After almost a year of building anticipation, Avalanche Crepes & Waffles is expected to open near the University of Cincinnati’s Clifton campus later this month. The restaurant will feature a mix of sweet and savory crepes and waffles, gluten-free menu offerings, Bloody Mary’s, and more. Raegan Funes, the 23-year-old founder of Avalanche and a Bozeman, Montana native, looks forward to creating a community through crepes at her McMillan Street location.
Back in spring 2021, Avalanche announced its grand opening. What has the renovation process been like from announcing your restaurant to today?
Well, it’s definitely been a process. In downtown Bozeman, I ran and operated a crepe and waffle place, and it was very successful. And I moved to Cincinnati, and I was like, I’m gonna open up my own. I did not get a general contractor, I did everything, and it’s taken a very long time. COVID-19 has definitely affected the permits [process] of things with the city of Cincinnati. Everything was just taking so much longer than anticipated. I thought it’d be open last year, but COVID-19 threw me for a whirlwind.
Everyone was booked because of COVID-19. It pushed back a lot of projects for bigger companies that do things like construction. I just couldn’t wait any longer for their time period to work for me. So, I just like to get straight to work doing all this stuff myself.
I found these boys, Sean and Jay O’Leary, that helped me so much. They taught me a lot, like how to caulk and refinish windows, so I learned a lot of new tricks and skills. I had to hire an electrician and a floor person to put in the floors. I did as much of the work as I could myself also means a lot more to me now. I know that blood, sweat, and tears actually did go into this restaurant.
As a Montana native, why choose to open your restaurant here in Cincinnati?
My ex-boyfriend, he’s from Cincinnati. He wanted to come out here and play hockey, and I was like, I’m gonna open up my own breakfast joint. And Cincinnati is perfect—a lot of places don’t succeed in Montana, just because the population is of a very small town. The population of the town where I was running the crepe and waffle joint that was really successful has the same population of just the students at UC.
How do you think your restaurant will influence our city’s culinary scene?
I’ve noticed that there’s definitely a lack of breakfast restaurants on [UC’s] campus. I know there’s a bagel place and then Hangover Easy, which are not even directly on campus. I just want to create a really good place for kids to go and do their homework or go have a cool brunch and get some Bloody Mary’s. I just want kids to enjoy their time at Avalanche, and I’m hoping to bring a new energy to Cincinnati.
I love Cincinnati so much. Some of the nicest people live here, and everyone is so welcoming. I feel so comfortable here and I am so happy that I’m opening up a business in Cincinnati. I’m really excited because everyone here is a big foodie. It’s pretty insane. Everyone just eats and drinks here and goes to baseball games. It’s so fun.
What are your favorite Avalanche menu items?
My favorite [savory crepe] is called The Avalanche, which is the big hangover crepe. So it is going to have bacon to chorizo, scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, white cheddar, green onions, and jalapenos—all topped with country gravy. My favorite sweet [crepe] is called the Yellowstone, and it has butter, bananas, brown sugar, caramel, powdered sugar, and whipped cream, so kind of like a bananas foster. It’s the best thing in the whole entire world.
I also have an option called the Lewis and Clark, which you can get if you don’t know what to order. You can get one sweet one and one savory, smaller crepe.
Your brother, Matty Funes, has gained a TikTok following for visiting and reviewing local eateries. How has his social media presence affected opening Avalanche?
It’s been great, but it kind of makes me nervous because like the videos [Matty] does at my restaurant, there are just so many comments. I’m just nervous about even the grand opening because I don’t know how many people will come because he gets a lot of attention on [TikTok]. I just don’t want to run out of food.
I’ve been super blessed to randomly have [Matty] as my brother. In our videos, it’s just like, brother and sister; we’re a small business. I like that all my family is here for me, and Matt is just really supportive.
Where do you hope to see Avalanche five years from now?
I am trying to own at least three to four locations. I’m definitely, definitely, definitely going to throw a bunch of money to go to Nashville. I want to end in Tennessee, but maybe I’ll open a location in Louisville or another one near Cincinnati.
Avalanche Crepes & Waffles opened in July 2022 at 160 W. McMillan St., CUF.