Whitney Avenue has a sweet new addition.
After over a year in business, New Haven-based crepe truck Crepes Choupette has opened a brick-and-mortar location. At the restaurant’s grand opening yesterday evening at 24 Whitney Ave., a crowd of 40 New Haven residents and Yale students thronged the crepe machines, where employees layered fig jam over brie and topped Nutella crepes with fresh fruit. Crepes Choupette began with owner Adil Chokairy selling crepes from a cart — which included both a kitchen station and bicycle attachment — at the corner of College and Wall Streets in June 2014. Choupette Creperie and Cafe, which had been expected to open at the end of May, served crepes and wine to customers for free yesterday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., as local musician Adam Matlock played French tunes on an accordion in the corner.
“The goal is for people to have fun and enjoy themselves,” Chokairy said.
Despite the opening of the storefront, the cart will remain in business.
Net Impact, an undergraduate social entrepreneurship organization that bestowed upon Chokairy a 0 percent interest loan from microfunding organization Kiva Zip, helped provide several additional crepe machines, which are featured in the storefront. Alessando Luciano ’18, Net Impact’s consulting chair, said that social media advertising and Chokairy’s one-on-one interactions with customers helped Crepes Choupette meet its funding goals to open up the brick-and-mortar location.
Chokairy’s ability to turn professional relationships into personal friendships is consistent with his business outlook, Luciano said, adding that Chokairy runs Crepes Choupette not from a profit-based outlook but rather from a desire to be hands-on with his job.
The line for crepes extended past the door out onto the sidewalk, which both Luciano and Matlock said boded well for business. The restaurant’s warmly lit interior drew compliments from attendees, who noted its authentic decor and resulting ambiance.
“The space is a really nice place for students to interact with each other,” Ivy Wanta ’17 said.
Evelyn Davis ’17 said the new location seems like a natural outgrowth from the cart. Davis cited strong community support for the business, noting that this support lent a “joyful, non-sterile” atmosphere not found at similar establishments like Maison Mathis.
Students, including Nemo Blackburn ’16, living in Timothy Dwight College, which is less than a block from the storefront, said they were especially excited about the opening.
According to New Haven resident Paul Tynan, the new storefront contributes to the diversity and fine cuisine of the city.
“It would be nice to see more small businesses like this in the area,” Tynan said.
The Choupette Creperie and Cafe will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.