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French Eatery Opens Downtown: Joie de Crêpe

Is there any other smell better than the toasty scent of melting butter? I don’t think so.

Joie de Crêpe in downtown State College is a tribute to all things French—accordion music, the fleur-de-lis, and (of course) butter.

Specializing in gourmet crêpes and Belgian waffles, Joie de Crêpe is owner Hitham Hiyajneh’s take on the traditional French crêperie. (You may have seen Hitham at his other delicious establishment, Pita Cabana). Crêpe stands can be found on every street corner in Paris and are known for being quick and casual places to grab a bite to eat for cheap. Joie de Crêpe is no different.

In the U.S., crêpes (which roughly translates into “thin fancy pancakes”) are generally served with a sweet filling such as chocolate or berries and eaten for dessert. However, they are just as tasty when stuffed with assorted meats and cheeses and eaten as a meal. Joie de Crêpe serves both sweet and savory crêpes—including fruit and Nutella, egg and cheese, and pesto chicken. Sweet crêpes are definitely what most people are familiar with, but Hitham has ensured that his crêpes are not what you would call run-of-the-mill.

The biggest standout in the sweet category is the Biscoff and banana crêpe. If you’ve ever been served those delicious shortbread biscuits on a long plane flight, you have eaten a Biscoff cookie. Ingeniously, Biscoff also makes a confection containing their famous cookie in spreadable dough form. It has the consistency of Nutella but is distinguishable by its graham cracker color and nutty taste. The Biscoff spread is placed alongside thinly sliced bananas—a perfect pairing for a warm crêpe, whipped cream, and cinnamon.

With all of the different crêpe options it may be easy to forget the Belgian waffles—until you’ve had one.

“You have never had a waffle like this,” Hitham assured me, as he gave me a sample of a waffle fresh off the iron.

After taking a bite I can assure you he was telling the truth. The waffles at Joie de Crêpe are really something special—toasted golden brown, and filled with crispy pockets of melted large grain sugar. They are made in the traditional Belgian fashion, and are cooked in dough form instead of a batter. You can order your waffle plain, with fruit, or even as a pizza.

Although the menu is extremely European, each of the portions at Joie de Crêpe are American in spirit. Every plate is filled generously with its particular goodie. And at $3-$10 a pop, you can get your very own almost as big as your head crêpe for a steal—and at any price range.

To go along with your freshly made crêpe or waffle is French-pressed coffee, exotic energy drinks, and hibiscus tea made in house.

Joie de Crêpe takes Lion Cash and is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The little hole in the wall is located on East College Avenue right next to Big Bowl Noodle House (just follow the handmade signs). It may be hard to find, but once you do I guarantee you’ll be back soon.

Joie de Crêpe? Joie de vivre!

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About the Author

Catie Simpson

Catie is a junior majoring in Human Development and Family Studies. She's also the resident townie and culinary enthusiast due to a brief stint at the CIA (the culinary school not the secret government agency). She currently works at a Baby Temperament Lab on campus where she tries to get babies to do dangerous things. She's also on the twitter.

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