With a straw hat on his head and a crÃªpe stand that was once displayed in the Museum of Contemporary Art, Zak Arctander is hard to miss. Every Saturday, the vendor at the 61st Street Farmers Market turns four simple ingredients–flour, milk, eggs, and water–into golden, steaming, oh-so-tasty crÃªpes.
The savory aroma draws a crowd to his stand, just as it drew Arctander to the business of crÃªpe cooking two years back: “My friend Leroy Stevens was making crÃªpes at the market,” he explains. “He and [Experimental Station president] Dan Peterman had started the crÃªpe stand as a way for people to try foods available from other vendors. Leroy was leaving town, and asked if I wanted to take over. I have been making crÃªpes ever since.” Every Saturday morning a long line of crÃªpe devotees wait to sample savory combinations of crÃªpe fillings. Favorites include “Call of the Wild,” a cheese and mushroom variety, and “the Crowd Pleaser,” which is filled with Nutella and bananas.
To the dismay of South Side residents (your correspondent included), Arctander is moving on. As he put it, “In the back of my mind I hear Dade Murphy’s Mom from the movie Hackers saying, ‘You are going to like New York, it’s the city that never sleeps!’ I just graduated from UIC and our lease in Pilsen is up as of June 1st. Some friends in Brooklyn have a room opening up for June and July. I’m thinking of this summer as a non-committed test run of a potential new home.”
Arctander is currently searching for an apprentice to take over his crÃªpe stand. The prerequisites are simple: “The ideal candidate is reliable, sociable and resistant to heat and wasps,” Arctander said. Interested candidates should send him an email at email@example.com. In the wake of Arctander’s popularity, the new crÃªpe maker will certainly have a large griddle to fill.