Greece is merging with France: Ilias Pappas, owner of Athenian Grill, has bought La Petite Creperie from founder Shannon Arnold.
Pappas said Wednesday that he plans to open a creperie at Ashland, the Henry Clay Estate, in the Gingko Tree Café space near the garden. Pappas said he hopes to have the creperie open by mid-June.
"I think (executive director) Jim Clark wants it to open as soon as possible," Pappas said. He plans to offer both sweet and savory crepes at the café.
The previous operator, Selma Dawahare, had closed the seasonal café for the winter when Clark joined Ashland.
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"With my arrival, there came an opportunity to rethink things," Clark said. He approached Arnold about the space, because she had closed her Kentucky Avenue restaurant.
"What intrigued me was the Athenian Grill-La Petite Creperie kiosk at the Kroger on Euclid, so I said, what would you think of doing something at Ashland? And that's when I learned the Athenian Grill was buying her out," Clark said. "I really like the idea of Ilias having the Chevy Chase location and the great following, and people really like La Petite Creperie and weren't thrilled when she shut it down. We thought it would be a great opportunity to keep the brand alive."
Although Clark and Pappas plan to finalize details for the restaurant later this week, Clark said he thinks the café will be called Gingko Tree Café by La Petite Creperie.
The menu will feature crepes, but with aspects of Athenian Grill and other light casual offerings.
Pappas will continue both the Athenian Grill and the La Petite Creperie carts at the Kroger on Euclid and is in discussions to expand the business to other Kroger stores.
In addition to his original Ashland Avenue restaurant, Pappas recently opened a second Athenian Grill on Locust Hill Drive.
That could bring one big bonus for Ashland: box lunches.
"Ilias, out of his Locust Hill operation, will be able to do box lunches and help meet the demands of the larger tours that come," Clark said. The biggest questions he gets: "When will the café be opening, and can you do box lunches?"