I’m on the grass across from the Hollywood Market, a plate from Rhonda Bergemann’s Village Crepery atop of my thighs. I let myself feel the heat on my skin and admire the careful splashes of maple syrup. A woman walks by, looks down, and smiles. I cut off a piece of this All-American and bite into medium cheddar with flecks of pepper bacon. The contrast is beautifully salty and lightly sweet. I think of my Norman friends. They might gasp at the blatant disregard of tradition, but not at the crepe itself, which is both delicate and strong in a truly French way-a chewy, subtle, slightly sweet pancake that holds the dream together. You notice it because you don’t notice it.
Fresh eggs, fruit, goat cheese, and vegetables from local vendors can be found in her art. “It’s fun to use the different things that are in season around here,” she tells me.
Each week that salmon is at the market, she creates a new crepe for customers to experience that showcases it; her Jammers are made with her own jam made from market berries. When there is asparagus, she roasts it with maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of olive oil. It then gets put in a crepe with goat cheese and prosciutto. She also has a vegan, gluten-free batter, which constitutes a third of her business.
Her crepes are a cumulative and communal creation. Rhonda’s daughter and her friends help with the stand. Her husband pitches in as well. As a teenager, she worked for a woman on a canal boat in the French Midi that catered food and wine. This inspired her tremendously. “In the back of my head,” she muses, “I wanted to do something like that. I always wanted to have some kind of restaurant that had something Frenchy related.”
She manifested her dream and, in so doing, we get the experience as well. For Rhonda, regulars are the core of what she does, “We love our customers that come back each week. Love to be able to call them by name.”
One of the many relationships she has is with Jules, a boy she’s been serving since he was two-years-old who is going into the first grade in the fall, “He gets the same crepe every time-a crepe with two eggs…or he used to get two eggs, now he only gets one,” she smiles, “with cheese, mixed cheese, well-done.”
“His sister was born a couple years ago so she’s now eating the same crepe as him and it’s really cute to watch it all.”
Rhonda loves meeting new people as well. You will find her in the hot food section of the Hollywood Market, Saturdays in May through October. Stop by and try a crepe. At peak hours, there can be a half-hour wait, so be advised to plan ahead. Village Crepery will take your name and prepare your order while you shop. They can also be found at the Woodstock Market on Sundays and at some Concerts in the Park in late July and early August.
by Shelley Stearns, HFM volunteer