West Portage Avenue road construction has done little to slow Oh Crepe and Coffee’s business this year.
“The construction started late enough in the season,” said owner Zak McClellan. “In our region of Michigan, you just have to have those construction times. I am glad the city chose the time they did."
Sault Ste. Marie Engineering Project Specialist Tracey Laitinen said Portage Avenue construction was originally planned to be completed in two phases. However, the city was able to condense its schedule by milling during night hours.
Yesterday, Laitinen sent the following email to impacted business owners and residents:
“Here is this week’s update! Concrete work should be finished by the end of the week, unless it rains then we will continue into next week to finish. Right now, depending on weather paving, will start next Tuesday or Wednesday. If you have any other questions just let me know.”
In the meantime, leaves are turning and Oh Crepe is promoting autumn beverages to help customers get in the spirit of change.
“We have Spicy Hot Chocolate, which is really good,” said Elise Beaudoin-Johnson, restaurant manager. ”We also have what we are calling the Sault Ste. Marie Fog. It is like a London Fog, which is a tea latte with a tea bag and steamed milk. Ours has honey and cinnamon. We got a flavor in it called warm spice. It has cinnamon cloves and all that kind of stuff mixed in there.”
If craving something a tad more substantial, Oh Crepe offers several crepe wrap varieties to instantly warm most palates.
“Our most popular crepes would definitely be the Nutella Fruit, by far,” Beaudoin-Johnson said. “It's the most familiar for people. It's comforting and warm. It's chocolate. Second to that, would probably be Cheesecake.”
The cream cheese frosting, crushed waffle cones, and choice of fruit crepe has certainly brought its share of sweet tooth customers through the doors this year.
This month’s weather change blew in the Apple Turnover, filled with caramel sauce, cinnamon, and crushed waffle cones.
“People really like that warm, homey feeling,” said Beaudoin-Johnson.
Top crepe sellers in the savory category include Chicken Bacon Ranch and Cali Club.
“The Cali Club is really nice because we put avocado aioli on it,” Beaudoin-Johnson said. “That's a big hit with people. We make that in-house too. It's really good.”
For breakfast, customers favor The Northerner and Farmers. The Northerner comes with sausage, bacon, hash brown, cheddar cheese, and eggs. Farmers is made with bacon, hash browns, tomatoes, onions, spinach, cheddar cheese, and eggs. Beaudoin-Johnson prefers a Farmers Crepe without tomato.
Oh Crepe and Coffee opened its doors in 2017 when McClellan and his wife, Korina, decided the Sault needed something a little different.
“At that time there weren’t many coffee options,” said McClellan. “We thought about that and the crepe shop in Frankenmuth. We thought we could put a fresh and fun spin on it. We went to a crepe shop in Chicago. We took some things that they did very well and blended in our own ideas. We just keep improving every year to try to enhance the menu. If you don’t change things up, you are dead in the water.”
McClellan largely credited his Oh Crepe team for the cafe's success and progress, often letting staff run with their own ideas.
“You can’t run a business unless you have really good people,” said McClellan. “They care. For me, that is the most important part.”
In return, Beaudoin-Johnson spoke very highly of the McClellans
“They are great to work for,” the five year employee said. “They're very understanding. They give us free rein for the most part, unless there's something they have an issue with. The culture here is very much based around us as a group. With them saying, ‘Okay, you guys are good and we trust you.”
Oh Crepe opened in May this year, and will remain open through the end of October. Customers have a little over one month to enjoy their favorite crepes and lattes.
As for current West Portage Avenue construction, McClellan wished to give the city props for doing it when they did.
Oh Crepe and Coffee is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, located at 309 W. Portage Ave, Sault Ste. Marie, MI. Its phone number is 906-259-7007