When Yale’s campus was first graced by the presence of the Crêpes Choupette cart last June, no one was more excited than Spoon. Throughout last year, we were continually impressed by the amazing quality food the cart turned out and touched by the inspiring story and endless warmth provided by its fearless leader, Adil.
Crêpes Choupette’s mission has always been to brighten the days of Yale students by supplying campus with authentic and delicious French street food and an atmosphere of support and generosity. When the opportunity was presented to expand the business to a brick-and-mortar crêperie and café on Whitney Avenue, Adil seized it, saying “the cart needed a home.”
The team worked through this past spring and summer to get the space ready for an early September opening and the work has clearly paid off. Walking into the café is like walking into the world that the cart always existed in: an eternal Parisian Spring imbued with the enticing smells of crêpes cooking on the counter-top burners and void of any worries.
Adil’s eye for detail is evident. The ambience is carefully curated to feel warm without ever getting stuffy. There are fresh flowers, there is French music playing and the beautiful, rustic furniture was custom-made for them by a local carpenter.
The physical atmosphere perfectly compliments the emotional one: the crêperie feels like it is always full of friends and laughter and it is obvious that Adil and the entire staff there make an effort to connect to each customer.
Adil’s favorite part of opening the restaurant has been seeing people come in who used to stop by the cart: “It feels like they are joining the adventure, growing up with me…it’s touching.” And yet, even with this friendship, the space is peaceful enough to order a Nutella crêpe and a cappuccino and sit down with a good book.
The food at the restaurant is as amazing as ever. There has been a continued commitment to high quality ingredients and a balance of classic and exciting flavor combinations. The larger space provided by the permanent location has granted Adil the freedom to expand the menu.
They offer several new sweet and savory options, including my new favorite, the Norwegian, which is composed of crème fraîche, smoked salmon, dill and (if you ask nicely) fresh tomato slices. The saltiness of the smoked salmon complements the silky smooth crème fraîche and fresh, cutting acidity of the tomatoes. The dill pulls the whole crêpe together and affects a taste perfectly between New England and France.
The crêperie also now serves gluten-free buckwheat crêpes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, a variety of drinks, including artfully decorated espresso creations and apple cider, the traditional accompaniment to savory crêpes and also special crêpe-du-jour. The most recent special variety is especially eye-catching, containing peaches, goat-cheese and rosemary.
Even with all these new changes and features, the crêperie is still growing. They are now turning their attention towards building great brunch service, on weekends 9 am-2 pm. Eggs can be added to every crêpe variety and the complet, which has egg, ham and gruyere, is incredibly delicious and well-balanced. The restaurant can also be rented as a venue for catered parties.
And, for those of you that were worried, the cart continues to operate on the same rotational schedule, at College and Wall 10am – 4pm on weekdays and at the Wooster Sq. farmers’ market on Saturday mornings.
Apart from the amazing food prepared and apparent ambition exhibited by the entire team, the most endearing aspect of Crêpes Choupette is their excitement about being embraced by the New Haven and Yale community.
After Adil made me a crêpe, spoke with me for this story and posed for some pictures, I asked him if there was anything else he wanted me to put in the article, anything else he wanted to say. I expected a business pitch: something about the quality of the food or why people should come eat at the restaurant.
Instead, he offered this: “I want to say thanks, thank you, to everyone at Yale… without the students, friends, customers, this business wouldn’t have made it through the first year. Thank you.”
I guess he knew the rest would speak for itself.