By Lance Henderson
Owners: Magdalena and Greg Theisen
Address: 1200 10th St., Suite 103
Phone: (360) 483-8569
Square footage: 900
Opening date: Oct. 31
The French do not have a monopoly on crepes.
While the French version is something most people are familiar with, the art of wrapping a thin pancake around sweet or savory foods is a celebrated European tradition with several variations, from the “pfannkuchen” in Germany to “naleśniki” in Poland.
Magdalena Theisen recently moved from Warsaw, Poland, and opened Magdalena’s Creperie in Fairhaven where she hopes to introduce Bellingham to several different European takes on the crepe.
“I thought about using the word ‘naleśniki’ but I thought it wouldn’t be good for sales, so we went with the word everyone knows — crepes,” Magdalena said.
About a year and a half ago, Magdalena and her husband, Greg, met in true 21st century fashion — on Facebook. They chatted for a while and then started video conferencing. Soon the two met in Vancouver for a romantic weekend.
“It was love at first sight,” Greg said.
Then on April 4, 2009, the two were married in Hawaii and eventually settled in Bellingham.
“Now that she was here, we needed to figure out what her future employment was going to be,” Greg said.
In Poland, Magdalena had been a tax lawyer and recently studied interior design, but none of those seemed to suit her new life in Bellingham. Then Greg suggested that she open a cafe showcasing her European delights.
“I have a passion for cooking and I love to eat,” she said. “Just like that, the idea was born. We wanted to create something that is a little unique and difficult to find in this area. It’s very European.”
The new creperie serves all different types of traditional European crepes plus soups, coffees, desserts and teas.
The cafe’s decor and design are the fruit of Magdalena’s final project from interior design school. The front is cozy and inviting with pillows in wicker chairs and warm cocoa-colored walls covered in artistic photography.
“We are trying to create an intimate atmosphere,” she said. “This is not hurry-up fast food. We want customers to be able to take their time and savor the crepes and a cup of coffee.”
Magdalena said her cafe has become a place where runners can come in for a cup of coffee and where people can come to enjoy coffee and dessert with a side of conversation in a “classy environment with European flair.”
As Magdalena meets new friends and customers, she said the cafe gives her an opportunity to talk about her native Poland. When they hear of how far she has moved and the love that has grown from Facebook, Magdalena said she becomes an inspiration to those with long-distance relationships and big dreams.
“Many people say they don’t know if they can do the huge distance or that now is not the right time to change careers, but every age is a good moment to do something new,” Magdalena said.