Irma Figueroa and Ana Jaimas have invested themselves in Crazy Deli Crepes Café to give their kids opportunities and skills, to create a safe, welcoming space for all young people to spend time, and to complement other restaurant options in town. The two friends have both worked in restaurants for many years. When they decided to open their own café, they knew they wanted to offer fresh, made-to-order food that expanded the options already available here in Kennett Square. They also have a bigger vision with a heart for the community and its young people. “We want kids—and everyone who comes to Crazy Deli Crepes Café—to feel welcome and part of the family,” Irma says.
Part of their passion is to help other mothers. They know what it’s like to have to juggle the demands of being a parent with work outside the home. “We want the café to be a place where kids can walk to and hang out and be safe—after school or a Garage program, or if a parent is running late to pick them up,” Irma says.
In addition to creating a varied menu of treats and build-your-own crepes perfect for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or after-school snacks, they’ve added fun and thoughtful touches to their spacious and scrupulously clean dining area. Ana sewed a beautiful soft pink cushion for the window seat, for example, so kids can enjoy being together or even do their homework at a generously sized table. And they have wifi and outlet extenders with USB ports so kids can charge their devices.
Reclaiming what the pandemic took away
Central to Irma and Ana’s purpose for Crazy Deli Crepes Café is giving their own children the opportunity to gain skills and learn the ropes of running a business. “Everything we do is for our kids,” Irma says.
Irma’s daughters Kiki (a student at DCCC) and Kiara (17), and Ana’s sons Gabriel (17), Daniel (13), and Jesus (10), as well as a long-time neighbor and friend, Fany (16), are all part of the team and love working together. Ana’s eldest son David is studying at Penn State Altoona, and part of the profits from the business go to a scholarship fund for him.
“When you’re dining with us you can easily tell my mom puts just the right amount of love into her crepes. She’s always there for everybody and loves making new friends.”
“I think our kids lost too much in the pandemic,” Irma says. During a formative year in their lives, in isolation and on their devices, “Kids lost the skill of interacting and talking with people,” she says, and serving customers in the café offers the perfect opportunity to gain confidence. In addition to mentoring them in their front-of-house duties, Irma is using real-life examples to teach them about the finances of running a business. She laughs as she describes how, if she mentions setting the price for a menu item too low, the kids remind her that costs like electricity, rent, and water have to be factored into the cost of everything they sell.
Being able to laugh and persevere through difficult challenges is a gift that has served both families well over the past several years in particular. Irma’s oldest daughter, Kiki Carillo, explains: “During the pandemic my mother had a stroke. This was a very dark time for us. There were moments when I was not sure if she would remember her daughters. Today I am so proud to say my mother owns her own business. She is determined and hardworking, working 12-hour shifts every day. When you’re dining with us you can easily tell my mom puts just the right amount of love into her crepes. She’s always there for everybody and loves making new friends.”
The hospitable atmosphere is grounded in family, Kiki says. “Crazy Deli Crepes Cafe is the place to be with family, because that’s our foundation. We believe that in family there’s unity and strength.” The warm welcome that awaits customers at the café is also a reflection of the Kennett community. “I’m really happy we moved to Kennett,” says Ana’s son Gabriel (17). “The community is very welcoming.”
“Kennett has given so much to me”
Irma, who moved to New York from Puerto Rico when she was seventeen, brought her family from Virginia Beach to Kennett Square in 2011 because of the excellent schools. When they arrived at their new home on Birch Street, her upstairs neighbor—Ana—introduced herself and helped them move in. The two women have been fast friends ever since, and their children have grown up together.
“Kennett has given so much to me,” says Irma. “I love the diverse community here. There are wonderful schools, and Anson B. Nixon Park, the festivals—now the candy store—there’s so much here for kids. I’ve been able to raise my kids here—the way I want to.” The families are deeply rooted in the community here. They enjoy Friday night football games at Kennett High School, where they cheer on the home team and also Kiara, who’s a cheerleader.
While Crazy Deli Crepes Café first opened in West Grove last February, where it received a warm welcome from the community, Irma’s dream was to have a space in Kennett Square that kids could walk to. She had her eye on the property on South Union Street and finally took the plunge this summer. While it takes time to establish a clientele, Irma says Ana keeps her laughing when business is slow. “We have so much fun—we’re crazy!” Irma says.
Fresh, healthy fare
An eager and excited bevy of families queued for samples of crepes at a recent Third Thursday event—and they were well-rewarded for the wait.
The Crazy Deli Crepes Café menu celebrates the melding of cultures with delicious flavor combinations for the sweet tooth and the savory craving. Both sweet and savory crepes are made to order with fresh ingredients and can be made gluten free as well.
The sweet crepe menu is a full house of family favorites—from Ana’s Crazy Crepe (bananas, strawberries, blueberries and Nutella) to Kiara’s Strawberry Cheesecake Crepe, Alex’s Crepe with banana, peanut butter, and Kiki’s favorite combination of crushed graham crackers, Nutella, and marshmallow spread. Other options include cookies and cream with Oreo mousse cake, and the classic fresh sliced apples with cinnamon sugar and caramel. Those in the mood for a savory crepe can choose their favorite combinations of fresh meat, cheese, and vegetable fillings or even opt for a pizza crepe.
In addition to this cornucopia of sweet and savory crepes, the menu also features hoagies, paninis, and salads as well as desserts including tiramisu, fresas con crema, cheesecakes, ice cream, and milkshakes and fruit juices—and they serve really good coffee, too.
Crazy Deli Crepes are great—and they’re open every day, eight to eight.