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The Little Creperie owners Christina Hoppe (left) and Melina Ambargis (right). Courtesy photo.




The Little Creperie

Where: 138 N. Main St., Concord
Hours: Open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Contact: 856-7807, thelittlecreperienh.com




Creating the creperie
New eatery brings crepes and waffles to Concord

08/25/16
By Angie Sykeny asykeny@hippopress.com



 When The Little Creperie owners Christina Hoppe and Melina Ambargis opened their new crepe and waffle shop in downtown Concord last May, they expected a fairly quiet debut with the occasional pop-in from curious passersby. What happened took them both by surprise.

“We just opened our doors and all these people came in, and we thought, ‘Oh, my god, what’s happening?’” Hoppe said. “There was so much business that we sold out of crepe batter and had to close early.”
Prior to The Little Creperie, Hoppe and Ambargis met and worked together at an office job on Main Street. At lunchtime, they often struggled to find a place that served quality food during the work day, so when the opportunity came, they decided to start their own restaurant serving breakfast and lunch.
The simple yet versatile nature of crepes, and Hoppe’s and Ambargis’ shared affinity for them, made a creperie the natural choice.
“You can fill a crepe with something sweet or savory, which is what appealed to us,” Ambargis said. “And it’s something different. It’s different from what’s usually offered around here, but just enough so that it’s still accessible to everybody.”  
The menu features savory crepes like the Local Ham (ham, baby Swiss cheese and maple Dijonnaise) and the popular Fancy Pig (bacon, mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, arugula and pesto) and sweet crepes like blueberry, strawberry and the Favorite (Nutella and banana).
While crepes are the main draw, Hoppe and Ambargis know that not everyone is a fan. That’s why they also added a waffle selection to the menu with inventive options like a blue corn waffle topped with candied bacon, a Funfetti waffle with vanilla glaze and the popular waffled mac ’n’ cheese — real macaroni and cheese crisped in a waffle iron and served with buffalo ranch sauce.
“Our menu is basically things that are familiar to people, but a little different,” Hoppe said. “We take something everyone has had, like macaroni and cheese or the Funfetti for kids, and we reinvent it and make it more interesting.”
Developing the menu took Hoppe and Ambargis countless hours of researching, brainstorming and ordering and analysing the crepes and waffles at other restaurants, plus lots of recipe testing. Some of the recipes they use are traditional or borrowed — there’s even a crepe made from Ambargis’s mother’s recipe — but the original creations required more experimentation. 
“We just worked from a basic waffle recipe, then came up with different mixtures and ingredients and tried them on my parents’ waffle iron at home first,” Hoppe said. “It’s broken now. There was a lot of trial and error.”
The Little Creperie uses locally sourced ingredients like berries from Apple Hill Farm in Concord, maple syrup from Ben’s Sugar Shack in Temple and milk from Contoocook Creamery at Bohanan Farm. With only eight kinds of crepes and six kinds of waffles, Ambargis said that keeping the menu small is part of the design; it makes things simpler for customers so they aren’t overwhelmed with too many choices, and it makes things simpler for the creperie as they source their ingredients.
“We want to be mindful of our ingredients, and I think the more you expand the menu, the harder it is to get all of the best ingredients,” she said.
The drink selection is also simple: locally roasted and cold-brew coffee, hot and iced tea and mimosas on the weekends.
Hoppe and Ambargis said that eventually they may look into branching out with more locations of The Little Creperie, but for now they’re focused on getting to know their customers and listening to their feedback.
“We’re really grateful that people have been coming in and that we have so many regulars already,” Hoppe said. “That’s the best part.” 





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