Norwalk’s newest dessert shop, Button Desserts, brings to life Crê-Mo — that is, chewy crêpe made out of mochi — an original dessert. Owner Ji Hye Kim, a private art tutor, first shared her ideas of a small dessert shop with her students. Working together, Kim and her art students began developing the concept of Button Desserts, and it opened for business on February 14.
Following six months of experimentation, Button Desserts’ signature dessert was born: Crê-Mo. Crê-Mo is inspired by hoddeok, a traditional Korean dessert. Hoddeok, a popular street food, is a sweet pancake filled with a brown sugar mixture. But, “Hoddeok provides limited options for creativity,” said Kim, leading her to create a globalized dessert with roots in Korean tradition.
Crê-Mo, Button Desserts’ signature item, is a small crêpe-like dessert made out of mochi powder. Originating in France, crêpes are thin pancakes. Mochi is a traditional sweet rice cake from Japan. After the Crê-Mo is fried in a shallow pan, it is drizzled with either a brown sugar syrup or Nutella and topped with fruit and/or nuts. While Crê-Mo’s edges are crispy, its interior offers a sweet, chewy contrast.
In addition to the original Crê-Mo, Button Desserts offers Ice Crê-Mo (simiply Crê-Mo with a scoop of ice cream on top). Button Desserts most popular Crê-Mo flavors are the original and strawberry banana, while popular Ice Crê-Mo flavors are pistachio and vanilla matcha nut. Matcha is powdered green tea leaves, used predominantly in Asian cuisine.
Button Desserts exclusively features fresh and natural ingredients with no preservatives. For instance, Ice Crê-Mos are topped with Fosselman’s ice cream. Fosselman’s ice cream is handmade in Southern California with no added preservatives. Although it is more costly, Kim is confident that “The quality is worth it.” This commitment to using the finest ingredients ensures the highest caliber dessert.
Recently, Kim has begun drawing pictures of customers on the glass panel overlooking the service station, exhibiting her artistic talent. Kim noted that “any customer can be drawn if they want to be,” as long as she has a spare minute. These personal touches add a warmth to Button Desserts and establish its connection to the community.
In recalling the development of Button Desserts’ name, Kim spoke fondly of a Walt Disney book. This book, Button Soup, tells the story of how a young girl tricks her uncle into cooking enough soup to feed the whole town – beginning with just one button. Just as the story of Button Soup states, any monumental project is first initiated with the smallest of actions. Though Kim and Button Desserts began with nothing, a series of action and reactions set her on a path to success. Kim’s interpretation of Button Soup is sharing her desire to open up a dessert shop with others; this spark, or “button,” began a movement. Thus, allowing others to help nurture her vision and bring brick and mortar to fruition — presenting Crê-Mo to Norwalk.
As a new small business owner, Kim offered excellent advice to young, aspiring entrepreneurs. While Kim is delighted to have Button Desserts’ doors open, she admitted that owning a small business “can be overwhelming.” In the midst of juggling many hats, Kim said she often reminds herself to, “Be patient, do what I can do, […] and take everything step by step.”
Button Desserts, located on Alondra Blvd off the 605, is open Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m. — 9 p.m.