Les Crepes in Carytown claims to be the only true creperie in Richmond; after all, that’s their specialty. The “fake fine dining” spot, as they call it, has been in its Carytown location since 2017 and prides itself on being a big family operation.
Burger crepe? They got it. Carbonara? Lasagna? Yep. Want something sweeter? Maybe the Oreo and ice cream stuffed is what you’re looking for. Whatever crepe you could want, Les Crepes in Carytown has it, and you’re doing yourself a disservice by not stopping by there.
Unlike the streets of Paris, Richmond isn’t dotted with creperies on every block. Les Crepes was founded to tap into this market and bring an inventive and original spin on the French classic — which, for those not in the know, is a thin pancake in either sweet or savory varieties, wrapped around any of a wide variety of fillings.
The business has been in its Carytown location since 2017, sharing a building with Karina’s Salon. It’s now being run by Andrea Ramirez and Gonzalo Viloria. The pair has brought unique crepes and cocktails to the business, making it not only the one true “creperie” in Richmond, but one of the most inventive French restaurants in the city as well.
“I think we are educating people about crepes. Most of the time, people are like, ‘Crepes are only with Nutella!’ Or ‘only for breakfast!’” said Ramirez. “When they come and see that they can have a steak or tenderloin that is so delicious, or a carbonara or a lasagna in a crepe, they are educated and see how it is really very versatile.”
Beyond the obligatory Nutella crepe, a standard on any creperie menu, Les Crepes has menu items inspired by global cuisines. Chef Viloria says that his favorite is the lamb curry crepe, featuring slow-roasted lamb, mangoes, and pineapple.
It’s not just the crepes that Les Crepes has to offer, either. Ramirez claims that Les Crepes isn’t fine dining, but their cocktail program tells a different story. Their house negroni features smoked rosemary, and how many restaurants in Carytown regularly serve drinks with pastis?
Ramirez says that, although it is their specialty, it can be hard to only do crepes. Les Crepes’ menu does feature some non-crepe items, like lobster ravioli and a house caprese salad.
Ramirez has a talent for bar service and making drinks. She says that people come back for her custom drinks — some won’t even order anything from the bar if she’s not working. One of their more popular drinks is the vanilla cinnamon bourbon latte; it describes and sells itself, she said.
Viloria brings his own talent to Les Crepes. After gaining knowledge at a culinary school in Venezuela, he worked in the kitchen at the prestigious Eurobuilding hotel in Caracas.
“We try to make crepes that are influenced from around the world,” said Viloria.
There’s a lot of love that goes into making Les Crepes what it is. Ramirez was initially brought into Les Crepes through her friendship with the former owners, who invited her to work when she was unemployed during the pandemic. Ramirez says that the staff is one big family. Viloria’s son works with them, as do Ramirez’s mother and father.
Many local restaurants across the country are struggling to stay in business because of the ongoing pandemic, and Les Crepes is no exception. Luckily, they have the space to host private and safe events for the customers who seek it out. The Carytown location has a gorgeous side patio and a ballroom-esque second floor that are perfect for events or a brunch date.
“If you Google ‘romantic dinner restaurants,’ we’re there,” said Ramirez. “Or ‘best patios,’ or ‘brunch,’ we’re there. Right now I’ve been trying to push baby showers and bridal showers and private events. Valentine’s was such a hit, it was gorgeous and everyone wanted a romantic place.”
Photos by Noah Daboul