If you glance to your left as you cross the Mississippi River bridge from Clinton, Iowa to Fulton, Ill., a newly completed mural may draw your attention. The art depicts a woman with flowers in her flowing hair and sipping from a cup. It has become a focal point for Krumpets Restaurant and Bakery.
The mural and the Dutch delft-style artwork on the front door were done by local artists Andrew Holt and Atlanta Dawn, respectively. Each were commissioned by Krumpets’ owners Melanie and Manreet Kalyan, passionate supporters of local artists.
Melanie is a local woman, born and raised in Fulton. She and Manreet live outside Fulton in Jo-Carroll Energy territory. She says the restaurant “kind of fell into our laps.” Locals in Fulton knew the Kalyans were working on bringing a brewery/restaurant to the area and approached them when Krumpets went up for sale.
“At first, we were somewhat hesitant,” explains Melanie. “It was the middle of the pandemic, and although we were looking at bringing a brewery to the area, it was after the pandemic, not amid it.”
The more they considered the idea, the more they liked it. They were regular patrons of Krumpets and hated to see it change. They took the leap and became owners in November 2021.
Much of the menu has remained the same as have the chef and employees. In fact, they hired a second chef and a couple more employees to help with increased hours (it is now open on Sundays). Melanie says the only employees they have lost are students returning to college, but they return for holidays and summer break.
Only open for breakfast and lunch, Krumpets has a regular following for its baked goods made fresh every morning. If you want one of the scones of the day, you’d better be there by 9 a.m. Customer favorites are blueberry lemon and white chocolate raspberry, but flavors change daily. Baker Savanna Pickett makes scones, cinnamon rolls, Danish pastries, coffee cakes and bear claws.
The bakery case sits prominently next to the coffee bar and features a variety of cream pies, including favorites custard, coconut cream and sour cream raisin, which pays homage to Fulton’s Dutch roots. Various fruit pies, bar cookies such as the Neiman Marcus, bread pudding with homemade rum sauce, mandarin orange cake [a local favorite], and black magic and carrot cake cupcakes round out the selection.
According to Melanie, there are always a couple of surprises and “if you see it, get it, because it likely won’t be there tomorrow.”
As a full-service bakery, with a 24-hour notice, anything in the case can be ordered. Gluten-free options are also available, including breads and baked goods, and are kept separately.
All bread for sandwiches and toast is made in-house along with homemade dinner rolls. In fact, Melanie says the only item they don’t make are the “krumpets” – think English muffin but with a spongier texture.
Breakfast favorites include the grilled French toast made with cinnamon rolls and served with homemade warm applesauce, frittata made with fresh vegetables, and the sunrise breakfast potatoes, which Melanie describes as everything delicious in one bowl. On Sundays, they add a couple of specials, including steak and eggs with homemade biscuits and gravy, and offer bloody marys or mimosas for those desiring a cocktail.
Lunches include a wide selection of popular salads and wraps, along with sandwiches like the grilled Reuben on homemade rye, French dip on a toasted French roll or a grilled tomato basil on focaccia.
Melanie says the people are the best part of the business. “I think we have something special here. What we stand for is doing the right thing
for our community.”
Being in the center of downtown, they are always part of local events and have a passion for helping the arts. “When the pandemic hit, restaurants were affected, but for artists and the performing arts, it hasn’t recovered,” explains Melanie. “For us, as a business, we want to help them, and we also partner with school art programs and promote local art by hanging it on the walls of the restaurant.”
Krumpets also hosts wine nights by bringing in a local musician, winery and artist and are proud supporters of the Showboat Theatre [performing arts] across the river in Clinton. A monthly book club is held, and recently they hosted an art night where a local artist came in and taught abstract art. They also plan to be part of the annual Fall Fest and are looking for fun holiday activities for families and friends to come enjoy themselves.
A new event room with an “Alice in Wonderland” theme was added for private parties such as birthdays, showers or tea parties for kids and adults.
And, the Kalyans haven’t forgotten their original dream of a downtown brewery. Keep your eye on the north end of the block for that venture.