By Kelsey Garcia
Amidst the bustling business along the Bowery stands Peels, the zeitgeist-encapsulating, comforting Southern eatery. The self-described “regional american restaurant” stirs in the warmth of a good biscuit with the hip rustic-chic ambiance common in many other New York City restaurants.
The down-home spot is owned by Taavo Somer, who’s prior dining experience began with the Lower East Side restaurant Freemans. While Freemans is known for its cabin-style aesthetics, complete with taxidermy, Peels is a light refuge. The white chairs, tables, and wall etchings are complimented by light green accents throughout the two-story restaurant.
Logistically, Peels provides two fully-stocked bars and a bakery near the first floor entrance. For seated customers, the restaurant’s fried chicken, shrimp and grits, or biscuit are some of the frequently ordered items. The fried chicken is priced at $12.75 for lunch, however, is a pricier $21.75 at suppertime. The shrimp and grits range from $13.25-26.50, depending on the time of day.
For the lighthearted fare, the fruit salad does not disappoint. The refreshing mélange of apples, oranges, and grapes is topped by a light drizzle of honey and scattered mint leaves. However, a few tartly bites made the meal turn sour by the end of consuming the large serving. Peels is truly worth it, though, for the biscuit alone. The crumbling buttermilk specimen achieves perfection in its crispy top and soft, mouthwatering center. The culinary accouterment may be ordered individually or, preferably, infinitely.
While the trendy restaurant may not be worth the wait, or price, at dinner or during New Yorkers’ ritualistic brunch-time, the hospitable atmosphere and satisfying breakfast options grant it a well-deserved presence in the Downtown dining scene.
Peels is located at 325 Bowery and is open daily from 7:30 am-11:30 pm.