In “Talladega Nights,” Ricky Bobby may have been too stubborn to admit his love of crepes, but Mohamad Abdulkader, co-owner of West Campus’ new Cedars Crepes food truck, happily declares his love of the thin pancake.
Abdulkader and his wife opened Cedars Crepes this past summer to share their love of the dessert with Austin. He said their appreciation for crepes came as a result of growing up in Lebanon.
“In Lebanon we have a lot of French culture, and crepes are a major part of that,” Abdulkader said. “It was our favorite dessert when we were kids, so we decided to spread it here.”
Abdulkader said he also wanted to share his culture without doing what every other Middle Eastern restaurant in Austin is doing.
“I don’t want to do old Arabic food, because there’s so much Middle Eastern food now,” Abdulkader said. “There is less of a crepe selection in Austin, so I want to bring people that opportunity to try something different.”
Though crepes are the focus of his food truck, they aren’t the only part of Lebanese culture Abdulkader is trying to bring to Austin. He said he also wants to bring an atmosphere of friendliness and personability similar to that of his home country.
“In Lebanon, people talk a lot to each other, and it’s very friendly,” Abdulkader said. “It’s also friendly here, don’t get me wrong, but just in general people in Lebanon know who you are even if you’re in an area like Beirut, which is big. That’s why I like to know all my customers, because I want to build that sort of relationship and make friends with them.”
Though Cedars Crepes is currently Abdulkader’s nighttime gig, his goal is to eventually turn it into both a full time career and a family institution.
“Me and my wife are a young couple that just got married and had a baby, and we’re really just trying to do what we love,” Abdulkader said. “Hopefully (Cedars Crepes) can turn into a family tradition.”
The crepes at Cedars are simple, but tasty. A majority of the menu items focuses on sweet crepe dishes featuring everything from nutella and jam to fresh fruit and cream cheese. The nutella crepe with a choice of fruit is probably the best option for anyone looking for something sweet and classic. The combination of nutella and fruit with a homemade crepe makes for quite a comforting dessert. I would personally recommend getting strawberries, as their tartness is a good foil to the richness of the nutella.
Cedars also has a selection of savory crepe options. The cheese mankoushe, which combines shredded mozzarella and feta cheese in a warm crepe, is a good option for someone looking for something hearty. Those wanting a bit more of an herb-centric crepe, though, should try the za’tar mankoushe, which includes wild thyme and oregano mixed with olive oil, sesame seed and tomato. The oregano and thyme give this crepe a naturally rich flavor without being too overpowering.
In addition to crepes, Cedars also has some non crepe-based dishes like cake and ice cream. One great dessert they offer is the fruit cup, which is essentially just three scoops of ice cream topped with five different kinds of fresh fruit. It’s a wildly refreshing snack for those Texas winter days that feel more like summer.
The prices at Cedars Crepes are great for West Campus residents. Most of the menu items fall in the $4-$6 price range and the portions are sure to make the average customer full. With quality food, affordable prices and friendly service, Cedars Crepes is a great spot for students to grab some food that isn’t tacos or Asian fusion.