By: Sam Kim
The Bowery, once frequented by gang members for the brothels during the mid 19th century, is now a place where you can find young professionals and students lined outside to get their daily fix of coffee and choice pastries.
From the outside on the corner of 2nd and Bowery, Peels’ ceramic white paint and unnoticeable retro dotted sign are easy to pass by on a busy Bowery street. It seems like a run-of-the-mill café found in any East village alley.
But inside, you can find waiters and customers conversing in the all-wood décor café underneath warm yellow lighting. The communal tables bring together people getting a quick bite and those taking their time on the morning paper. All together the atmosphere is a cozy, but also lively one, almost unique to small towns.
While the basic breakfast items are the limit–oatmeal, baked goods, fruit salad– in the lower level café, a whole new menu opens up once you walked up to the second level of Peels.
Upstairs it looks like the brainchild of an architect of a tavern, a diner, and chic designer. The high ceilings are ornately decorated with large chandelier like lighting hangs from its top. Along with the wooden flooring, the bar maintains the “woody” décor and behind the counter a large assortment of spirits lines the shelves that go up to the ceiling. Several large diner booths surround the outer walls, giving you the feeling that you are at a bar, but a very comfortable one at that. It provides a confusion of whether it’s a swanky bar, or a fancy restaurant–but a good confusion at that.
The menu offers its fresh selection of granola, fruit salad, and tropical muesli. But much like the atmosphere, the food is your classical Southern comfort food. From a classic farmer’s breakfast of fried eggs, bacon, hash browns, and toast; to flap jacks whipped in maple butter. The main entrees can range anywhere from $8 to $14 dollars.
The favorite item on Peels’ breakfast menu, according to our waitress Christy lies in their “build-a biscuit”. Featured on the Martha Stewart Show, the have-it-your-way style biscuits start at $3 and anything from scrambled eggs, bacon, country ham, avocado, and gravy can be added.
The already made biscuits and gravy combo comes with poached eggs and sausage gravy if you’re not the DIY type. . This mix of sweet and savory provides a great balance. But be warned this isn’t what you call a ‘light’ meal. The poach egg on top is a little runny, which may be good for some because the biscuit has a doughy texture that soaks up any moisture.
Whether for a light snack, or a modern southern styled breakfast, Peels provides a friendly atmosphere for a reasonable price in the heart of a busy Bowery Street.