Ann Gallardos: City Coffeehouse, Creperie
Ann Gallardos, the owner of the City Coffeehouse and Creperie, has created a hospitable welcoming for all customers. “I really believe in great food and great service. Those are the two main things that go side by side. You can’t have good food with bad service. You need both. No matter how great your food is, if your service is bad, people are not going to come back. That’s what I really try to work on in regards to quality,” Gallardos said. “We can’t have a hit and miss days. The food and service have to be good consistently.”
This warm environment is largely thanks to Gallardos’ commitment to have a consistent presence at the restaurant. “I have been there for 23 years and I’ve been hands on. I think that makes a huge difference. If you’re the owner, the more you’re at the restaurant, the better,” Gallardos said. “The customers and your employees all want to see you there. You have to care about and love what you’re doing. You have to have a passion — if you don’t, it’ll show.”
Despite owning and running the restaurant for over a decade, Gallardos has shown an unfaltering dedication to her craft. “I love working there as much as I did when I opened it, if not more. Now, I have a family with both my employees and the customers,” Gallardos said. “So, to create that after a period of years, that’s what we tried to achieve.
That closeness not only with my employees but with my customers. They come back for that reason. Good food, good service.”
Andrew Ellison, a regular at the City Coffee House, confirms the excellence fostered at the restaurant. “It’s pretty unique. There’s not many places that I know of where you can get crepes as good as here, or crepes in general,” Ellison said. “It has a different atmosphere. It’s not fast casual, but pretty close. I’ve always had great service.”
The City Coffeehouse has garnered many fans throughout the Clayton community. Gallardos believes that opening her restaurant where it is was the right move. “Clayton was a good location because it was growing. There were a lot of businesses,” Gallardos said. “It’s a community with a lot of homes, families and students.”
Yet, the reality is that on a business standpoint, restaurants can’t be successful if they rely only on the business of one confined area. Therefore, the City Coffeehouse has succeeded in luring a wide audience of customers from the St. Louis area. “Clayton was a good location because it was growing. There were a lot of businesses. It’s always good when you can see a lot of growth.
Not only does Clayton thrive on business, but it’s a community with a lot of homes, families and Clayton High School.”
Given the success of her restaurant, Gallardos has had some thoughts about expanding her restaurant. “Maybe we will open something else in the future. I was born in St. Louis and I grew up here. I love the city and I would love to do whatever I can to help it grow,” Gallardos said.
But in the end, her commitment to the quality of her restaurant outweighs her personal ambitions. “I’ve always wanted to expand, but refrained from it because it’s so hard to be at two places at the same time. It’s important for me to be present at the Creperie everyday,” Gallardos said. “That’s important to me.”