Portland restaurateurs bring crepes, cocktails to former Chariteas space
For more than a year, the site of the former Chariteas tea shop at 38954 Proctor Blvd., has sat vacant.
A recent reading of the tea leaves, however, indicates that the little yellow building will receive a new lease on life as a creperie and bar.
Juan and Brie Escalante, owners of Portland restaurant Le Happy, have begun renovations to open the site as their second location.
The Escalantes have owned Le Happy in Portland for about five of its 19 years and lived in Sandy since 2003. Juan is a baker and was raised by a restaurateur in El Salvador. Brie also likes to bake but is a self-professed businesswoman.
"We're both very comfortable in the food industry," Brie said. "Business is my passion, and I'm a lifelong foodie."
The restaurateurs plan to serve both savory and sweet crepes, as well as a full list of cocktails, beers and wines. "We didn't intend to have a Portland restaurant," she said. "We decided to open a second location in Sandy because of this particular building and this opportunity. So far, we've gotten a lot of positive feedback and affirmation of the need (for a place like Le Happy in Sandy). Another restaurant in this town cannot hurt. We serve a lot of local products. We want to support the local community in that respect."
Brie added that they are excited to offer outdoor and indoor seating, and about opportunities the new location will provide.
Once the Sandy location is up and running, the Escalantes plan to have the Portland location be staff-run and focus their efforts more in the city they call home.
"Out here gives us the opportunity with a larger kitchen to expand our menu," Brie said. "We have a lot of friends and family in this community, and we're hoping to connect with the locals on a different level as well. We're looking forward to offering a style of food people aren't having on a regular basis but making it accessible and intriguing."
"We're looking forward to bringing new flavors and something that the town doesn't have to Sandy," Juan added.
Brie noted that the crepes at Le Happy range in flavors, offering taste of different cuisines from around the world inside of (or on top of) a light, fluffy pancake.
The dÉcor is much the same. "I like to describe the Le Happy style as funky and charming," Brie said. "It's Frenchy, but we don't take ourselves too seriously. We tend to play music from the 1950s through 1970s. It's almost the feel of a little Parisian place but American."
One of the more popular savory dishes is le steak dinner, which consists of a gorgonzola-filled crepe topped with a six-ounce steak, caramelized onions and a cremini mushroom sauce. On the sweet side, Brie said a lot of people seem to favor their Belle Helen, which is filled with poached pears and topped with semi-sweet chocolate sauce, toasted almonds and fresh whipped cream.
"It might seem foreign when you look at the menu, but when you get down to the ingredients, (crepes) really are comfort food," she added. "We offer a combo of comfort food and adventurous eating."
For those interested in experiencing the Le Happy menu before it comes to Sandy, Brie encourages people to visit their original location at Northwest 16th Avenue and Lovejoy Street in Portland.
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