American Dream

Souptastik Crepes offers up a 'celebration’ of soup recipes from two families — plus French and Russian crepes


Published:

In 1989, when he was just 18 and newly arrived from Russia, Mikhail Rybak got his first job: an entry-level position as dishwasher at Deli Unique in Oak Park. Two years later, his future wife, Vanda Fradlis, then 16, also emigrated to the United States from Russia, and she too started her American life with a job at a deli, Stage and Company in West Bloomfield, where she worked as a hostess, despite the fact that she spoke little English.

The couple met through friends in the small Russian community when Mikhail, now “Mike,” was 20 and Vanda 17. They got married five years later. Both quickly moved up the ladder at their jobs — Mikhail to prep cook and Vanda to manager. Their American dream was to open their own restaurant. But despite years of deli experience, they had no plans to serve pastrami sandwiches.

They had a different idea: to create a menu combining a wide array of soups with an even longer list of crepes. “Creperies are big in Russia,” says Mike. “You see them everywhere.”

Russian crepes (blinchiki), he explains, are much simpler than the French, with embellishments such as organic honey, or butter and powdered sugar, or black or red caviar, rather than the sturdy fillings of shrimp, salmon, and chicken that characterize French crepes.

Vanda and Mike soon started to scout for a location. They spotted a storefront in Farmington Hills and they decided it was ideal because a place called Grilled Cheese and Tomato soup had just closed there. Surely, they thought, their soup repertoire would find a ready audience there — and crepes, both French and Russian, would add to the appeal.

The couple compiled recipes from both sides of the family and came up with no less than 32 varieties of soup. Mike calls them a “celebration” of both families. Vanda’s aunt, accomplished soup maker Genya Gotfried, signed on to help, and she oversees the kitchen. To complete the family feeling, daughter Hanna, 16, and son Max, 12, help out, as well.

Souptastik Crepes opened in mid-June and has been attracting a loyal following. Nine soups are available each day, featuring split pea, cream of mushroom, lobster bisque, and borscht, of course, as well as another Russian soup, solyanka, which is so similar to jambalaya, that’s how it’s listed on the menu to help patrons unfamiliar with it.

Soups are served in attractive white crocks from the array behind the counter, where diners order and then have their choices delivered to their table. In addition to soups and crepes, the couple serves fresh green salads and Illy coffee, as well as cappuccino, latte, and espresso. All of this gives Souptastik Crepes a distinctly European feel.

As for the early success of this offbeat eatery, Mike gives all the credit to his wife.

“It’s really hers,” he says.

Souptastik Crepes, 32407 Northwestern Hwy.,
Farmington Hills; 248-539-2300.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Local Pie Makers Offer Variety of Fillings

Area bakers offer alternative fillings for holiday pastry.

A Taste of Paris

Cannelle Patisserie chef Matt Knio’s baked goods are turning up in restaurants and markets across metro Detroit

The Big Dipper

Garden Fresh Gourmet is a shining star in the metro Detroit Food scene

A Zen Monk on Her Vegetarian Diet

Myungju Hillary talks spirituality, a plant-based diet, and more

These Businesses Are Planting Purpose in Metro Detroit — Through Food

Hour Detroit’s food issue explores sustainable restaurants, organizations, and more
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. An Animated Life
    As Rob Paulsen prepares to publish his memoir, the Hollywood veteran and voice behind some of the...
  2. An Hour With ... Teddy Dorsette III
    President, Detroit Black Deaf Advocates
  3. State of the Arts
  4. Gold Standard
    Tucked into an industrial strip in Ann Arbor, a new restaurant offers French fare
  5. A New Noodle Shop on the Block
    Midtown Detroit welcomes Urban Ramen
  6. Drink Beer, Do Good
    Local breweries and pubs jump on the charity bandwagon
  7. In Tune
    Influenced by its storied past, Willis Show Bar sets the tone for a nostalgic sound
  8. Recipe: Roast Boneless Pork Loin With Tart Cherry Chutney
    Executive chef at Ford’s Garage, Darin Thompson’s boneless pork loin marvel
  9. Business Class
    Trim suits, creative layers, and crisp white shirts - Fall's wardrobe essentials are fitting for...
  10. 13th Annual Best of Detroit Party
    On June 29, Hour Detroit brought the Best of Detroit issue to life at the 13th annual Best of...