Students returning to Nassau Street this fall were greeted by a few new eateries and another old favorite in disguise.
Newcomers to Nassau include small-plates restaurant Mistral, from Elements chef Scott Anderson, which opened across from the Princeton Public Library, as well as the tapas restaurant Despana, which opened on Nassau Street in June in the space formerly occupied by Palace of India.
A Princeton outpost of downtown NYC'sMamoun’s Falafel will open at 20 Witherspoon Street in the fall.In a reversal of the New-York-to-Princeton expansion, the Manhattan location of House of Cupcakes closed this summer, after just two months in operation.
In late July, the owners of Twist Yogurt changed the name of their business to “Sketch," a move intended to distinguish the branch from others that shared its former title.
Despana general manager Michael Dokovna said the restaurant has seen a large University clientele, including students as well as faculty and staff.
House of Cupcakes owner Ron Bzdewka said that the East Village location was a temporary deal, a test run to see how House of Cupcakes could do in New York.
“It was just a very touristy area that didn’t really fit our model that we’re expanding to now,” Bzdewka said. Along with the original Princeton location, the shop continues to operate locations in the Bronx and East Brunswick.
Bzdewka added that Princeton is a “very classic town” that is especially shop-friendly. “The people really take care of their own down here. It’s really a phenomenal place to have a business.”
Sketch manager Catherine Whitman said the new name is intended to distinguish the shop from others.
“A ton of places have the word ‘Twist’ in the name,” Whitman said in an interview in August. “We wanted to make the name our own.”
The new name is derived from the shop’s recent changes to its seating area, which had already provided free Wi-Fi and board games. The eatery’s tables now include blank pieces of construction paper with chalk so that customers of all ages can “sketch” drawings that will be used to decorate the shop.
While the business’s owners had not possessed the rights to the name “Twist,” the eatery has successfully obtained rights to its new name,Whitman explained.
Sketch has been continuing to identify itself as "Twist" on its website and social networking sites but will be changing the name in its online presence probably in the next few weeks, she said.
The primary motive for the name switch was to allow the nearly five-year-old establishment to build its growing reputation in the area, Whitman said. The copyrighted name will also allow them to expand to other locations in the future. She explained that the eatery had often been mistaken for a separate Twist Yogurt business based in northern New Jersey.
Whitman explained that she has received a few comments from people who have asked why the store chose the new name "Sketch" despite its slang connotations for shadiness.
Whitman said customers seem to have a better understanding of the name once they see the sketching wall and paper laid out throughout the store.
"I think that when people came in and saw that wall in action, it made a lot more sense and it tied together the name with the store," Whitman said.
Layton Hopper ’16 said in an August interview that he does not mind the owners’ name change “as long as they still provide the same delicious array of flavors.” He added that the name choice is more appropriate for an art supply shop and might not be appropriate for a frozen yogurt eatery.
Sketch is still looking into a new advertising campaign to promote its name, Whitman said, and will be offering a loyalty card soon.
News Editor Patience Haggin and Associate News Editor Catherine Ku contributed reporting.