Ballston Spa

At the Table: Channel Nomad’s cool vibe with coffee and crepes to-go

Throughout the COVID crisis, their full menu of 20 sweet or savory crepes, made by hand in-house, has been available
Inside Nomad Coffee & Crepes.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Inside Nomad Coffee & Crepes.

Categories: Life & Arts

Nomad Coffee & Crepes is funky and fun. And it is open for pickup, delivery and takeout during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Squeezed into a 200-square-foot storefront in the village of Ballston Spa, the main attraction is the coffee — regular or pour over — with beans from Knockabout Coffee, operated by Nomad co-owners Nick and Brian Furnia, that are roasted at the Furnia family farm in Galway.
Nitro Cold Brew, Matcha Latte, Espresso, Macchiato and more. Nomad’s got it and will bring it out to the curb or deliver it to your home.

Throughout the COVID crisis, their full menu of 20 sweet or savory crepes, made by hand in-house, has been available. Before the crisis, there was beer on tap and cocktails. Some cocktails are still available for takeout.

On March 13, three days before the Great Coronavirus Restaurant Shutdown, my husband and I decided to do crepes and beer for dinner. At the time, we couldn’t have imagined it would be our last dinner inside a restaurant for more than two months.

On that March night, as hubby and I headed to the door, we felt a bit timid. Not about the virus but about our age. We’re boomers not hipsters. Maybe this wasn’t our kind of place.

But the friendly young bartender made us feel right at home. Or maybe it was the retro jukebox packed with 45 records that we could play for free? 

Fire-engine red metal chairs, pictures of classic cars, an antique typewriter, pressed tin ceiling and a coffee/booze bar made with wood reclaimed from an old barn. Oh, and did I mention the mini lending library in the back corner? A quick scan revealed Tolstoy and an Edith Wharton biography.

Someone here is quite literary, as most of the crepes are named for characters in books. The Raoul Duke (anti-hero from Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”) is a matcha green tea crepe with raspberry puree; Dulcinea del Toboso (Don Quixote’s special lady in Cervantes’ “Man of La Mancha”) is orange marmalade with a flaming Cointreau topping.

We started our evening with a tasty chocolate stout crafted at Unified Beerworks in Malta. Then I selected the Mario Incandenza, named for a character in “Infinite Jest,” a 1996 novel by David Foster Wallace, which I praised for its crunchy mélange of flavors and textures: crisp green apple slices, feta crumbles, walnuts, dried cranberries and bite-sized pieces of kale. The menu indicated vinaigrette but I couldn’t detect it. The crepe, which was whole wheat, dusted with coarse salt, needed that moisture as it was a tad dry.

 

Hubby really liked his Taco Crepe, filled with shredded chicken, cheese and pico de gallo, but said it wasn’t hot enough. He was also expecting thin, delicate French-style crepes. These are as big as a burrito and folded like an envelope, not rolled up, which I found quite satisfying.

Between bites, we took turns jumping from our seats to pick out cool tunes on the jukebox, like “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash and “Whip It” by Devo. 

Unfortunately, we didn’t have room for a sweet crepe dessert, but we were eager to test the coffee, even if it was decaf.

“Oh boy, this tastes good,” said Hubby, a coffee snob who grinds his beans at home each morning.

We spent more time here than we expected. In the evening, Nomad is a relaxing place where it’s easy to linger.

Hopefully, we’ll be back inside soon, sitting on the red chairs and playing the jukebox.

NAPKIN NOTES
In 2018, when he opened Nomad, Nick Furnia was 18 years old and had just graduated from Ballston Spa High School.

Nomad Coffee & Crepes

WHERE: 80 Milton Ave., Ballston Spa
WHEN: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closes at 3 p.m. on Sunday
HOW MUCH: $27 without beer, tax and tip
MORE INFO: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Nomad is open for pickup and delivery through Grubhub and Cloosiv or by calling 518-309-4168. Pickup orders will be brought to the curb on Milton Avenue. Customers can also go inside and order takeout, but they must wear a mask and observe social distancing. Nomad takes all credit cards.

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