Tucked inside Mount Dora Marketplace is a hidden gem of downtown Mount Dora. Claire’s Creperie, one of the original vendors inside the food hall, opened three years ago. As other eateries came and went, the creperie’s light and thin stuffed French pancakes developed a following and allowed the start-up to thrive. Fast forward to this month and the locally-owned treasure will over double its size to accommodate more salivating customers.
The friendly forces behind the business are Claire and Jesse Ernst. Claire develops the recipes and Jesse, a personal finance consultant, oversees the financial aspects of the business. The couple, who are very involved in the local community, also developed Crepes for a Cause, a program that raises funds throughout the year for various local charities.
The creperie’s best sellers are the savory “Monte Cristo” and “The Scrambler,” a warm butter crepe filled with two scrambled eggs, melted cheese, and a choice of bacon or ham. Anyone with a sweet tooth will love the most popular dessert creations like the "Something Good" (butter crepe filled with cheesecake cream and fresh strawberries, dusted with powdered sugar and topped with strawberry sauce and whipped cream) and “The Croatian” crepe (filled with fresh strawberries, bananas and Nutella, dusted with powdered sugar, and topped with whipped cream).
Claire’s also keeps things new and interesting with its seasonal creations. In order to accommodate guests with diet restrictions, they also whip up fresh keto and gluten-free crepes. Private event catering is also available with the eatery’s quaint Crepe Cart which resembles the bicycle-style carts in European cities.
Crepes have always been a part of Claire’s life. As she tells it, her mom loved everything French, so her father learned to create the perfect crepe. During her childhood, Claire, who is also a nurse, developed her own love of crepes and helped her dad prepare them.
Claire’s Creperie uses ingredients from local farms whenever possible. That commitment comes from Claire’s time spent on her grandparents’ farm and understanding the benefits of supporting local farmers, not to mention getting the freshest ingredients.
Enlarging their restaurant space isn’t the only way the Ernsts are expanding. Around the first of the year, the couple will welcome the third generation of crepe lovers with the birth of their first baby, Brea Noble.
Claire’s Creperie is located inside 100 E. 4th Avenue in downtown Mount Dora. Its hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m to 6 p.m. and Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. During some of the special holiday events, the creperie is open later.