Streetside Creperie is one of a kind in downtown Conway. I sat down with Spencer, the owner, to discover the world of crepes and what makes this place so sweet. Here is our Q & A from our chat:
Homeward: How did you guys get started?
Spencer: Well….Me and Lesley met. She was working for Heifer International as their CSA Coordinator. I was teaching for a non-profit called Farm and Food Innovation Center, teaching people about sustainable agriculture and different methods of growing food. So we met through our jobs that way. We both knew that we wanted to start our own business and we both knew we were very passionate about local food and trying to build a stronger local food system. So we thought, how can we combine these two things? We knew we wanted to start our own kitchen, I had been doing it my whole life and loved the culinary field. So, crepes were a way for us to get into our own kitchen, for a low amount of money. Most kitchens take lots of money, but for crepes we were able to avoid a lot of those costs, which made the start-up feasible. So that was one reason for crepes. Second reason, is they are extremely versatile. You can do sweet and savory and since we wanted to try and use as many local products as we can, that was important to us. We wrote a business plan for it, talked to some business people here in town and got connected with people. They encouraged us to submit our business plan and we did, and here we are.
Homeward: For those that don’t know, what exactly is a crepe?
Spencer: Often people believe that crepes are a French thing, which they are, but they are also all around the world. You can find crepes near every country, in one form or fashion. Basically, imagine a thin style pancake that can be both sweet and savory. It’s usually filled with sweet or savory things, from ham and cheese to strawberry and Nutella.
Homeward: Top 3 crepes to eat before I die?
Spencer: Hmmm…. I would say the “House crepe” is where this all started, for us at least. It’s pick two fruits, strawberry, blueberry, or banana and then pick a drizzle, which is either Nutella, local honey, or peanut butter, and then a little bit of Greek yogurt to make it a little bit more creamy. That one is really good. A lot of people come in and get it for breakfast, and I eat it a lot! The ham and cheese is really delicious here as well. All of the ham is coming from grass foods cooperative, which is Arkansas forested ham. It’s just a really tasty crepe! And then strawberry Nutella. It’s the iconic, ideal crepe. When people thing of crepes, they think of this one. It’s phenomenal.
Homeward: That one is my personal favorite! What do you like about being downtown?
Spencer: Well, we knew we wanted to be downtown. We actually looked for a long time for a location. There is something about just being in the heart of a city. We just feel like it’s the place you need to be if you’re really trying to change a community. We consider this as the heart of Conway, so we knew we wanted to be downtown because of that reason. We are not trying to sell people crepes… that’s really not why we are here. That’s not what wakes us up every morning. It’s to talk about local food and get local food into people’s hands and talk to them about the importance of supporting local farmers and really the necessity of providing ourselves with good food. So many problems that we have in society right now are because of not having good food. These farmers are producing good food for us, and we need to support them. We don’t need to let them die out.
Homeward: So, that kind of leads me into this…. are most of your ingredients local?
Spencer: We are working everyday to get more and more that we can local. Times like this, in the winter, it gets harder to source as much. We do have a winter menu coming out soon that works with a lot of preservatives. We are working with Marie’s Homemade Country Fair. She does all kind of preservatives and uses only products that she gets here in Arkansas. So, a lot of our product is. I can say that our menu has more local products than anywhere else in town. We really make a point to do it. I’ll be honest… we don’t make a ton of money with this business, because of the margin being so low, but we knew that going into it. We didn’t start this as something to get rich, we wanted to create it to be able to facilitate in our fashions. It’s doing that, and doing that fairly well.
Homeward: What do you want people to know about Streetside?
Spencer: That we do try to source as much locally as we can and the importance of supporting your local farmers and rallying behind them. You go to meet them, and they are like the most hardworking individuals you will ever meet and they are providing the basic necessity that we all need and they are providing it in a way that is actually still good for us, our planet and our economy. I really want people to know that whenever you come in here, even if you don’t get something that doesn’t have a local product, you are supporting our business so that we can get more local products to do other things. I want people to know that when you come here, you are not just buying a crepe, you’re able to support now one of three to four dozen farmers.
Homeward: Besides buying food local, how else do you tie in the community?
Spencer: Anytime we have extra product, that we need to do something with, we are never going to throw it away. We are always going to (as longs as it’s safe) donate it in some form or fashion. We work with Bethlehem House a lot, we walk over there frequently and deliver food to them. We also give out crepe wands.(Its a tool we use to spin out the crepes) People come to us and ask about raffles. We always have extra crepe wands that we hand out for the winner to bring it in for a crepe and a coffee on us. We probably give out about ten or more of those a month.
This Friday, Feb. 17th Homeward is giving away FREE coffee with the purchase of a crepe to the first 40 customers. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed.
You can follow Streetside Creperie on Facebook here, and their tasty menu is here.