Often thought of as just dessert or breakfast food, crepes aren’t expected to be the foundation of a restaurant, but that’s exactly what downtown Ann Arbor’s What Crepe? is doing – and it works.
The idea behind What Crepe? was conceived when owner Paul Jenkins Jr. fell in love with crepes while visiting Toronto, inspiring him to bring a crepe-only restaurant to Michigan. The Royal Oak and Birmingham locations came first, and their success led to the Ann Arbor location, which opened in 2013.
The restaurant’s atmosphere is both cozy and elegant with reclaimed wood paneling alongside chandeliers and French décor touches. A television over the bar playing a black and white movie (instead of the omnipresent sports programming) adds to the vintage-chic ambiance.
Choose from several different savory and sweet crepes on the menu, or build your own. The list of ingredients includes items like artichoke hearts, chorizo and brie cheese for savory crepes, as well as caramelized apples, peanut butter, and various fruit sorbets for the sweeter version.
What Crepe? is also friendly to vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diners. Any of the crepes can be made with vegan or gluten-free batter, and there are enough vegan and vegetarian filling options to satisfy those with even the strictest dietary restrictions.
“That’s the great part about our menu,” said Nicole Myint, General Manager/Manager of Marketing and Events, “there’s something for everyone.”
Although its name implies otherwise, What Crepe? serves more than just crepes. The menu features soups and salads, as well as What Crepe? Crispies (crispy chip-like crepe pieces) served with one of their many dips as an appetizer.
No matter what you decide on, “everything is homemade and cooked to order,” Myint explained. That extra effort definitely shows.
I decided on The Standby Crepe. It arrived at the table wrapped like a burrito and stuffed full of baby spinach along with grilled asparagus, grape tomatoes, avocado and melted Swiss cheese. It was tasty, fresh and filling.
My companion ordered some of the Spicy Chicken Truffle (spicy chicken, spinach, Swiss cheese and a truffle “zip” sauce), which I sampled. It was hearty and had a pleasant – but not overpowering – kick. It’s no surprise it’s one of the most popular menu items.
As satisfying as the entrée crepes were, the dessert crepes were the true stars. The Nutty Monkey—with bananas, candied pecans, Nutella and powdered sugar, all topped with a baseball-sized scoop of vanilla ice cream and whipped cream was deliciously decadent and big enough to split.
What Crepe? is also heavily involved in the local community and often sponsoring community events and programs. The focus on the local community also plays out in the bar menu. The only location with a full bar, Ann Arbor’s What Crepe? features several specialty cocktails with local liquors, as well as local beer and wine.
What Crepe? provides an intimate, unique dining experience with menu options that ensure you’ll always have something new to try.
241 E. Liberty St.
Tuesday-Thursday, 11am-9pm; Friday, 11am-11pm;