The chocolate chip ricotta crêpe has already been a popular menu item. It’s a chocolate crêpe filled with homemade sweet ricotta and chocolate chips. (Staff photo by Alexandra Yearly.)
The chocolate chip ricotta crêpe has already been a popular menu item. It’s a chocolate crêpe filled with homemade sweet ricotta and chocolate chips. (Staff photo by Alexandra Yearly.)
Button’s Crêperie owner Lauren Sabogal cooks up a crêpe April 19, 2012. (Staff photo by Alexandra Yearly.)
Button’s Crêperie owner Lauren Sabogal cooks up a crêpe April 19, 2012. (Staff photo by Alexandra Yearly.)

A love of traveling is what made Lauren Sabogal realize her love of crêpes. And with the opening of her new business, Button’s Crêperie, the East Windsor resident can share that love with customers at the Trenton Farmers’ Market.

Button’s Crêperie officially opened April 5, but Sabogal had been planning its concept long before then.

Sabogal, 28, hadn’t known much about crêpes until her freshman year of college, when she went on a backpacking trip to Europe with a friend. The pair—looking to satisfy a chocolate craving and their hunger—stopped at a small stand in Rome and ordered Nutella crêpes.

Every two years, they made plans for a new backpacking trip. A few years later, they ended up in line at a crêpe truck in Ireland.

When Sabogal put in an order for her usual Nutella, the woman repeated it, saying something about “with buttons.” Despite Sabogal’s initial concern, she later found out the meaning.

“Nutella is sometimes difficult to spread on a crêpe when you’re making it, so they had morsels they would throw on, and they would just melt,” Sabogal said. “And they called them buttons.”

As she continued to wait in line, Sabogal and her friend were hit with an idea: to open their own crêperie. By the time the friends received their crêpes, they had the whole business planned out.

But it wasn’t until Sabogal decided against applying to law school that she actively pursued opening Button’s Crêperie.

The Princeton native began researching crêpe recipes locally and from overseas, making sure to include traditional favorites like the butter and sugar crêpe or Nutella crêpe, and adding in some new recipes, like the chocolate crêpe filled with ricotta cheese and chocolate chips.

A crêpe is similar to a very thin pancake, which can be stuffed with lunch or dessert filling.

Button’s Crêperie features both savory and dessert crêpes. Dessert crêpe fillings range from Nutella to ricotta to seasonal fruits. Savory crêpes include vegetable or chicken crêpes, with a selection of cheeses and different vegetables depending on the season. Sabogal also offers gluten free crêpes.

Sabogal said many of her customers don’t even know what a crêpe is at first, but cooking them in front of people walking by has helped people get accustomed to the food.

“Because I’m making it right in front of everybody, people are more willing to give it a chance … I think that’s part of the appeal,” Sabogal said. “In Europe, every crêperie I went to, you would see them making it, and it’s just so amazing to watch someone do it.”

But crêpes are not the only food choice on the menu. Sabogal also offers paninis and salads for the lunch crowd. A menu favorite so far has been the “grown-up grilled cheese,” which allows customers to choose from Gouda, goat, feta, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses.

Sabogal spent the past two years introducing Button’s Crêperie to the world at several different festivals. Customers could have checked out her stand at the annual Oyster Bowl on Super Bowl Sunday at Blue Point Grill in Princeton, where Sabogal works part-time.

Button’s Crêperie will also be open at several festivals this summer, like the Belmar Seafood Festival and the Jazz Music Festival in Long Branch.

But Sabogal hasn’t forgotten her first passion that enabled her to discover crêpes. She hopes to block out space for travel time in January, when business is least busy.

“I can’t not travel, and the reason I’m here is because I was traveling, and I want to keep going,” Sabogal said. “I went to Paris two Christmases ago, and I ate crêpes for the entire seven days straight.”

Button’s Crêperie is located in the Trenton Farmers’ Market at 960 Spruce St. in Lawrence.

In May, the farmers’ market will be open for summer hours on Wednesday-Sunday. Sabogal plans to feature a brunch menu on Sundays with menu items like waffles, French toast and breakfast crêpes. On the Web: buttonscrêperie.com.