Napoleon's Creperie & Gelato

Napoleon's is reopening soon, in a new location.

Napoleon's Crêperie & Gelato
Reviewed by Sam I Am

When Caffe Gelato on State Street closed last year, I was devastated! I had spent many days flitting out of work for an afternoon gelato. The vast array of flavors, the delight of sampling one after another, and the agony of deciding on just one to purchase was a great tradition among my coworkers. My boss bought me a gift certificate in July, just days before the place closed down!

So I was thrilled to hear that a new downtown cafe, Napoleon's, would be opening and would serve gelato. And not just any gelato - the same gelato! Napoleon's had purchased Caffe Gelato's old equipment and hired their gelato chef.

Napoleon's finally opened on April 1. Situated in the Reed Opera House, with a storefront on Court Street, it has a great downtown location. It specializes in crepes and gelato. Paninis, quiche, soups and other fabulous-looking desserts also are available. The cafe was opened by the owner of the nearby retail stores The French Unicorn and Bon Bons.

A group of us stopped in on First Wednesday, just hours after the cafe opened, to reunite with my long-lost gelato. And I was not dissapointed! Some of the flavors were different, and some were missing. But with more than 20 flavors at a time, and a rotating menu, there will always be something delicious. I had the Strawberries & Cream. It was delicious. (Unfortunately, they don't honor old Caffe Gelato gift certificates!)

The interior is cute, with French decor and marble countertops. The staff all wear matching red shirts, and the place has a nice ambiance. The cafe is tiny, but there are additional tables sprinkled around inside the Reed Opera House.

A couple of days later, we stopped by to try the crepes. I haven't been to French Press yet, so I can't make a comparison between the other new crepe shop in town, which just opened in March.

I ordered a savory crepe with chicken and brie. The crepe itself didn't have much flavor, and the way it was toasted made me think more of a tortilla than a crepe, especially with sour cream and avocados on top. But the texture was good, and it perfectly held together the mass of filling inside. It was delicious, yes, but with the brie & the sour cream & the crepe - it was just too rich for me to eat as a lunchtime entree. I had about half and then had to stop. I was so full, too, that I couldn't bring myself to order a gelato for dessert!

My companion was swayed by a HUGE slice of quiche lorraine, with salad and a bowl of soup. His meal was good, but nothing to write home about. The quiche was a little soggy after being heated up. But this was just one week after Napoleon's had opened, and I'm sure they're still finding their groove.

Napoleon's is a fun experience, and I'm so glad to have gelato back in Salem! And it will be interesting to see if Salem's appetite for crepes can support two creperies...

Have you been to Napoleon's yet? What do you think? How does it compare with French Press? And with the old Caffe Gelato? Send us your photos, too!

Napoleon's
189 Liberty St. NE
Suite 102
Downtown Salem

21 comments:

Vegan's Nightmare said...

I had every intention of going there last week and didn't get a chance. I can't wait to try it out!

Emily said...

I'll have to check it out. I've got ridiculously high expectations for gelato, and i see they don't give their gelato the usual, traditional names. ie. chocolate hazelnut instead of Baci.

Coach Sadler said...

This is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to meet with clients. It is nice to sit in the Reed, enjoy light fare and be able to have a nice conversation with no restaurant distractions. The service is always high, and the food quality good. Support our local business owners in their efforts!

Rossella said...

My kids and I visited the gelateria on Sunday evening and had ice cream which was really good. The owner is a very nice and pleasant lady. She heard me speaking Italian with my kids and asked to let her know if the gelato was like the 'real think, like in Italy', it was very good, I was impressed, nice flavor, just sweet enough. I like the fact that they close later than the usual business downtown, hopefully this will instigate other business owners to do the same thing. I really liked the place so I decided to go back this evening for our bi-monthly Italian conversation. I had a crepe with salmon which was very good, it was huge, I didn't expect it to be that big and it was full of good ingredients, I definitely got more than I paid for. My 21 month old son couldn't get enough and he usually is very skeptical with food. My 5 year old ate half of mine. The ice cream tonight was good but I noticed they might still be figuring out the temperature with the fridges because it was softer than it's supposed to be and some of if was melted at the bottom of the metal containers. I worked for years in a gelateria/caffetteria in Italy so I know what to look for. I also had a cappuccino, the coffee is good but they need to practice a lot more with the steamer spout to learn how to make the milk nice, smooth and creamy; if you get foam instead of cream on top of your cappuccino you'll find that the flavors of the coffee and the milk don't blend together as well.
Overall I'm so glad this place is open, I'm going to be moving the Italian conversation here from now on.
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I have tried French Press and the tortilla experience you had here was similar to my experience there. I think the sweet is better than the savory.

