Hidden in the heart of Page is a delightful restaurant serving breakfast and lunch crepes surrounded by work from local artists.
Canyon Crepes is Anna Malatare and her daughter’s pride and joy, a restaurant unlike any other in town.
Anna and her husband, Mike, moved to Page about nine years ago.
Anna, Thabang Mokhesi, and her youngest daughter, Desiree, opened a restaurant serving crepes in the pedestrian alley between Ace Hardware and Pow Wow Trading Post. Anna runs the restaurant, while her daughter manages the administrative aspects.
Thabang has since passed, and Anna dedicates Canyon Crepes in his memory.
They have three children, two girls and one boy, all grown with families of their own. Their children have blessed them with four grandchildren so far.
Not new to the restaurant business, Anna was the manager of a “tubular sandwich” restaurant in Butte, Montana, called Staggernauts, a local franchise, for eight years.
Staggernauts featured fresh-baked bread. When she left Staggernauts, Anna realized how much work it was to constantly be making bread and wanted to open a restaurant that didn’t rely on bread.
She and her daughter looked online for ideas for a restaurant that didn’t have bread on the menu. Anna and Desiree opened a crepe restaurant in Butte called the Copper Creperie and successfully ran the restaurant until the building was condemned and eventually torn down.
They really enjoyed the restaurant business, meeting new people and cooking, and wanted to open another restaurant somewhere else. Anna and her family wanted a break from the snow and cold weather.
Desiree moved to Page about 11 years ago and convinced her mom to join her in Page and open a restaurant. Canyon Crepes opened its doors about nine years ago. Local famous landmarks inspired her menu with crepes bearing such names as “Tower Butte,” “Horseshoe Bend” and “Toadstools.”
In addition to breakfast, lunch and dessert crepes, Ann offers chili, soups, salads, parfaits, chips, coffee and beverages. While take-out is an option, most guests choose to eat in and can connect to the free wifi. After placing an order at the counter, diners sit at a table.
Desiree designed and built all of the tables with help from Anna and Mike. The tabletops are made of concrete and painted with various designs. The tables are super-sturdy, made of lumber bolted together with wheels on the legs. The plastic number on the table tells the wait staff where to bring the order.
Anna said the first crepe she created was the “Mighty Colarado.” Her favorite crepe, if she had to pick one, would be the “Grand Gyro,” though she said she likes them all and it’s difficult to pick a favorite.
Anna said that what she likes best about running a restaurant is “making people happy.”
“It makes my day when people say that the food is awesome,” she said, adding that she relies on reviews and exposure online through Facebook, Yelp and Tripadvisor.
While she has high ratings, she understands that on some platforms, businesses pay to be on the top.
The most difficult part of running a restaurant, according to Anna, is recruiting and retaining employees. She offers above-average wages and benefits and still doesn’t seem to have enough employees.
When COVID-19 shut down her restaurant in early 2020, it was difficult, but she kept busy with take-out orders, maintaining about half of her pre-pandemic business. With the dining room now reopened, she has become busier lately as tourism in Page continues to rise.
When asked about the future of Page, Anna said, “Page needs an upgrade” and that the buildings need to be spruced up to make it more attractive to visitors. People need more effective signage on how to get in and around Page, including how to find “off-the-beaten-path” businesses.
Anna tried to help pay for a permanent sign to direct people to businesses in the pedestrian alley, but since the sign was on city land, it was not approved. She does put up a temporary “sandwich” sign along Lake Powell Boulevard, which draws people in. However, it easily gets blown down by winds, and she has to remember to check on it from time to time when she can. But sometimes she is so busy, she doesn’t have time to check.
Since the restaurant is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Anna uses her time off to explore the beautiful landscapes around Page, relax and catch up with home chores, and watch television. She eventually wants to retire from the business, but for now is enjoying it a lot.
For more information, check out canyoncrepescafe.com