French Street Crêpes, Los Angeles Style
An interview with Christian Murcia, founder of Crêpes Bonaparte, one of The Daily Meal's 101 best food trucks
Ever waited on a Paris "rue" and seen one of those street vendors with a line of people behind you hungrily expecting that their crêpe with ham and cheese will be the next one to be folded over into paper and handed over for a few Euros? Then you remember that warm, salty cheesiness, the reaffirming enjoyment of life that comes with biting down into well-made freshly cooked crêpe. It’s thin. It’s crispy. It’s salty, gooey, satisfying, and soul-affirming in a way that almost shouldn’t be possible. And yet it is. The partners behind #48 on The Daily Meal's list of 101 Best Food Trucks in America Crêpes Bonaparte know that love, too.
Read More: 101 Best Food Trucks in America 2012
The truck (which launched in April, 2010) was an offshoot of founder Christian Murcia’s graduate project at USC’s School of Entrepreneurship. As Food Network notes about one of its past The Great Food Truck Race contestants, the truck, "emulating the experience of ordering a crêpe off the streets of Paris, Christian, his fiancée, Danielle Law, and his childhood friend Matthew Meyer, take crepes out of the fine dining realm." On this menu, there are breakfast crêpes (a fresh-cracked egg with a variety of other fillings including bacon, ham, Cheddar, peppers and onions, garlic pesto, mozzarella, and guacamole), savory crêpes, dessert crepes, and traditional crepes (ham and cheese, cinnamon and sugar, lemon or butter and sugar, or Nutella), all served from the truck by folks wearing berets, black vests, and ties to the sound of French pop. Own it, baby. Own it.
In this brief interview with the truck's founder discover who designed Crêpes Bonaparte and what one piece of advice Murcia would give someone looking to get into the food truck business.
What was the inspiration for going into this business?
We wanted to make crêpes the way they are made in France, simple delicious street food.
How did you come up with your truck's design? Is there a designer you'd like to give a shout-out to?
My friend Patrick Nunez is an amazing artist.
Does your truck have a vanity license plate? And if so, what does it say?
What model truck do you have?
A Morgan Olsan Commercial Step Van.
What's your signature dish? Is it also your most popular dish?
I love our PCH crêpe — peanut butter, banana, and Nutella — delicious.
What's the most challenging thing about running your food truck?
Kitchens were not meant to go in food trucks, I think you get the idea [winks].
If you haven't already, would you ever go brick-and-mortar? And if you have, is there anything you feel gets lost in the transition?
We don't plan to open a restaurant, our concept is bring the style of french crêpe street vending to the U.S., so a brick-and-mortar doesn't really fit our business model.
What one piece of advice would you give someone looking to get into the food truck business?
Talk to as many food truck owners as possible. The image the media gives of food trucks, or what you see at a food truck festival, is completely different from the way our business operates on a day to day basis.
Any new upcoming dishes planned that you can tell us about?
Always check our Facebook page for updates about our crêpe of the month.
Lots of things happen when running a restaurant, and that probably goes double on the road. As such, be it weird, funny, good, or bad, what's one superlative or particularly outstanding moment or story that's ever occurred with your truck be it with customers, in the kitchen, or just in general?
From going off-road to running out of gas, this industry definitely stays interesting. I think they should make a reality show for our business. Oh wait, I think they have something like that on Food Network.
Arthur Bovino is The Daily Meal's executive editor. Follow Arthur on Twitter.
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