Chez Elle opens on the West Side today
Serendipity is by definition sweet, but when it has a chocolate hazelnut filling and strawberries, well then, it’s a creperie.
Co-owner Ellen Trakas and baker Chelsea Williams both independently used the word serendipity to describe the development of Chez Elle , scheduled to open this morning on the first floor of the historic Summit Theater building at 1713 Summit on the West Side.
Trakas, who co-owns the building with husband Tony, was looking at turning the space into a coffeehouse when she met Williams, who ran Chelsea’s, a former bakery in Westport.
“We wanted something fun, eclectic, that could help be part of what’s happening on the West Side,” says Trakas.
And nine months ago, the timing was right. Williams was looking to move out of commercial bakeries — she’d worked at The Classic Cup and Whole Foods — and back into business for herself.
“I was yearning to get back to what I was making and to have people come to you, where they can feel welcomed,” says Williams.
Chez Elle’s entrance is grand, with a balcony in the center of the foyer and black leather armchairs arranged in casual groupings.
“We wanted a feel that was fun and quirky, and felt friendly as soon as you walked in,” says Williams.
To the left is one of two dining rooms, which is also set up to be a gallery space (Trakas encourages local artists to inquire about displaying their pieces). A small reading area for kids features two matching black chairs.
Through a door on the right side of the foyer is the main dining room, which is attached to the open kitchen, where you can see the main attraction — the crepes — being made.
“I think everyone knows what crepes are in Kansas City and now they can actually watch them being made,” says Trakas.