By Katherine Abbott
There’s a tendency to look askance when a new restaurant opens in a location that’s had a series of eateries come and go. Add in the factor of a town that’s valiantly striving to revitalize itself, and the doubt meter rises. But Oh Crêpe!, the newest incarnation in North Adams, Mass., may have found the ingredients to create a long-lasting fixture within one of the town’s anchors, the Berkshire Emporium,
a two-floor, rambling antiques store in the middle of Main Street.
And what’s not to like being surrounded by this wild and whimsical treasure trove? A wooden counter runs the length of the compact space. Books line the yellow walls so that, sitting at a table, I am eye-level with Jessamyn West’s “Leafy Rivers" and Mark Hadden’s “A Pot of Bother." On one end of the counter an old metal milk can has been turned into a water cooler, and on the other, filling me with admiring glee, there are three flavors of Assembly Coffee roasted locally in the central Berkshires. They also have a gluten-free cooking space.
Oh Crêpe! has a playful inventiveness to it. It’s a sunny space with colors that could have come from the crêpe of the month listed on the wall — lemon curd and whipped cream, garnished with raspberries and mint.
The crêpe in front of me is sunny, too: Mountain Girl Farm
eggs, Cricket Creek Farm
cheese, fresh spinach and bacon. This is the kind of place that relies on fresh ingredients and presents them simply. The eggs are rich and buttery, the cheese sharp, the spinach plentiful, the bacon lean and the crêpe itself soft, light, faintly sweet and faintly tangy. Together they are splendid comfort food. Prices for the crêpes range from $5-$10.
Finding new local ingredients has become a summer quest, co-owner Benjamin Lamb told me later. Well after I sampled his fare we met near his office in the Paresky Center at Williams College, where he is assistant director for Student Organizations and Involvement at Williams College. He and his wife, Emily Schiavoni, director of Residence Life at Southern Vermont College, live in North Adams and opened Oh Crêpe! together at the end of April.
Lamb and Schiavoni have wandered farmers markets and talked with friends looking for local sources — Skyr and butter from Gammelgården Creamery
, muffins from Cakes by Reba
, native blueberries.
“One of our main objectives is to leave as many dollars as possible in the local radius," he said. And, he continued, to foster community between high school and college students, and the people in town. It helps that the two shops have developed a symbiotic relationship: people coming into one will often end up in the other. Oh Crêpe! has already grown a regular crowd coming in for their morning coffee.
“We’re on Main Street," Lamb said. “We’re a place where people will stop in. The staff have to be cheerleaders for the city."
Later, I tried the lemonberry crêpe of the month that won the last contest. The tang of lemon, blandness of cream, tart-sweet berries and sharp mint blend together into something rich and suave and unexpected. I’ll go back for more.
57 Main Street, North Adams, MA
Mon. - Fri., 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Sat., 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.; Sun., 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.