Cafe Mezcla's Ellicott City location does a bustling brunch

For Howard Magazine
This busy brunch spot in Ellicott City has mastered waffles and crepes.

A good waffle is hard to find. A good crepe is even harder. Café Mezcla has found the recipe for both.

The small eatery specializing in these breakfast items opened its first Howard County location in 2014 in Columbia. In January, it expanded to the U.S. 40 corridor in Ellicott City.

Both cafes are offshoots of Yog Crepes Waffles and Frozen Yogurt in Baltimore’s Mount Washington neighborhood.

Located a short distance off the busy highway, Ellicott City’s Mezcla offers brunch items like eggs, pancakes and French toast, and sandwiches and wraps in addition to its signature crepes and waffles.

The menu, which features an assortment of espresso drinks, several bubble teas and smoothies, adds an Asian flair with noodle and rice dishes.

When you enter, the pleasant staff greets you with a smile, even if they are busy. But this isn’t a place to ease into the day.

The dining area with an open kitchen can be cacophonous as kitchen workers shout orders in rapid succession and diners converse in a room that doesn’t muffle the noise.

You can always get your food and drinks to go if it’s too overwhelming. Finding waffles and crepes of this caliber is worth a stop.

Streamlined tables, chairs and benches seat about 40 people in a small, convivial room with a coffee counter and an open kitchen. There’s minimal decor except for a few poster-size photos of food and small chalkboards with pithy sayings like, “Eat crepes. You’re already fat.”

Mezcla calls them side orders, but you could certainly start your meal with the waffle fries ($3.50), spring rolls (two for $4.95, three for $6.50) or mozzarella sticks ($6).

We really enjoyed the Maryland ($15), a homemade crab cake topping two organic eggs (we had ours over easy), potato cubes, tomatoes, spinach and cheddar, enriched with a silky hollandaise sauce and a sprinkle of Old Bay and chives. We liked the Florentine savory crepe ($7.95). Instead of a droopy wrapping, Mezcla’s crepes have a crispness to them. The shell encircled a generous offering of fresh spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and Gruyere cheese dotted with sunflower seeds, which gave the whole affair a pleasant crunch. The only downfall was too much Parmesan aioli, soaking the ingredients.

There are coffee and espresso drinks like a dirty chai (small, $3.95), a spicy mix of chai latte and espresso. If you’re not a coffee drinker, other choices include bubble tea, Nutella hot cocoa, lemonade, milkshakes and fountain and bottled sodas.

There are no servers. You order at a counter and pick up your food when it’s ready.

The sweet crepes and waffles aren’t dessert per se, but they fill in quite nicely. The bananas Foster waffle ($5.95) featured a griddled waffle covered with bananas, cinnamon, caramel and walnuts.

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At a glance

The vibe: The staff is friendly, but the room has hard surfaces and is very noisy.

You’ll fit in wearing: Weekend to business casual. On our Sunday visit, serious cyclists, dressed to match, stopped by along with folks coming from church.

Don’t miss: The Maryland, a crab cake with two eggs cooked your way.

Best for kids: The kids’ menu items include a small milk or fountain drink. The little ones will enjoy a cheese crepe ($5) or chicken strips and fries ($6.95) among other choices.

Reservations: Not accepted.

Price range: Brunch, $3.79 to $15; savory crepes, $6.95 to $12.99; sweet crepes and waffles, $3.95 to $7.95; sandwiches, $7.95 to $12.