Family inspired a Rio Rancho couple's new food truck - Albuquerque Journal

Family inspired a Rio Rancho couple’s new food truck

Rafael and Maria Morales stand in front of their food trailer housing their new business, Abelitos Crepes Café. The spelling reflects what their grandchildren call them, because the kids can’t pronounce “abuelitos,” the affectionate Spanish term for “grandparents.”

Maria and Rafael Morales have been operating Abelitos Crepes Café since April. They serve sweet and savory crepes.

No, the food truck’s name isn’t misspelled. The Morales’ grandchildren refer to them as “abelitos,” unable to pronounce “abuelitos,” an affectionate Spanish term for “grandparents.”

“They inspired the business,” Maria said of the kids.

The five grandchildren, ranging in age from 8 years to a few months, always ask for crepes when they visit the Morales home, Rafael said. At least, the ones who can talk do.

“The way we cook the crepes for family is the same way we cook for the customers,” he said. “We don’t lower the standard.”

Maria said she and her husband make crepes from scratch, using a recipe from the coffee shop they ran in Mexico City more than 20 years ago.

They’ve been experimenting with fillings to see what customers like, Rafael said. So far, the favorite has been the Cordon Bleu: ham, chicken, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and Caesar dressing folded into a crepe.

“We just started with the roast beef,” Rafael said.

That crepe has beef, cheese and homemade chipotle sauce. The Italiano crepe comes with prosciutto ham.

“And, of course, we have Nutella crepes with fruit,” Maria said. “And for those who don’t want the chocolate, we offer A La Crème crepes.”

Last July, Rafael retired earlier than planned after 37 years as an aircraft mechanic. Maria worked as a medical biller and babysitter until the couple moved to New Mexico about 2½ years ago, when she had to leave those jobs behind.

Their adult son and daughter kept asking when the couple would start a Mexico City-style eatery. They first thought about selling tacos with a special sauce, but, Rafael said, a lot of people already sell tacos and everyone likes crepes.

After Rafael retired, they bought a trailer and had it outfitted as a mobile kitchen. The contractor did a bad job, he said, so he and a friend fixed the problems.

Their logo is a cartoon self-portrait he’s been drawing for years.

Diners wanting to taste the crepes can find Abelitos Crepes Café in front of Rio Rancho City Hall, 3200 Civic Center Circle, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays, or in Northeast Albuquerque at Constitution Avenue and Wyoming Boulevard from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays. Maria and Rafael also are available for events and are getting permission to park their food truck in more places.

For more information, call 920-1050 or search for “Abelitos Crepes Café” on Instagram or Facebook.


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