Tucked away in the bottom corner of downtown Kingston is an authentic crepe shop, inspired by creperies in France, that has been treating locals and tourists for nearly 20 years.
J’aime Les Crepes, which translates to “I love crepes,” offers over 30 kinds of crepes, both sweet and savory. The shop also caters and does special events.
Co-owner Paul Pluska describes a crepe as a “pancake rolled up with various things you can put inside. I can cover a lot of bases with people’s choices, which helps us a lot on the business side.”
Some of the more popular crepes at the shop include grilled chicken with artichoke pesto along with ham and swiss on the savory side, and Nutella strawberry, Nutella banana and chocolate on the sweet side.
“It kind of changes day-to-day where I’ll start selling dozens of one I haven’t sold in a while,” Pluska said.
To make a crepe, Pluska said you get the crepe maker hot, which takes about 15 minutes. Then pour in the batter and spread it quickly to make sure it fills the whole area. Give it about 15 seconds and flip it for the same amount of time.
“The batter is all made from scratch every morning,” Pluska said. “I don’t think you could ever buy what we make down there.”
Pluska and his wife, Heather, opened the shop in 2003 after he became inspired by the creperies in Paris during his eight years there as a Navy musician with the NATO Band, which was stationed in Italy. During his off time from playing gigs, he would explore Paris and all of its different kinds of crepe shops.
“My last couple years (there) I got in contact with some French operators of creperies,” Pluska said. “They helped me get started. Not in any formal way but kind of just trading recipes and advice on what kind of equipment.”
Pluska was transferred and ended up at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor, which is how they ended up in Kingston. They thought about opening up more, but decided that would be too much to manage.
They did open one on Bainbridge, but closed it during COVID-19 as much of its business came from Seattle cruise ships, which shut down during the pandemic.
In Kingston, they also get much of their business from tourists, especially from the ferry. He said many people take day trips over to Kingston just to check out the shop. He said the initial COVID shutdown didn’t affect business much because they offer only outdoor service.
The space is less than 200 square feet, allowing only space for customers to order in the lobby. Folks can also watch staff make the crepes through the glass window, which Pluska said is common at French creperies.
Looking ahead, Pluska said he’d like to run the shop as long as he can. “I’ve been doing it a long time, we’ll see. We love our spot and love being here.”
J’ame Les Crepes is open every day and is located at 11264 Highway 104.