah, but gourmet dounts are the trend that cupcakes replaced (i.e., Krispy Kreme - before they expanded too fast and compromised their product quality and brand). I agree that donuts are due to make a comeback, but I don't see them replacing cupcakes - like, a donut tower is never going to look as pretty as a cupcake tower at a wedding.

    I also think that macarons can't be the next cupcake because they're so difficult for the home baker to make - they require a lot of technique and skill to make. Any home baker can get a box mix (shudder) and make a cupcake - you can't do that with macarons. They also don't really present the same kind of artistic possibilities as a cupcake - yes, you can stamp designs on a macaron and make them in different colors, but that's about it.

    Which is the same reason why I'm not really sold on the crepes either (sorry Tim). They're just too different. A crepe isn't inherently decorative or whimsical like a cupcake is. Like, part of the appeal of the cupcake is that it's a blank slate - you can use the cake and frosting platform to make any creation - wedding cupcakes, flower cupcakes, children's cupcakes, etc. But a crepe? It's always a crepe. Delicious, yes, but not really open to the same artistic interpretation. Like, part of the reason why cupcakes are popular is that you can use them for theme parties, weddings, baby showers, etc. But how would a baby shower crepe differ from a wedding crepe? Or a Halloween crepe from a Christmas crepe? And you have to make them to order - you'd actually have to have a person come to your wedding and make a crepe, which is an entirely different price point than ordering a couple hundred cupcakes from a local bakery.

    I think you'd do better to compare crepes to other types of street food (like, will crepes become more popular than hot dogs?) than to compare them to cupcake shops.

    I actually think the petit four might be the next cupcake. At least that's what Anthony Chavez, the pastry chef at 1789 proposed when I interviewed him:

  • Jenna

    Sorry, I meant Anthony Chavez at 2941. I always mix up the two "date" restaurants.

  • matt

    I predict at least 75% of the new crepe businesses in the area are gone in a year.

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