Customers are singing the praises of Jammin’Crêpes, the new restaurant at 20 Chambers Street (entrance on Nassau Street).
Just opened in October, the restaurant/cafe is already attracting a loyal clientele. Hungry customers can’t wait for a tasty breakfast or lunch crêpe, followed by a late afternoon sweet crêpe, perhaps enhanced by one of the cafe’s special micro-batch seasonal jams.
“Our main focus is made to-order sweet and savory crêpes, filled with seasonal produce and ingredients from regional farms and food artisans, supplemented by Fair Trade and organic ingredients whenever possible.” note owners Kim and Amin Rizk and Kathy Klockenbrink.
The idea for the restaurant was prompted by their successful introduction of the crêpes to several farm markets in the area, including Princeton and West Windsor, over the past few years. “We emphasized good fresh food all made to order, as well as our homemade jams and pickles. The farm markets were a very good showcase for us,” says Kim Rizk.
Adds Amin Rizk, who handles the marketing and administrative end of the business, “The farmers market was a way to test our concept before bringing it to brick and mortar.”
And the crêpes became so popular that expanding into a space of their own was indeed the next logical step. “Also,” says Ms. Rizk, “We felt, as Princeton residents, we wanted to share our products here with the community. We feel this is like a cafe, and we also wanted to replicate a market environment. We thought this would be like real street food for people in a very informal and comfortable setting.”
In addition to crêpes, the restaurant will offer a daily selection of seasonal soups and salads, all freshly made, and a variety of home-baked goods. There is also an assortment of homemade jams, preserved by Ms. Rizk, and homemade pickles. Ms. Rizk is a master food preserver, having received her certificate through Cornell University Extension.
Casual eat-in and take-out choices are available for breakfast, lunch, and late afternoon. Communal seating is offered for 45 diners inside and 15 outside.
The down-to-earth interior — much like a farmhouse environment — is very appealing. In keeping with the owners’ focus on recycling and environmentally-friendly products, the tables are made of recycled New Jersey barn wood, and fun antique street signs, “Peach Street” and “Cherry Street,” are displayed. Another touch features lighting ensconced in clear Ball-type jars (those used for canning and preserving).
“We are working toward zero waste in the restaurant,” explains Ms. Rizk. “All of our take-out containers are fully compostable, and we also have a contract with Central Jersey Waste to pick up all of our food waste.”
The owners are delighted with the enthusiastic response of the customers, many of whom come at least once a week. “We have been so busy, more than we anticipated. We have been so well-received,” notes Kathy Klockenbrink, who co-authored a bi-lingual cookbook while living in Grenoble, France. She currently continues her profession as a speech therapist part-time in addition to keeping a full schedule at Jammin’ Crêpes.
“Crêpes are a global item. We have made thousands of crêpes, and all are made from scratch with our own recipes. I love to cook, and I like to have eating be a time to slow down.”
Patrons of Jammin’ Crêpes are doing just that! They enjoy coming in throughout the day, with many showing up for an early breakfast.
Some morning favorites include “Classic Bacon, Egg & Cheese,” with free-range egg, thick-cut smokehouse bacon, and a special blend of melted cheese; the “Cinnamon Breakfast Toasty” with browned butter, the signature cinnamon sugar, free range egg, and thick-cut smokehouse bacon with a drizzle of maple syrup. The “Skinny Pancake Special” includes spiced Jersey apples, creamy brie cheese, thick-cut smokehouse bacon, with a drizzle of maple syrup, and freshly ground black pepper.
Other breakfast specialties include “The Health Nut” featuring peanut butter with Fair Trade bananas, the signature house-baked granola and a drizzle of Jersey honey. The “Skinny Goat” includes free range egg whites and fresh goat cheese with a selection of seasonal roasted vegetables.
A very popular lunchtime favorite is “Everything’s Better With Bacon & Jam,” with thick-cut smokehouse bacon, special strawberry lavender jam, fresh baby arugula, and creamy brie. “This is a combination of sweet and savory, including our homemade jam,” report the owners.
