Culture / The Saint

Crepes and coffee: a visit to Brown Butter

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Story by Bella Buck, Reporter
Photos courtesy of Bella Buck

11 a.m. on a March Wed. morning at Aquinas calls for a relaxing brunch with a good friend. On this particular morning, I decided to try out Brown Butter, a local creperie and café located at 1436 Wealthy Street. If the temperature had risen into the 40’s, I would have opted for a walk rather than the five minute car ride from campus.

Walking into the Windmill Building, a piece of Eastown history, you feel as though you’re entering a hole-in-the-wall restaurant; something you might miss if you’re not looking for it. The first thing that caught my eye was the lighting. The sun shone through the large glass windows, which stretched from floor to ceiling. Though there were only six tables to choose from, the space felt much bigger than it appeared.

The decor reminded me of something you’d find on Pinterest when planning your future farmhouse, a true shabby chic appearance. The space was open and clean, but the natural light and furnishing made me feel cozy, unlike many modern cafés.

Rather than order from the table, you order at the counter, which has a glass panel, allowing you a glimpse at the art of crepe making. Always a lover of sweet breakfasts, I decided on the Camp Fire crepe, loaded with peanut butter, graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Of course, also in need of a caffeine boost, I ordered a Café Miel as well. My friend went with the Sweet Lemon crepe, filled with a fresh lemon curd and topped with powdered sugar and whipped cream. She even asked for blueberries to be added on top, and they were more than happy to oblige.

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The staff were very friendly, and even their uniforms made me feel as though I was in France with gourmet chefs — they wore black chef jackets and pants, with a white and grey pinstripe apron. The music added to the experience, which included songs that I imagine are somewhere on a Spotify playlist called “Café Paris.”

The crepes and Belgian waffles range in price from about $6 to $11. Lattes were in the average price range, with my miel costing $4.50. Everything was fresh, tasty, and had a simply elegant presentation. Though $14.05 was a bit more than I wanted to spend on brunch, a crepe is something I wouldn’t normally make for myself (I’m a pancake connoisseur). Plus, what can beat the feeling of walking through a door, leaving Grand Rapids behind and experiencing a taste of French cuisine and culture?

I’ll definitely be returning soon to try a savory crepe, either the Mediterranean (hummus, roasted red peppers, spinach, feta, red pepper sauce and basil topping) or the Classic (ham, swiss, grainy mustard, fresh chives). Hopefully the weather warms up so I can take a break from school and enjoy a walk through Eastown to get to Brown Butter Creperie and Café.

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