By Maureen Werther
Kraverie, a Jersey City restaurant sensation that fuses Korean and French cuisine, is opening a second location in the Beekman Street Arts District in Saratoga Springs.
The new eatery opens at 78 Beekman St. on June 11. As it turns out, chef/owner Christian Usher is accustomed to taking his show on the road.
As their website says, Kraverie is the “brainchild of two revolutionary food truck owners.”
Charles Usher started his culinary career 10 years ago in Jersey City, N.J., as a food truck vendor, operating Lucinda’s Creperie. It was there that he met his business partner, Charles Heo, also a food truck vendor and owner of Krave, a Mexi-Korean BBQ.
For the next 10 years the two entrepreneurs vended together and both of them developed a large and committed following for their menus. As both businesses grew, Usher and Heo began thinking about opening a "brick and mortar" location, initially thinking they might share the space. They began combining recipes and creating completely new dishes.
They opened the first Kraverie in Jersey City.
Their popularity spread quickly and, seven years later, Kraverie JC continues to be something of a culinary phenomenon in the New York Metro area, according to the owners. With a menu that includes both sweet and savory dishes like Korean crepes, kimchidillas, and cheesecake crepes, their flavors continue to appeal to a diverse range of palates.
When Charles Usher and his wife, Amy Usher, decided to leave the city and open a new restaurant, they began exploring different locations, including the upstate New York region.
"We were looking around for a good fit, the right demographics, the right economy and the right culture," said Amy. "When we visited Saratoga, we really loved the town and the energy right away, and Beekman Street was just perfect for us."
The Ushers purchased a home in nearby Geyser Crest and moved in about seven weeks ago. They've been busy ever since. A grand opening is scheduled for June 23.
"The restaurant space was in fantastic condition and the building owner did an amazing job with it," said Amy. "But, it was empty and needed entirely new furniture and equipment."
Charles Usher is also an accomplished wood craftsman. Along with another craftsman, they built every piece of furniture in the restaurant. Amy Usher also pointed out that the location has "a very large patio that will be great for people who want to eat outdoors."
Between the indoor and outdoor spaces, Kraverie NY has table seating for 60 people, with a bar area serving beer, wine, and cider.
As their slogan suggests, the Ushers plan to continue "satisfying kravings," offering the same eclectic menu items and adding new items using locally produced ingredients. They are also including gluten-free and vegan options.
Kraverie is working with Ashley Roberts, a member of the Beekman Street Arts District Board, to develop engaging and theme-oriented events, such as "bring your own vinyl" night.
"Ashley has some great ideas and we are excited to become an important part of the community," said Amy.
Kraverie will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., including a live-music brunch. For more information, visit www.kraverieny.com.