Don’t judge Keys Plaza Creperie by its cover. Yes, it is located in a strip center, but once guests enter the eclectically furnished space, it’s clear this isn’t a diner or deli.
The staff makes a point of greeting customers and showing them to a booth or table. Colorful, unusual lighting fixtures give the dining area an upscale feel and the silverware and water glasses have a nice heft. So even if you are enjoying just a quick breakfast sandwich or a salad at lunch, the setting kicks things up a notch.
That was the plan of the restaurant’s owner, local businessman John Lepouski.
“This is his first restaurant. John decorated it himself and it’s all his concept,” explained manager Missy Abebe. An experienced staff was hired to carry out his vision, but each person was encouraged to add dishes from their own background or ethnicity. Together they created a far-ranging menu with definite European influences.
Take the coffee, which is served French Press-style. You will also find traditional-style lattes, cappuccinos, and cafe mochas (with real chocolate chunks for texture), plus ten loose-leaf teas, also served French Press-style. Even the iced tea is made with Irish Breakfast. Don’t miss the mimosa made with an infusion of their Berry Berry tea, an innovative take on the classic brunch drink.
Keys Plaza Creperie’s breakfast menu is available until closing. You’ll find traditional breakfast selections, ramped up with roasted fingerling potatoes and a baked tomato crisp with Parmesan to accompany. There is a long list of crepes (sweet) and galettes (savory) as well.
For lunch, I highly recommend the restaurant’s scratch-made soups. The potato soup, topped with a dollop of sour cream, is one of my favorites. On my last visit I had cream of cauliflower. Sprinkled with crisp bacon and shredded cheese, it was outstanding.
The panini sandwiches, served hot from the grill, are filled with everything from rib-eye steak to smoked salmon to roasted vegetables. Wraps and quesadillas can be made with gluten-free tortillas for those who request it. From the list of salads, I can vouch for the Wedge Salad, here a crunchy mix of cold iceberg, Feta, bacon bits, and creamy dressing.
And don’t even think about leaving without trying the Crepe Cake Parfait. Tender crepes are layered with pastry cream and dark chocolate ganache and topped with a scoop of Duetto’s French Vanilla gelato, sliced fruit, and strawberry sauce. It was the best dessert I’ve tasted in a long time — full of flavor but not heavy.
Keys Plaza Creperie experimented with serving dinner, but decided to focus on breakfast, lunch, coffee and dessert during the hours the shopping center is busiest. Abebe and her staff have built a strong following of locals in just six months. The restaurant expands the brunch on the weekend with specials like pulled pork Benedict on Saturday and Sunday.
Keys Plaza Creperie
1105 Key Plaza, Key West
(Kmart shopping plaza)
Open daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.