From the outside, the small, unassuming storefront of AB Crepes appears fun and inviting. With the kitchen in plain sight, customers can watch as employees make their crepe from start to finish.
Farther inside the restaurant is a chalkboard wall, the resident of the phase “Successes: 2, Fails: 203.” What most don’t know about this humble crepe shop are the horrors and heartbreak that occurred inside these walls; the stories behind the numbers on the chalkboard.
The AB Crepe challenge is for brave souls looking to push their stomachs to the limit. The challenge
entails you and a partner going head on against a stack of 26 crepes, which must be consumed (and kept down) within an hour. If successful, your crepe feast is paid for and your picture is added to the wall next to the few other winners.
The masterminds behind the challenge itself, owners Bayly Peterson and Adalberto Avelar, have fallen victim to the challenge numerous times.
“People underestimate it,” Peterson said.
Peterson is part of one of the only two pairs to complete it, taking him three tries to finally succeed.
“I will never do it again,” Peterson said. “The first time I tried it with my brother, he was super arrogant about it. He didn’t respect it and halfway through he ran out to the back and started throwing up.”
The restaurant serves a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Most patrons opt to enjoy their meal in peace, choosing one of the crepes on the menu. Unknowingly, they sit on a graveyard of crushed egos while enjoying their crepes beneath the menacing numbers etched in white.
This makes it hard to escape the ghosts of those who have cracked under the pressure and are now personally victimized by the notorious challenge.
Employee Luke Morgan, has cooked for many of the challenges, resulting in him witnessing many failures.
“The first two times I trained a whole lot, the day of, I just chugged a gallon of water in the morning to stretch my stomach out. It hurt, but it worked.”
“Crepes are seen as these thin, little, easy to eat things, but ours are 16 inches in diameter so they’re really not that small,” Morgan said.
When it comes to finding a partner, Avelar warns you have to be careful.
“Treat it like a relationship,” Avelar said. “You have to find the right one.”
Avelar attempted the crepe challenge once, coming close to victory.
“Me and my partner got to 23 or 24 and we ran out of time,” Avelar said. “We trained enough to eat that much, but we didn’t train enough to eat it fast.”
Employees said it is no simple task to those who waltz in with no prior knowledge. The key to success seems to be intense physical training with your partner leading up to challenge day.
“The first two times I trained a whole lot,” Peterson said. “The day of, I just chugged a gallon of water in the morning to stretch my stomach out. It hurt, but it worked.”
Peterson said two winners trained with pasta by eating as much as they possibly could for four days leading up to the challenge.
Customer Isabel Myers enjoys crepes occasionally when she is visiting downtown.
“I don’t even know how you would train for that,” Myers said while checking out the numbers on the wall. “If I was seriously considering it, I would probably have a plan. That’s a lot of crepes.”
Most people don’t even get close. They get a few crepes in, see how many more they still have to eat and realize it’s not going to happen, Peterson said.
“It just doesn’t taste good after five or six. It’s terrible,” Peterson said.
The AB Crepe Challenge has claimed 203 fails since the restaurant opened in April 2012.
“When people walk in, we just say ‘you’re not going to do it. You actually won’t. You won’t succeed,’” Peterson said.