Q • Everyone goes to City Coffeehouse in Clayton for the crepes, but the soups are wonderful, too. I think the tortilla soup is the best. — Susan Kottler, Creve Coeur
A • Since 1995, Ann Gallardo has been the friendly, welcoming face at the counter of City Coffeehouse and Crêperie. She’s no stranger to restaurant design: Her husband is restaurateur Ray Gallardo, whose own restaurants have included Casa Gallardo, Patrick’s, Ozzie’s Restaurant & Sports Bar and the Bevo Mill. Still, she says, that first year was tough. “Our concept was a Seattle-style coffeehouse with fresh-made crepes. But I wouldn’t give up, and eventually we became more creperie than coffeehouse.”
Now, especially on weekends, customers line up in anticipation of savory and dessert crepes, homemade quiche and yes, good coffee. During the workweek, soups, salads and sandwiches are the mainstays for nearby office workers.
Ray Gallardo says the Mexican Tortilla Soup recipe was first developed for Ramon’s Jalapeño, another Gallardo restaurant once next door to City Coffeehouse. Juan Nuñez first worked with the Gallardos at Jalapeño and now heads the kitchen at City Coffeehouse. He says that the soup’s mild pasilla chiles add more flavor than heat. “But the soup has a little kick; that’s what people really like.”
The soup recently switched from occasional soup-of-the-day status to a menu staple. That means Nuñez now makes at least 15 gallons of Mexican Tortilla Soup a week. Ann Gallardo says that along with the posole, “It’s not uncommon for customers to order several bowls to take home.
“Our menu has other dishes with Mexican flavors, too,” she says. These include the popular Fiesta Crêpe (chicken with chile verde) and the Santa Fe Crêpe (chorizo with spinach and rojo sauce).
Find the recipe here.
City Coffeehouse & Crêperie
36 North Brentwood Boulevard, Clayton
To request a recipe • Send the name and location of the restaurant and a description of the dish to RecipeRequest@post-dispatch.com. Restaurants featured in this column must be in the St. Louis area. Include your full name, hometown and daytime phone number.