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Crepes Take Center Stage at Rachel’s Café & Creperie

February. It’s the month to celebrate ground hogs, Chinese New Year, Presidents Washington and Lincoln, Mardi Gras and that most romantic of days, Valentine’s. Since Valentine’s falls on a Saturday, why not do something different and feel the love over brunch.

While attending Penn State University, Rachel Adams worked part time in a State College creperie. She dreamed of opening a café of her own. That dream came true in 2006, when Rachel opened Rachel’s Café & Creperie.

Adding to her dream-come-true is the fact that she’s working with family: her father, Ray Adams, and her partner and co-owner, Brent Hodge.

Originally located on the 300 block of North Queen Street, Rachel’s moved to a new, larger location on West Walnut Street – the former location of House of Clarendon – in October 2013. Fans were relieved to find that the café was able to retain its charm and flair. They were also happy to discover a deck for outdoor dining and a dedicated parking lot. There’s seating for 48 inside with space for another 25 outside. “I wanted to keep some of the things the same, so the area off the entrance has the same décor with the black-and-white checkered floor and same color palette,” she explains, noting that the rear dining room has a different look and feel.

Artwork and decorative items still reflect the Parisian theme, but there are also painted and embellished chandeliers. The rear dining area features a light-hued wood floor and darker wood tables and hi-tops. It’s done in gray and blue with a wallpaper-accent wall. A large dining table can accommodate groups or serve as a community table.

The new location allowed the kitchen to double in size – there’s now a stove and a smoker, as well as more refrigerator space. That means Brent has more flexibility with both menu items and ingredients. Soups are now made in-house, and smoked meats periodically appear as specials.

Of course, Rachel’s is known for its crepes; the menu features both sweet and savory varieties. Sweet crepes, which are filled with fruit, butter and sugar, nutella or ice cream, are the perfect choice for dessert. Savory crepes make for hearty breakfast or lunch items. “You can put almost anything on a crepe,” Rachel comments.

Customer favorites include egg crepes, build-your-own crepes and Thai chicken crepes. In fact, Thai chicken is so popular that Rachel’s has “Thai Tuesdays,” at which time they are half-price. The entire menu is available all day, every day and is augmented with weekly and seasonal specials. A variety of smoothies and coffee drinks are also available. There’s also a kids’ menu.

On valentine’s day, Rachel plans to serve a special sweetheart menu. But, it seems as if romance is always on the menu at Rachel’s. Since opening in the new location, there have been two engagements. “A lot of couples have their first date here – the atmosphere is fun, and crepes are reasonably priced. We do special things at customer requests – we can write a special edible message on the crepe,” she points out. Rachel recalls a touching moment that transpired at the café: “A soldier who was overseas came back and surprised his wife, who is one of our [regular] breakfast customers,” Rachel says with a smile.

Rachel’s Café & Creperie is located at 201 W. Walnut St., Lancaster. 399-3515, www.rachelscreperie.com and on Facebook. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Since Valentine’s Day is a Saturday, you could make a weekend of it. Dinner on Friday. Lunch on Saturday. Brunch on Sunday. The options abound! Some food for thought:

  • On Orange, 108 W. Orange St., Lancaster, 299-5157, http://onorange.wordpress.com/. This jewel-box of a restaurant is located in a historic 1850s building. Known for its Swedish oatmeal pancakes and waffles, the menu also includes creamed chipped beef (made from a family recipe) as well as chilaquiles (a hearty Mexican dish) and muffuletta (a traditional New Orleans sandwich). For Valentine’s, the menu will include a special omelette.
  • Carr’s Restaurant, 50 W. Grant St., Lancaster, 299-7090, www.carrsrestaurant.com. Warm wood tones combine with a warm, golden wall color to provide a backdrop for local artwork. A glass wall provides a view of the wine cellar. Carr’s menu emphasizes local produce and fresh, local ingredients. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch are available. For Valentine’s Day, Carr’s will be offering the regular dinner menu augmented with specials. Brunch will be offered on Sunday. Guests may want to consider chocolate fondue for dessert ‒ it’s fun and perfect for sharing.
  • The Circular, Hotel Hershey, 100 Hotel Rd., Hershey, 533-2171, http://www.thehotelhershey.com/dining/the-circular.php. The Circular combines casual elegance with fresh flavors. The circular-shaped room is accented with large stained-glass windows that capture the view of the adjoining gardens during the day. At night, when the lights are dimmed, there’s definitely an aura of romance. For Valentine’s, the Circular’s dinner menu will be augmented with specials. The Sunday brunch selection is sumptuous! And, since Hershey is regarded as “the sweetest place on earth,” you can be certain that decadent chocolate creations will be part of the dessert menu.

If you’re an incurable romantic and want to go the wine and roses route, our 2013 Readers’ Survey named The Log Cabin, Belvedere Inn and Greenfield Restaurant as having the most romantic settings in Lancaster County. Add stellar menus and fantastic wine lists and you’re sure to plan a Valentine’s Day to remember!

 

 

 

 

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