Pop-up shop appears at Gannon

Klassen’s Give a Crepe, LaCrepErie sets up in Morosky



In 2016, Stephani Klassen started her first pop-up crepe shop. In April 2019, Give a Crepe found a permanent home in the Hilltop District on Peach Street, a far cry from the original crepe cart.

Madeline Bruce, Editor-in-Chief

In 2016, Stephani Klassen set out to prove her mentor wrong.

He previously told her that the people of Erie don’t like crepes, and because there wasn’t an unmet need in the area, a crepe restaurant wouldn’t survive.

So, she borrowed his crepe irons and started popping up around the city selling crepes by herself. She hauled the equipment, set up shop and spun all the crepes by herself. Soon enough, she proved her mentor wrong.

“After my first pop-up, I was able to purchase my own crepe iron,” she said. “That was six years ago this October.”

This was just the beginning of Give a Crepe, La CrepErie, a locally owned crepe restaurant located at 2431 Peach St. At first, Klassen was her businesses’ only employee, and she rented out kitchen space around the Erie area, from the Erie Art Museum during the first part of 2019, to Virgil’s Plate Kitchen. She wasn’t able to hire employees until January 2021.

At first, though, she bought a hot dog cart and created it into a crepe cart.

“I had my mobile license, so I bought a hot dog cart that I converted into a crepe cart for mobile big events,” she said.

In April 2019, however, Give a Crepe found a permanent home in the Hilltop District on Peach Street. This prompted Klassen to end her mobile license so she could focus more on catering and her establishment.

Then, earlier this month, she opened up a second, pop-up location on Gannon University’s campus. The second Give a Crepe, La CrepErie is located in the lower level of Morosky.

“I was approached to see if I wanted to, and over the past year because of the pandemic and making sure that my crepe irons were going through regular maintenance, I purchased enough to be able to do a second pop-up location,” she said. “It was just a question of whether I wanted to, and why wouldn’t I?”

A’Darius Porter, director of auxiliary services and conferencing at Gannon, said that the university wanted to fill the space in Morosky that was left empty when the Courtyard Café closed down.

“We knew that we needed a food option that would appeal to our health science students, faculty and staff,” he said. “Nourishing the body will allow our students to be present in class.”

Give a Crepe uses ingredients that are completely locally sourced, and all of the ingredients are gluten free, Klassen said.

“I try to stay as locally sourced as possible, because that’s better and helps other businesses grow,” she said.

Give a Crepe, La CrepErie, gets food from Curtze, a locally-owned and operated wholesale distributor, the Sisters of Saint Joseph, Penn State and Marvin’s Microgreens, among others.

“Especially working with the Sisters of Saint Joseph, I realized the importance of getting locally-sourced food,” Klassen said. “They hire inner-city kids to run their gardens, so it’s teaching people how to make homes for themselves and grow their own foods, as well as know where the fruits and vegetables come from.

“It’s important to be able to say, ‘This is literally from your backyard’ to any customer that comes in. And when people from out of town are visiting, they know that they’re getting a taste of Erie in their crepes. That’s super important.”

According to Porter, locally sourced ingredients allow students, faculty and staff to gain a different experience.

“Give a Crepe aligns with Gannon’s mission related to service and respect,” he said. “Give a Crepe believes that all individuals deserve a unique experience, and that one positive moment can have everlasting effects on all.”

Claire Plunkett, a senior occupational therapy major, said that it is refreshing to have a good quality food option in Morosky after the Courtyard Café closed.

“I think it is important that everything is locally sourced, too,” she said. “The fact that we get to have a small business used locally sourced goods makes the whole experience unique. It’s just another reason to appreciate what is right around us.”

Along with including a local aspect in her business, Klassen incorporates a touch of European restaurant culture into her two locations by making them completely carry-out.

“My main establishment doesn’t have ADA-compliant bathrooms, so we have a collaboration with Tipsy Bean, which is next door,” she aid. “People can bring there crepes over there to have a coffee, tea, sit down and have restrooms.

“I also made it carry-out for the feeling of a more European-style dining experience, where crepes are very quick and easy, rather than the bourgeoises of sitting down and having it be a big affair.”

For Izzy Weller, a junior major, said that the carry-out nature of Give a Crepe is perfect for busy students.

“They are so quick with making crepes in between classes,” she said. “Everyone is so knowledgeable about the choices they have, and they have vegetarian options.”

Still, even though her establishments are carry-out only, Klassen said that she has experienced great connections with her customers.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s my zen. Spinning crepes out is very cathartic to me, and being able to do it in front of people makes me feel like I’m making art for them.

“It’s an interactive, personal restaurant while forming an interaction, which is a lot of fun.”

The motto of Give a Crepe is “Giving a crepe about Erie,” and is described as a down-to-earth business, which Klassen reflects in her daily practices.

“I treat everybody like I’ve known them for about five years,” she said. “Everybody deserves to be treated like that. The motto of Give a Crepe is about spreading the love wherever you go. I hope everybody who comes into the shop, whether it’s at the pop-up or our main location, feels like they’re walking into a home where they are loved and cared for.”

Klassen said that Gannon’s work and mission fits into what Give a Crepe stands for.

“Gannon is great,” she said. “And so are all of the students and faculty that come into the shop. I don’t understand why I wouldn’t support a local university that’s done so much for the community.”

Overall, Klassen feels that her pop-up restaurant has been well-received at Gannon since it opened a few weeks ago.

“People come back, so that’s good,” she said. “It will run through finals week, and if it’s able to come back next year, then that would be great. I do really like Gannon.”


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