October’s going to be Crêpe Month here in Saratoga Springs. saratoga living has learned that Ravenous, on Phila Street, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary next month, will be celebrating its big birthday with a full month of special events, themed dinners and limited-edition meals and drinks during the month of October.
Since its founding in October 1999, Ravenous has been Saratoga’s only dedicated crêperie, serving both sweet and savory crêpes, poutine and pommes frites (thin crispy french fries), with an array of mouthwatering, signature dipping sauces. “Having been in the industry for 35 years now, I think it’s a huge milestone,” says Ravenous’ owner David Zuka. “Really, the celebration’s for the staff and the patrons. We’re here, and we love what we do, and we’re going to stretch our legs a little bit.”
The festivities kick off with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday, October 1, which will be followed by a light reception. After the ribbon-cutting, Saratogians will be offered three themed dining experiences, including a “Belgian Bistro Night,” spread out over the month of October (reservations must be made via phone), as well as a bites of Ravenous treats and pommes frites available at two big local, food events: the 2019 Wine & Food Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) October 4-5 (Ravenous will be there on October 5) and The Downtowner‘s 6th Annual Saratoga International Flavorfeast on October 12, in which Ravenous will participate from its location just a block away on Phila. The month-long celebration will close out with the restaurant hosting an all-day “Stronger than Cancer Fundraiser” for the Joy Us Foundation, a nonprofit that offers free outdoor experiences for cancer survivors and their families (Zuka sits on its board).
As if this weren’t enough to keep Zuka’s hands busy making crêpes, throughout October Ravenous will also offer special anniversary menu items. That includes an “Anniversary Ale” brewed by the Saratoga-based Artisanal Brew Works, an Anniversary Cake Crêpe—a moist yellow cake with almond buttercream frosting and fresh fruit inside a sweet crêpe with sprinkles on top—and a “Throwback Crêpe of the Week,” which will feature crêpe recipes of old staff and customer favorites. During the month, the interior of the restaurant will also exhibit artwork by local artist Amanda Engels.
Ravenous was first opened in 1999 by Tina Laino and her son Francesco D’Amico (who’s a contributing photographer at saratoga living), along with D’Amico’s future wife Lauren Wickizer. In 2014, feeling a little foodservice burnout and wanting to return to their passions, the original three owners sold the restaurant to Zuka, who’s spent 35 years in the food industry working from franchise restaurants to fine dining and everything in between, along with his then-business partner Julie Raymond. These days, it’s just Zuka who owns and operates the intimate crêperie on Phila—and business hasn’t slowed down a bit. “Ravenous was in on the ground floor, and it really helped mold the current, diverse food scene here in town,” he says.
Zuka estimates more than a quarter-million different patrons have passed through Ravenous’ doors in its 20 years in business (that’s in addition to more than 1000 kitchen staff and employees). Regarding the restaurant’s enduring popularity, Zuka gives the lion’s share of the credit to the staff. “We’re like a small family, and we argue like a family, but at the end of the day, it’s all for one and one for all,” says Zuka. “We decide everything together, and the staff has really made it happen—that and the patrons.”
Want to get your hands on some of these delicious specialty crêpes? Check out the full schedule of events right here:
Tuesday, October 1
3-5pm, Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Ravenous followed by a reception
Friday, October 4
5-9pm, Belgian Bistro Night featuring Nine Pin Cider with moules frites (mussels and fries) and steak frites
Saturday, October 5
Starting at 12pm, Ravenous at SPAC’s 2019 Wine & Food Festival
Saturday, October 12
11am-4pm, Ravenous participating in the Saratoga International Flavorfeast
Tuesday, October 15
5-8pm, Ravenous’ 20th Anniversary Ale Launch with an Oktoberfest Prix Fixe Dinner
Wednesday, October 30
5-8pm, Crêpe Night Out Romantic Evening Prix Fixe Dinner featuring the local, gypsy jazz ensemble, Hot Club of Saratoga
Saturday, November 2
9am-9pm, “Stronger than Cancer Fundraiser” for the Joy Us Foundation at Ravenous