Kim Rizk wants people to know that the crepes she and business partner Kathy Klockenbrink sell at local farmers’ markets are about more than sweet stuff.
“We’re not promoting strawberries, bananas, and Nutella,” says the co-owner of Jammin’ Crepes, a booth that has been a recent fixture at the Princeton and West Windsor markets. In fact, the crepes serve as vehicles for fresh vegetables, cheese from local farms, and their homemade jams, “a re-invention of a fresh sandwich and very different from a traditional French crepe,” she says.
The popularity of the seasonal business has led the partners to expand to a year-round venture. Beginning in early spring, they will be marketing their crepes at a casual, sit-down restaurant to be located at 20 Nassau Street. Soups, baked goods, juices, coffees, and teas will also be part of the mix at Jammin’ Crepes, which will continue to focus on fresh products from local farms.
“Opening a restaurant was actually what we initially intended to do,” says Ms. Rizk, a food writer who also sells real estate for Callaway Henderson Sotheby’s International Realty. “We thought the farmers’ markets would be a great way to have a pilot program for our brick-and-mortar location. And that’s exactly how it turned out. But we’ll continue with the farmers’ markets in both locations, because that’s what we’re all about.”
Ms. Rizk was involved in farm-to-table cuisine long before it became a craze. She grew up in the food and hospitality business. Her family owned and operated The Barley Sheaf Inn in Bucks County, in the former home of playwright and author Moss Hart. “It was a 30-acre farm on a William Penn land grant property. My parents loved to entertain at the farm, and they started the bed-and-breakfast,” she says. “The farm supplied a lot of the food.”
After marrying and moving to Connecticut, Ms. Rizk worked for Hay Day Country Market, a high-end, specialty farmer’s market, for 12 years. She is the author of The Hay Day Country Market Cookbook, now out of print but still popular. “It’s a very relevant cookbook that I find was a little bit ahead of it’s time,” she says. “People tell me they still refer to it.”
As a freelance food writer, Ms. Rizk provided articles for New Jersey Countryside magazine and The Newark Star-Ledger. After moving to Princeton with her family, she got involved in several local food initiatives. When she met Ms. Klockenbrink, who had studied French cooking in the Savoy region of France, the two discovered their common passion for farm-fresh food. They opened the Jammin’ Crepes stand in West Windsor’s farmers’ market three years ago. The Princeton location followed last season.
The “jammin” moniker comes from the jams put into the crepes, homemade from local produce. One of the partners’ signature crepes is made with local Cherry Grove Farm brie cheese, homemade strawberry/lavender jam, and bacon from a smokehouse in Bucks County. “We go there every other week to get bacon and ham,” Ms. Rizk says. “The sandwich sounds weird, but it’s a great combination and it’s very popular.”
The new restaurant will have seating for approximately 35 customers and serve eat-in and take-out food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu will change seasonally and accommodate various dietary concerns. The partners have been joined by Ms. Rizk’s husband, marketing executive Amin Rizk, in the venture.
“This really is about the local ingredients. We’re not people just jumping on the farm-to-table bandwagon and using it as a marketing thing,” Ms. Rizk says. “The idea came from our work supporting the local farmers’ markets and farms, and that’s our reason for being.”