Crepe escape: Healthy eatery sets up shop at BMFA - Brownsville Herald: Local News

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Crepe escape: Healthy eatery sets up shop at BMFA

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Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 10:06 am

A lot of people said it would be too hard, too expensive, too much red tape, for Melissa de la Garza to start her own business.

Three years later, she’s about to open a second location. De la Garza is owner and founder of Crepe Town Artisan Kitchen, which started life under a tent at the Brownsville Farmers’ Market, did business for a couple of years on Sundays out of 7th & Park coffee shop, and since April has been operating out of the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art, 660 E. Ringgold St.

With a full commercial kitchen and a handful of employees, Crepe Town’s concentration is on making crepes and other items with healthy ingredients. De la Garza said she’s loved cooking since she was a child, wasn’t impressed with the job market, and so decided to launch a venture of her own, with healthy eating at the core.

Crepes, introduced to the world by the French, seemed like the perfect vehicle, though de la Garza puts her own spin on the traditional crepe (essentially a really thin pancake), using more egg and milk and less flour in order to cut the calories. She experimented with different recipes using all-natural ingredients and found several that suited her.

Crepe Town’s current menu includes a poblano chicken crepe with corn, poblano pepper, onion, Manchego cheese and poblano dressing; a turkey and cheese crepe with spinach and chipotle dressing; and a vegan crepe with a homemade vegan patty, avocado, quinoa, tomato and spinach with cilantro dressing.

The menu also features a number of non-crepe items — de la Garza added a curry chicken salad just recently — and she likes to change it up on a regular basis to keep things interesting. French toast is a new addition to the breakfast menu, which includes, as you might expect, breakfast crepes.

“We change a little bit every month,” de la Garza said.

Crepe Town makes all its own dressings as opposed to buying the commercial stuff, and offers customers three type of flour for crepe making: oatmeal, wheat or spinach, which makes for a distinctly green crepe. De la Garza places a premium on originality and not copying anybody else.

The Women’s Business Center Rio Grande Valley and the “Adopt-a-Startup” program at the University of Texas-RGV were instrumental in teaching her the essentials of running a business — creating a business plan, keeping track of revenue and expenses, accessing business financing, etc., she said.

De la Garza wants other women to see that it’s not impossible to start a successful business from the bottom up, even with children. The mother of three, she’s in a position to know.

De la Garza made a substantial investment in kitchen equipment at the museum, Crepe Town is open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. six days a week. To milk more return out of that investment, she’s planning to open a second crepery — this one in the food court at Sunrise Mall — in about a month. The location will have a different name and focus on more traditional crepes so as not to compete with the BMFA location, she said.

In addition to the help from other quarters, De la Garza said the farmers market itself provided a valuable education in maintaining a business. The crepes turned out to be a hit with market patrons, which eased the transition into a full-fledged eatery, she said.

Still, with air conditioning, refrigeration and food delivery, life is clearly easier at BMFA, de la Garza said. Cooking under a tent? That’s hard.

“A restaurant is super easy for me,” she said.

Crepe Town is on Facebook and Instagram.

Crepe Town Artisan Kitchen, Brownsville Museum of Fine Art

660 E. Ringgold St.

Hours: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Saturday

(956) 336-7334

sclark@brownsvilleherald.com

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