March 18 2013 12:00 AM

American Crepes brings a French favorite to East Lansing


Thursday, Jan. 5 — Crepes are a staple of French cuisine. But do they have a place in East Lansing? Mais oui, says Theresa Rice, owner of American Crepes, which opened Dec. 18 in the Trowbridge Plaza.

Rice, a graduate of Aquinas College who lived in Costa Rica for several years before making her home in East Lansing, said she was talking to her boyfriend about the area’s lack of a crepe-oriented restaurant last year. The conversation inspired her to launch her first eatery.

“It’s a family-owned business,” Rice says, “It’s not a franchise — it’s an all-original concept.”

The restaurant has taken over the space previously occupied by the short-lived Pakistani/Indian-oriented Kahari King Grill. Cleaning up and refurbishing the space has been a challenge, Rice said.

“We’ve had some 100-hour weeks,” she said, adding that the interior is still getting a few finishing touches.

American Crepes divides its menu into two categories: savory and sweet. The savory items include a three-cheese crepe ($5.25), a pizza crepe ($5.50), a turkey pesto crepe and a B.L.T. crepe (both $5.75). For those seeking something sweet, there’s a Nutella or Nutella/banana crepe (both $4.75), a peanut butter and jelly crepe ($4.75), a jelly and cream cheese crepe ($4.75) and a S’mores crepe ($5).

Although the U.S. experienced a brief burst of crepe mania in the mid-1980s when The Magic Pan chain expanded nationwide — and faded out soon afterward — Rice understands that many diners haven’t become acquainted with the thin but versatile egg, milk and butter pancakes.

“So we’ve tried to make the menu familiar to everyone so they don’t get scared away: People are sometimes afraid to try new things,” she said.

American Crepes
986 Trowbridge Road, East Lansing
10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
(517) 203-5927