Dish of the Week: Crepes from Pekara Bakery and Bistro

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The Nutella served with Banana and Walnuts is one of Pekara Bistro and Bakery’s top-selling sweet crepes. The warm tortilla is filled with Nutella and cream cheese and topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar and walnuts.

Located in the heart of downtown Champaign, Pekara Bakery and Bistro specializes in making fresh and organic foods.

“We have a bake house on First Street that we use for our baked goods, and none of our breads have preservatives or artificial flavoring,” said Ryan Schwartz, a Pekara’s kitchen staff employee.

Pekara, 116 N. Neil St., has been selling a variety of items from sweet pastries to sandwiches, soups and salads since 2005. From its selection of European breads and dishes, the bakery’s top three selling items are its crepes, omelets and sandwiches.

Pekara’s crepes in particular caters to a range of taste buds, with its selections divided into sweet and savory sections. Of the sweet section, the Nutella crepe served with banana and walnuts is one of the most popular items on the menu, according to Schwartz.

“I liked the way it tasted — I would get it again,” said 8-year-old Maya Brown, a first-time customer.

The Nutella banana crepe includes a warm tortilla packed with banana slices, whipped cream, cream cheese, sprinkled powdered sugar and walnuts.

Many of the crepes can be nicely paired with Pekara’s coffees and teas from the Boneyard Coffee and Tea of Champaign, respectively. Pekara barista Chelsea Hendrix said she highly recommends the carrot cake and the almond croissant.

“It’s always the first thing to go,” she said about the croissant. “It’s soaked in rum, and it’s amazing.”

While some customers come to eat, some just come to relax and read. With a relaxed setting and L-shaped seating area of multiple small tables, most customers can come in for breakfast, lunch or dinner and sit down with their laptops. The soft music and cobblestone walls add to the homey ambiance for the customers.

“I’m here almost everyday,” said Asa Flanigan, a frequent customer. “This is the only coffee shop that has a full menu in town. It’s more than just basic sandwiches, and that makes it nice.”

Most of Pekera’s meal selections range from $5 to $10. The bakery and bistro is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

With Pekara’s diverse menu selection and calm atmosphere, the bistro welcomes all ages from single diners to large groups. Customers can also order to carry out and request catering at different events.

Teryn can be reached at [email protected]