When Ivan Albert first started telling friends and co-workers that he and his wife were opening a crepery and rice pudding bar on Long Island, he’d almost always get the same reaction.
That is, a blank stare.
“They would just look at me like I had three heads,” said Albert, a New York City firefighter. “Nobody thought it was a good idea. Nobody.”
He and his wife, Kimberly, forged ahead anyway.
But Hurricane Sandy struck right before they were set to open in Port Jefferson in October 2012.
The superstorm pushed a full foot of water into their soon-to-be shop near the ferry terminal on Main Street. At that point, Kim Albert wondered aloud whether someone was telling them this really wasn’t such a good idea.
“And I said this is someone telling us work even harder,” Ivan Albert recalled.
Almost three years later, their Sweet n’ Savory on Main Street in Port Jefferson can most accurately be described as a hit.
The couple from Mount Sinai has now launched another shop, in Patchogue. The second local Sweet n’ Savory opened last month in the Waldbaum’s/Staples shopping center at the southwest corner of Waverly Avenue and Sunrise, near St. Joseph’s College.
As the name indicates, Sweet n’ Savory serves sweet crepes and savory crepes (examples below). These aren’t your typical, cigar-sized crepes you might find at Sunday brunch, either.
“These are New York-style crepes,” Ivan Albert said. “The one drawback for me, with crepes, was that they were too small and I was always hungry afterward. With ours, when your’e done, you’re full.”
There’s also more than a dozen flavors of rice pudding (examples below), all inspired by Kim Albert’s grandmother, who for decades wowed at family functions with her rice pudding recipes.
Both crepery locations are decked out in black, pink, and leopard, with sassy sayings on the walls that the Alberts and their kids come up with themselves. You can also watch the crepes being made through the glass.
The couple had considered expanding the Port Jeff shop at one point, but didn’t exactly want to lose the buzz that comes with a healthy line and the crowds that often gather outside.
So they chose coming to Patchogue — and they did so by popular demand.
“We get customers from everywhere, and a lot of people were coming north from the South Shore and they were saying, open up on the South Shore,” he said. “That’s kind of why we did it; we did it for our customers.”
Though crepes are much more popular in Manhattan, where his firehouse is located, and they seem to be available on every corner in the cities of their native France, Ivan Albert said getting locals to try a crepe isn’t a challenge.
The challenge is getting them to try other crepes from the menu.
“They’ll come in, and they’ll just keep getting the S’Mores,” he said. “But they don’t realize that every crepe on the menu is good, the S’mores just happened to be the first one they tried!”
Granola, Banana & Peanut Butter
S’mores – Nutella, Marshmallow & Graham Cracker
Cinnamon Apples, Caramel & Wet Walnuts
Click here for the full sweet menu
Prosciutto, Mozzarella, Sun Dried Tomatoes
Salmon, Cream Cheese, Baby Spinach & Capers
The Wing – Buffalo Chicken, Cheddar, Bacon & Blue Cheese or Ranch
Click here for the full savory menu
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Cute as a Pumpkin
Top photo: The Wing – Buffalo Chicken, Cheddar, Bacon & Blue Cheese
Second photo: Ivan Albert inside Sweet n’ Savory’s Patchogue location on Thursday.