Before Michael McBride landed in Santa Cruz, he went to Florida International University to learn classical French cooking. Following graduation, the Maryland native loaded up his Toyota Celica with a kayak and his dog and headed to the West Coast; “California has it all,” McBride thought. He would be able to ski snow-capped mountains and surf killer waves on the same day. But the perpetually creative food scene and excellent wine was the main attraction.
McBride recalls his fall-in-love moment with Santa Cruz while catering a Fourth of July party at Rio Beach in Aptos. Its natural beauty smote him—he and his wife Dorte ended up buying a house two blocks from that very beach.
The East Coaster scored a job running Sweet Pea’s Creperie Café in Los Gatos, which led to opening Sweet Pea’s in Capitola. 14 years later, the Creperie is still going strong, thanks to tasty homemade crepe creations of the sweet (strawberry, banana, Nutella) and savory (chicken pesto) variety. They also serve a hearty breakfast burrito that “travels well,” deep-dish quiche twice the thickness of an average size quiche, sandwiches, salads and an alternating lineup of housemade soups.
Recently, McBride rapped with GT about making incredible crepes and what it’s like to be in business with the love of his life.
Tell me about your passion for crepes.
MICHAEL MCBRIDE: It comes from when I was a young child hearing my grandparents talk about the crepes in Brittany, France, which was where my grandpa grew up. This place is well-known for their crepes historically, especially their savory buckwheat variety, which we also offer at Sweet Pea’s. I realized the universal appeal of crepes with my old catering business. From tech parties to professional athlete functions to music festivals, the clientele, age range and type of people were all really diverse. But everyone seemed to really love my crepes, so we decided there needed to be a spot here in town to offer them.
What’s it like running a restaurant with your wife?
It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. I could not have started Sweet Pea’s without her, and we certainly wouldn’t be here today. She left a very amazing job in electronic brokerage to be my business partner. We run the business together, and every day is a dream and an adventure. We have to be prepared for anything owning a restaurant, but that is what keeps it interesting.
2121 41st Ave., Ste. 107, Capitola, 831-476-2737; sweetpeascrepes.com.