The gelato here is good, but the smells from the food distract from the yummy gelato fragrance.

Anonymous said...

My name is Laurie, and I work nearby Napoleon's. The response from the community is astounding! It's so exciting to see the place packed with happy faces, eating breakfast, lunch and dinner, LOVING the amazing Gelato (which, by the way, is made by Linda of La Regina Gelato, which has no connection whatsoever to Cafe Gelato except for purchasing the equipment from the Cafe after it closed, so in no way would be able to honor a gift certificate purchased prior to Napoleon's opening!) And the only word on the street at this point is that the Crepes are fabulous, and the salads and sandwiches are incredible! The place is open 7 days a week, and is a wonderful addition to downtown Salem, my new favorite place to sit with friends over a glass of wine! See you there!

HellcatBetty said...

I ate at Napoleon's in its opening week, and really enjoyed it! There were some hitches along the way - our order was mixed up and given to the table next to us and it took 45 minutes to get our food. However, the owner personally came over and apologized, straightened things out right away, and gave us a coupon for a free meal the next time we came in. I was impressed with the professionalism. My savory crepe was a little bland but good, and my husband's Roma sandwich was AMAZING. I had to try the gelato afterwards as well and loved it!

Anonymous said...

My children and I enjoyed gelato at Napoleons. Excellent service and delicious gelato. A Salem Treasure.

Anonymous said...

I thought there weren't any good places to eat in Salem, then I found Napoleon's! The Gelato is amazing and the coffee is great! My favorite meal is the tuna on panini with a Hot Lips soda...yumm! ALso, the wait staff is very friendly.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely love Napoleon's! The gelato is amazing and the crepes were very good. I can not wait for them to start serving crepes again!

Anonymous said...

Visited Napoleons and felt that the atmosphere was the best part of the experience. The quietness of the place while I ate my food was rejuvenating. I loved watching how the employees interacted with one another. They seemed friendly, and seemed to enjoy their jobs. Will definitely visit again!

Anonymous said...

why can't anyone in town make the crepes like in san francisco? i don't want nutella or a runny chocolate syrup. I want REAL milk chocolate chunks and fruit. For some reason that's hard for places to do here.

note around the 1:20 mark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hRxvMOnw1E

Anonymous said...

I agree the gelato is tempting but I know for a fact they treat their employees poorly here. Have witnessed unprofessional things such as woman loudly reprimanding employees in front of customers, owners arguing in front of customers etc.

Anonymous said...

The gelato was good but expensive.

Took my kids and it was $4 each for a small serving. I like smaller servings myself but for the price it just seem spendy.

Chuck Bradley said...

Greatly expanded premises and menu. They now offer Soups (French Onion is amazing), Salads, Sandwiches and Quiche as well as their usual Crepes and Gelato.

They're worth a new look!

Stephanie Matlock Allen said...

We discovered that Napoleon's now offers pizzas with incredibly delicious toppings - plus you can order a gluten-free crust, and it's actually good! I'm impressed.

Carole D. said...

Anyone know right off hand if Napoleon's has a website? Thx.
Carole D.

KandN said...

Carole D., All I've been able to find, besides the mention on Reed Opera House website, is a facebook page: Napolean's Creperie and Gelato

Stone Soup Bistro said...

Carole no website that I have been able to find. I do have a menu I can scan and e-mail to you if you like.

Carole D. said...

No need to go to that trouble...I can stop by Napoleon's when I'm downtown tomorrow afternoon.

I greatly appreciate the offer though---thanks!
Carole D.

Anonymous said...

Had Lunch yesterday to celebrate College graduation. Food was outstanding, decorated up so nice, waitstaff was so pleasant and helpful. perfect end to a perfect day. Food was outstanding and priced so one can afford to eat out once in awhile. Highly recommend, be sure to try French Onion Soup!. Will go everytime I make it to Salem. Thanks again to the waitstaff and owner. Great!!!!