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Meet Rio Hirashima of Harajuku Crepe in Beverly Hills

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rio Hirashima.

Rio, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
There are lot of Japanese restaurants in LA, so I wanted to do something different. I wanted to introduce something non-typical Japanese food that Americans are not familiar yet. Japanese crepes are little different from the ones in France or America. American desserts are just simply too much on everything and unnecessarily unhealthy, as if you have to get sick after, but Japanese desserts are not like that. Our crepes are never heavy, never gigantic.

Japanese crepes are all about ratio of the ingredients. We put fresh cut organic fruits, homemade whipped cream and light sauces, and ice cream served in a handheld cone style. To complement our very thin crepes most efficiently, we put just the right amount of each topping, so all the ingredients blend well together. NO, not “a lot of Nutella”, that’s not what we do. It’s healthy, light, snack on the go.

Opened the Beverly Hills store in 2009, we been having wide variety of customers including local kids and family, workers in the area, foodies, tourists, and celebrities.

Has it been a smooth road?
Running a business is hassle because you can’t work alone. I have to work with lot of people including employees, customers, landlord, accountant, construction workers, handymen, telephone company, insurance company, venders, bankers etc.

For me to run a business smooth, all the people around me need to work professionally and properly, and that’s not usually the case. So I have to be not only a hard worker but mentally strong, determined, well organizer, and overall professional to get through all the troubles and control everything properly and professionally which is usually very stressful.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are known for our customizable crepes, choosing from crepe batter to fruits, sauce, cream, ice cream, and dry toppings. Customers have a full control how to build from small to big, it’s all up to you. We also have lunch crepes including the most popular, one and only Yakisoba (Japanese stir fried noodle) crepe.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
To be honest, the business climate here is becoming pretty bad especially because of the minimum wage raise. It looks like because of the raise, the food cost went up too, and because of the cost raise, majority of businesses raised their products prices, and what it looks like now is people eat out less frequent because everything went up. At least that’s what it looks like to me now. So I don’t know. Without the raise issue, I think the business like mine (something new, something healthy, picture worth products) is a good fit in this city though.

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