Spending the winter months hunkered down in Kansas City may not be the most tropical of destinations. It does offer us a chance to build up a backlog of topics for articles about our hometown. Fortunately, if we run out of ideas, we can simply ask our readers, and get a ton of great suggestions. A day planned for visiting the World War 1 Museum needed a great breakfast jump start, and you all really went above and beyond with the list. Many were stored away for future outings, and the final decision was made to visit Chez Elle, at 1713 Summit Street. We were anxious to sample their menu filled with pancake’s fancy brother.
We want to thank Chez Elle for their hospitality. Rest assured that all opinions are our own.
Just Like In The Movies
Chez Elle is the brainchild of owner Ellen Trakas. We were fortunate to run into her during our visit, and I spoke with her about her passion. The building has been converted from the old Summit Theater, which is evident from the remaining ticket window. Everything else bespeaks a flair of a Parisian creperie and coffee house. Ellen fell in love with this staple of French life during a stay in France. Chez Elle is not only unique in its menu, it is also one of only a few restaurants that we are aware of that is truly environmentally nurturing. The paper goods are all compostable, and they even recycle the coffee grounds for use in making garden compost for local farms.
Our Visit To Chez Elle
We met up with our daughter for breakfast, and beat her there by a few minutes. This gave us time to order some lattes, since we were already well caffeinated by now. When we entered the building, we were deposited into a large foyer, where the window is for ordering. A huge chalkboard sign lists the available crepes, which come in sweet, savory, and breakfast categories. We decided to wait for our daughter, before picking our dishes, so that we could create a trifecta of flavors. After placing our drink orders, we found some seating in the main dining area.
Soon our coffees were delivered, and before long we were joined by our daughter. By chance, the owner was in the restaurant that morning, and we had a chance to talk with her. She explained a little of the history of the building, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. As she spoke, it was apparent she had a strong connection with the area, and wanted to leave a positive mark in its history. Our discussion turned to the crepes, and it was decided that picking one from each of the main categories would give a good sampling of the menu.
Pancake’s Fancy Brother
Many people wonder what the difference is between crepes and pancakes (I used to.) The main thing is that pancakes are made with a raising agent, such as baking powder or soda, while crepes are not. This allows crepes to remain a thin skin in comparison. After we had placed our order, I wandered over to the station where the crepes are prepared. I watched with wonder, as the cook ladled the batter, and then leveled it across the cooking surface. It was very entertaining to see this being done, and at Chez Elle, there are windows that allow viewing. I’m betting kids would love to see this, as well.
Time To Dine
Our dishes arrived sooner than I had expected, and I had to scramble a little to decide the best way to photograph the plates. It was finally decided to just move them to an empty table nearby for the pictures. Our selections included one each of; Bonjour (A breakfast crepe with bacon, eggs, and cheese), Patriote (A sweet crepe with strawberries, blueberries, and bananas with whipped cream and two sauces), and Le Jardin (A savory crepe with vegetables and cheeses) . Once the pictures were completed, we all started in on our original choices. After a while, we switched plates to sample the other two varieties. By the end, there was still a portion of two of the crepes left, and all three of us were stuffed. With a solid breakfast, that included some protein, under our belts, we were now ready to go explore Kansas City. It was my first visit to a creperie, and now I’ve discovered a delicious alternative to pancakes.