As The Crepe Truck Philly’s lunch rush winds down, Penelope Kyriazis sits outside behind the truck to take her break.
While she rests, her mother, Virginia Apostolopoulos greets the remaining incoming customers left from the rush.
Apostolopoulos and her daughter, Kyriazis, 26, run The Crepe Truck Philly on Norris Street near 13th, specializes in selling both sweet and savory crepes — a traditional European pancake food — for $6-7 each.
Apostolopoulos has been working in restaurants since she was 12 years old, where she would help her uncle out in the kitchen on holidays.
She worked in a pizza restaurant when she first moved to South Jersey from Greece but wanted to do more to support her daughters.
“The truth is, I really wanted to help out the girls, they wanted to go to college,” Apostolopoulos said. “I also needed something to do on my own.”
Apostolopoulos first bought the truck from a family friend in 2013. Although she had experience in the restaurant industry, running a food truck was very new to her.
“It was the scariest thing I ever did and at the end I love it so much,” Apostolopoulos said.
On weekdays, they commute 45 minutes from South Jersey to work the truck from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and keep the truck open on campus year-round. They cater events, like weddings, birthday parties, and graduations.
Since taking over the truck, Kyriazis and Apostolopoulos both have the same responsibilities in working the truck, like answering phone calls, cooking crepes and serving customers.
They both consider this a partnership, they said.
“We have our days because it’s a stressful job, like any job,” Apostolopoulos said. “We have our bad days, but we forget about it after it happens. [Kyriazis] picks on me and they all pick on me in the truck, which is great. We have a fun environment here. Everyone knows what they have to do, and they do it. We have fun.”
Kyriazis said there are good and bad days at the truck.
“It’s us, and we don’t have like, blood family here,” she added. “We were always together and so close. Not everyone can work with their parents.”
Apostolopoulos appreciates the hands-on work her daughter does.
“[Penelope’s] stuck with me, thank goodness,” she said. “She’s my right hand and she helps me with a lot.”
Apostolopoulos was born and raised in Australia and then moved to Greece, where she married her husband. Kyriazis and her sister were born in Greece before the family moved to the United States.
“We have a very close relationship, and it’s from growing up because we don’t have any family here [the U.S.]” Apostolopoulos said.
Apostolopoulos often made crepes for her two daughters while they were growing up, she added.
“My mom would make crepes at home, but they’re not the same recipe because we had to adapt to the hot grills on the truck,” Kyriazis said.
The truck features new crepes depending on what customers favor, like Eddie’s chipotle crepe and a banana and Nutella crepe. They also sell seasonal crepes that are sold for a limited time, like the Halloween crepe and Valentine’s crepe.
Sophia Romano, freshman undeclared major, said she frequently visits the truck for their sweet crepes.
“It smells so good,” she added. “My favorite is the fluffernutter one with marshmallow fluff, and peanut butter. It goes hard.”
Sam Tereshko, a sophomore acting major, has tried the truck’s savory crepes in the past, and while they weren’t her favorite, she hears students give positive reviews of the food.
“I hear people talk about [The Crepe Truck Philly] all the time and everyone loves it,” she added.
The truck was ranked the 11th Best Food Truck in America last year by the Daily Meal, a website that covers food and drinks.
“I feel like anyone who wants to start their own business, should just try because you won’t feel rewarded unless you do it. It’s so rewarding coming to work and seeing all the changes that you’ve made that work,” Kyriazis said.
Apostolopoulos’ favorite part of running the truck on Main Campus is getting to know the students.
“You see them go through the college years, which just saying it right now, look I get goosebumps,” she said. “I’m so happy for them, and then they graduate and they come back to eat at the truck.”