Akheqir Hermiz has been in the restaurant business for several years. After moving to New Zealand from his native Iraq, Hermiz served up traditional Mediterranean food like gyros and hummus.
When Hermiz and his wife, Nora (“My boss,” he assures me), moved to the Northern San Joaquin Valley to be closer to family a few years ago, they wanted to open another restaurant. But they wanted to do something that wasn’t readily available in these parts.
They came up with crepes, and about a month ago, The Créperie opened on Countryside Drive in Turlock. The couple were thrilled with the location, just off Highway 99. It’s accessible for travelers, which for now includes them. The Hermizes live in Ceres, though they plan to move to Turlock soon.
Crepes, essentially thin pancakes, are made on a special round griddle. They look pretty complicated, as Hermiz pours on the batter, then smooths it into a perfect circle with a spatula. I asked how many he messed up before he perfected the technique. “Maybe two,” he said.
Once the crepes are cooked, they are adorned with a wide variety of fillings, ranging from sweet (bananas, strawberries and Nutella are a favorite) to savory (such as the chicken with feta).
I was not aware of this in my first experience with crepes, when my mom made them many years ago (having no special griddle, she used the bottom of a frying pan). My mom made a batch of crepes, then left the kitchen to attend to something before filling them. I wandered in at that point, spotted the crepes and quickly ate most if not all of them. Oops.
The menu at The Créperie includes a variety of options, including crepes with salmon, roast beef or turkey for those looking for a meal, and blueberries, apples or ice cream for dessert or a sweet snack. There even are bacon, egg and cheese crepes for breakfast.
Nora Hermiz said lots of folks have been coming in for lunch and then splitting a sweet crepe for dessert.
The cafe also serves salads and soups the couple have perfected over the years, but it’s the crepes that have already delivered crowds. Akheqir Hermiz said on a recent Sunday, he spent 13 hours at the griddles, hardly moving. “But it’s not hard, heavy work,” he said. And the couple have enjoyed meeting customers.
From the reviews on Yelp, the customers feel the same way. Said Roni C. of San Jose: “One word, AMAZING!!!! There is no way you will go wrong with anything. This place is in a great location and the food is the best. The owners are the sweetest people ever.”
The couple take pride in the freshness of their food and its appeal on the plate.
“It’s an art,” said Akheqir Hermiz as he deftly slid a berry-banana-Nutella crepe onto a square plate. “People eat with their eyes before their stomachs.”
I had one of their crepes, and I have to agree – but your stomach will follow soon enough.
Find The Créperie at 1668 Countryside Drive, in the Walmart parking lot. The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 209-850-9258 or look at the restaurant’s Facebook page.
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
Great news for fans of Yesterday’s Books. The longtime Modesto used-book retailer, closed after a fire earlier this month, has reopened.
Nobody was hurt in the fire, which was contained to the attic. But owner Paula Gauthier took advantage of the time needed to restore the attic after the blaze to do a deep-clean of the shop and the air.