They say necessity is the mother of creation.
“I was missing Belgium, food a lot. It’s just a way of life. It was, oh my god, I can’t find a real French pastry in the northeast. I had been to a few places, but it was not tasting like back home at all.”
And while Natasha Legein didn’t invent the crepe, she’s certainly perfected it at The Crepe Corner.
Set in this adorable spot in Cranston, Rhode Island, The Crepe Corner is a family run spot serving all of the recipes Natascha loved growing up in Belgium and longed for once she came to the States.
So when she couldn’t find the sweets she remembered so fondly, she and husband, Anthony Adagboyi decided to do it themselves. And when they wanted to get the recipes just right, they enlisted Natascha’s mother, Chantal to head up the kitchen.
“So she’s the main baker. So she does all the pastries from scratch.”
“Her mom I call her the mad scientist because she literally stuck in the basement in the kitchen, creating all these wonderful pastries. So that’s why I call her that.”
“We’re always speaking French, mom and and I.So no, it’s fun.”
And the three created a casual spot with comfy couches, outdoor options, and a friendly vibe throughout.
“I say it is a regular restaurant with a lounge atmosphere, a patio atmosphere outside. And in the evenings as you know, it gets a little more comfortable and more loungy. So that’s kind of like the vibe.”
When you’re at the Crepe Corner, CLEARLY a crepe is in order. No matter how you order it.
“In English we’d say crepe.”
“I’ve heard every variation you can imagine. I’ve had creepy. I’ve had creep. I’ve had crib.”
“People say, Oh, what’s a creep? No, it’s not a creep. Crepe- don’t butcher it.”
“So a crepe has to be thin, thin, like paper. Therefore, it’s very light and you can dress it with any filling that you really like. It can be sweet or savory.”
When it comes to the sweet, the ‘Oh Sweet Berries Crepe’ is a must order, because this plate is both tasty and pretty.
“It’s the vanilla bean pastry cream that we make. And it’s fresh, seasonal berries. And it’s really pretty when you see you know the color of the pastry cream and then you put the fresh colored berries, the red and purple. It looks really good.”
On the savory side, there are many options like the ‘Jessica’.
“It has fresh veggies caramelized onions and it has egg on it. We do it sunny side up or over easy. And then we drizzle it with our Tasha sauce and our pesto so it’s a very fresh tasting crepe.”
Or the so-called ‘Le Complet’ – a completely delicious crepe.
“It has chicken. It has bacon, cheese, caramelized onion, our house sauce so it’s complete. It’s very filling.”
The other house specialty is their perfectly executed liege waffles.
“The liege waffle is what we eat as a waffle in Belgium.“
“The liege waffles are fantastic. Little nuggets of goodness is what I call them. They’re packed with pearl sugar inside. So you really don’t need a syrup on it. They’re warm. They’re fluffy. You break them apart and it’s just all goodness.”
And just like the crepe, you can get the liege waffles dressed with sweet options like the Apple of My Eye waffle smothered with caramelized apples, cinnamon and vanilla bean pastry cream. Or savory options like the Nacho Average Chicken topped with cheese, tomatoes, caramelized onions, house sauce and cilantro. And for a bit of both sweet AND savory, try the Chicken and Waffles.
“If you’re looking for a nice balance of sweet and savory. That’s the dish to go for. Thinly sliced chicken breast sitting on top of two liege waffles, topped with our house sauce. It has this nice balance of sweet and then the chicken associated because it’s well spiced. So that salt sweet combo always works.”
Beyond Crepes and Waffles, there are plenty of other European inspired ways to start your day. Like a pastry case that greets you as you walk in stocked with sweets made daily. Pain Perdu, a version of French Toast topped with seasonal berries. The Brussels- a fresh, filling combo of poached eggs, local vegetables and a hash brown topped with a bright house made pesto. And of course, that French classic, the croque madame.
“So croque madame is definitely a classic. So it’s essentially ham and cheese panini. But with sunny side up egg. So the idea is to use with your fork and your dipping your sandwich in the yolk to get you know that extra taste. It’s fabulous. I grew up on it.”
And since bringing all of the food she grew up with was the goal. It seems as if Natascha and her family have more than succeeded at The Crepe Corner.