810 E Roy St, 324-0407
Cr*pes available Tues-Fri, noon-9:30 pm, Sat-Sun 9 am-2 pm.
Housed in the gray stone Loveless Building along with an unbearably precious children's clothier, Joe Bar was awfully cute even before the remodel. When, just about this time last year, the little espresso bar hauled in the crêpe stoves and started dishing out little Parisian pancake packages, you'd have been forgiven for predicting the cafe would soon drown in its own twee.
But improbably enough, the crêpes have saved Joe Bar. The place is double the size it used to be, and it's constantly buzzing with activity (they've also started serving wine by the glass, which might have something to do with that). Plus, patrons find it harder to look fragile shoveling away savory crêpes than when they were confined to sipping at porcelain cups of espresso.
The crêpes come in all sorts of combinations, and you're permitted to mix and match ingredients. That is, in fact, the only way you'll arrive at such traditional pairings as Nutella and sliced bananas--they have Nutella and whipped cream (which sounds like overkill to me), and they have fresh fruit, but you have to put two and two together on your own. The cheapest and most delicious item on the crêpe menu is also the most classic: lemon and powdered sugar, topped with thin-to-transparent slices of lemon ($3.25). If I could eat this tangy pancake cloud every day for breakfast, I would.
The savory crêpes are more adventuresome. I wouldn't have thought of stuffing a Caprese salad into a quintessentially French wrapper, but the tasty tomato, basil, and fresh mozzarella crêpe ($5.50) does just that. The spinach, roasted red pepper, and blue cheese combo ($5.25) is a little dry on its own, but that's where that new wine selection comes in. Joe Bar has got it all figured out.