“The Full Monty” offers oven-roasted turkey breast, black forest ham, free-range egg, with a special blend of melted cheese and choice of seasonal berry jams. The “Jammin’ Turkey Club,” with oven-roasted turkey breast, thick-cut smokehouse bacon, mozzarella, local greens, and a special sweet and spicy tomato jam is another favorite.
“Hammin’ Cheese Melty” offers black forest ham and Swiss cheese with honey spice pickles and mustard aioli. The “BLT Melty” features thick-cut smokehouse bacon, fresh seasonal greens, Jersey tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and seasonal aioli. “Jammin’ Chai Brie” includes chai-spiced Jersey plum jam with roasted hazelnuts, baby arugula, and creamy brie. The “Crepacopia” offers the signature Jersey sweet potato hummus, fresh apples and spinach, with toasted sunflower seeds and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses.
Any of the crêpes, including the sweet crêpes, can be ordered at any time of day, point out the owners. A favorite sweet crêpe is “Orchard Lemon” with the restaurant’s own micro-batch of lemons and local orchard apples cooked into a sweet and tangy lemon curd, filling a crisp crêpe. “Lemon & Lavender” is a sweet and tart treat with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a shake of the cafe’s own local organic lavender-infused sugar.
The “Toasty Joe” features browned butter and the signature Turkish coffee-infused sugar in a warm sweet crêpe. “Jammin’ Good” is a signature sweet crêpe filled with micro-batch jams made from local fruits.
Chocolate lovers will not be disappointed! “Nut-Cho-Tella” is the restaurant’s own blend of freshly-roasted hazelnuts and almonds ground into a creamy chocolate spread. “We make our own nutella,” points out Ms. Rizk. “We roast our own almonds and hazelnuts with healthy oils. This is very popular.”
“The Classic Toasty Cinnamon” crêpe features browned butter and the cafe’s signature cinnamon sugar. It can also be made with dark chocolate or local orchard spiced apples.
Kids’ choices are also available, including “Grilled Cheese Melty,” “Pizza Melty,” and the always popular “PB&J.”
All crêpes are made fresh to order, and the batters are created in-house from scratch every day.
In addition to crêpes, the cafe offers homemade soups, salads, and freshly baked cookies, pastries, and granola. “We always have a homemade seasonal soup, a house salad with organic greens and grains, and a berry vinaigrette,” says Ms. Rizk.
Beverages include Small World coffee, low-sugar Boylan sodas from New Jersey, the Princeton-based bai special drinks, and Steaz teas from Doylestown, Pa.
“95 percent of our ingredients are sourced locally,” reports Ms. Klockenbrink. The restaurant offers products from Cherry Grove Farm, Terhune Orchard, Griggstown Farm, and Sansone’s Farm Market, among other area establishments. Gluten-free batter is also available on request.
Ms. Rizk’s homemade jams and pickles are also available for sale, as is her book, Hay Day Country Market Cookbook. Ms. Rizk is also a contributing food writer for New Jersey Countryside, and she recently co-authored a new publication Farm Markets of Central New Jersey.
The owners are pleased to have this new focus for their products, notes Ms. Rizk, and they still continue to bring their crêpes to the Princeton and West Windsor farm markets.
“After three years of serving our sweet and savory crêpes at local farm markets, we are thrilled finally to have a home base to be able to share our farm fresh flavors with everyone year-round. We really wanted to be in Princeton, and we feel we are filling a need.”
They also add they are having fun. “There is so much energy here,” says Ms. Klockenbrink. “And there are fun things. For example, we use playing cards to call out the customers’ numbers when they wait for their food. Jack of Diamonds, Queen of Hearts, etc. It’s a fun degree of levity. It’s great to have a small business in town, and we are glad to be here.”
Adds Ms. Rizk: “I hope we will be a welcome part of the community for a long time to come. We’re here to make it work!”
Jammin’ Crêpes offers a price range from $4.50 to $8.95, and it is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hours will be expanded in the future. (609) 203-4807. Website: www.jammincrepes.com.