While we at Rock City Eats tend to focus on the food scene here in central Arkansas, we’ve discovered plenty of great eats all around the state, too. Arkansas’ highways, byways and small towns are ripe with numerous excellent restaurants, dairy bars, drive-ins and bakeries of all sorts. In this regular feature, we explore some of these places and encourage you to pull over and sample some of the greatest food from “Around Arkansas.” Next up, a Hot Springs café serving up a truly European delicacy … Alexa’s Creperie.
Unless you live in the area, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll stumble onto Alexa’s accidentally. A full 15-minute drive from Bathhouse Row, Alexa’s is tucked quietly into a small strip mall close to the city’s southwestern limits. But despite its isolation, Alexa’s has quickly made a name for itself in the Spa City.
This textbook American dream story starts in Ukraine, where owner Sergiy Polyakov was born in the former Soviet Union. A young man when the Iron Curtain collapsed, Polyakov took advantage of Europe’s largely open borders and settled in Brussels, Belgium. That’s where Polyakov mastered his craft and opened Alexa’s Creperie (named after his daughter). Alexa’s Creperie might be new to Hot Springs, but it was a successful business in Belgium for 20 years. Sadly, Polyakov says Alexa’s experienced some vandalism and general ill will toward the business, which triggered a decision to move to the United States. Polyakov and his family settled in Hot Springs and re-opened Alexa’s Creperie back in March.
Crepes make up the majority of the menu and are divided into breakfast, lunch and sweet crepes. After tasting close to half a dozen, I can confidently say that these crepes are worth seeking out. Polyakov serves up 25 different crepe fillings (plus a make-your-own selection), all starting with a perfectly delicate, slightly eggy, extremely thin pancake that manages to keep enough flavor to offset whatever other ingredients are piled on/in. While I truly enjoyed the savory selections (the egg, pepper, onion, avocado and cream cheese crepe was particularly delicious), it’s the sweet crepes that really show off Polyakov’s ability. Our table tried a banana and Nutella crepe, as well as a green apple and cinnamon version, and everyone enjoyed them. But the undisputed all-star is the butter-and-sugar dessert crepe, which showcased the crepe’s simple majesty beautifully. Alexa’s also features a limited menu of salads and sandwiches, as well as a full coffee bar.
I’m already planning another visit to Alexa’s the next time I’m in Hot Springs. Alexa’s Creperie is an authentic European experience unlike any I’ve found in Arkansas. The food and coffee, the atmosphere, and Polyakov’s excellent service make Alexa’s a unique destination that nobody should miss.
173 Marion Anderson Road in Hot Springs
Drive: Roughly an hour from Little Rock.
Restaurant hours: Tuesday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Saturday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; closed Mondays