Written by: Tyler Brunstein-Ellenbogen
Until recently, if you had asked me what a crêpe was, my honest answer would have been a flat pancake quesadilla. Little did I know that those flat pancakes would open my palate to a new world of flavors and ideas. Jammin’ Crêpes in Princeton provided me with that enlightening experience.
Jammin’ Crêpes first started serving crêpes at the West Windsor Community Farmers’ Market in 2011. It was not until 2014 that they opened a stand alone storefront on 20 Nassau St. in Princeton.
Kim Rizk, owner and head chef at Jammin’ Crêpes, when asked why she chose to specialize in crêpes told The VOICE, “Their ‘fresh – a la minute’ nature made them a natural choice for featuring farm fresh ingredients at the farmers’ markets – our origin.”
Their core message is the importance of eating and shopping local. Not only does it support local farmers and families, it also reduces the carbon footprint. By choosing to stay local, Jammin’ Crêpes can ensure that they get the freshest quality ingredients.
Co-owner, Kathy Klockenbrink, says: “We’re committed to be a model to show that it doesn’t have to be more expensive to be sustainable..On a busy day we can have two to three 64 gallon containers of compost waste.”
Upon arrival to the restaurant you are welcomed by a rustic ambience provided by the wood trim and the beige color scheme. Every wall is covered with artwork, all depicting things that refelct some aspect of their message of sustainability and eco friendliness. One of the most interesting installations is a map of New Jersey showing which local farms their ingredients come from.
Jammin’ Crêpes is open year round, with seating both inside and out, weather permitting. Where you choose to sit affects your entire experience.
If you choose to stay inside, you get to see first hand how your food is made in the open kitchen. On the other hand, during busy hours, the inside gets crowded, but not overwhelmingly tight.
One patron, Emilia Kraft of Titusville, says, “My favorite aspect is the vibe of the restaurant. It’s modern but has a very rustic feel to it.”
Not many restaurants in town offer outdoor dining, so the option definitely sets Jammin’ apart. The restaurant is located on the bustling main drag, so you get to enjoy Princeton close up. Street musicians play in nearby Palmer Square. Students pass by chatting in groups or with a look of academic focus in their eyes. Couples with kids meander by. Older folks drift in and out of adjacent shops. It’s perfect for people watching.
As for the menu, one appealing prospect is the “Nut-Cho-Tella” sweet crêpe. It feels like you should compare the “Nut-Cho-Tella” to the spread Nutella, but the more you eat, the harder it becomes. A combination of sweet hazelnut and near-bitter almond flavors is surprisingly complementary. Conversation may fade away as you drive into a crêpe nirvana.
Orders are delivered by well trained servers who take more enthusiasm in their work than the typical low grade restaurant flunky. Orders are expedited in a calm, orderly fashion and meals are presented to customers by name.
Jammin’ Crêpes proves that local food, thoughtfully and creatively prepared, can offer something transcendent.