“Eat, Drink, Boogie, and Repeat!”
This has long been the mantra of restaurateur Greer Fredericks who brought low country fare to Connecticut by means of Mama’s Boy Southern Table & Refuge back in 2013. A few years later opportunity would come knocking again and Greer would grab ahold of it, selling one southern inspired eatery and opening a new one. Peaches Southern Pub & Juke Joint is latest chef d'oeuvre with its bourbon-laced, chicken fried, home grown rockabilly restaurant and music venue.
Pub fare with a Southern flare
Menu highlights include A Lil’ Somethin’; Redneck Charcuterie filled with Benton’s country ham, Tasso, pickled vegetables, house made pimento, bacon jam, whole-grain mustard, Ritz crackers, and country toast; County Fair Bacon made with thick-cut bacon, funnel-cake batter, maple syrup, and topped with powdered sugar; Carolina Pig Tails with Carolina BBQ sauce and buttermilk ranch; and Bayou Mussels steamed in jambalaya broth, andouille, peppers, onion, garlic, served with country toast. Suppertime has customers sitting down to; Panhandle Shrimp ‘n’ Grits made with Anson Mills heirloom grits, andouille, shrimp broth, and pickled okra; Bucket o’ Chicken (for two) with pickle-brined fried chicken, cornbread, and slaw - try it “Nashville Hot”; Low Country Burger topped with fried green tomato, pimento cheese, bacon, frisée, and french fries; grilled Mahi Mahi with corn griddle cake, creamed corn, and apple vinegar slaw; and an over-the-top Crispy Pork Shank with black-eyed pea cassoulet. And the cornbread kicks some major booty.
Cocktails, southern inspired and infused with creativity, include something for everyone; Spicy Okratini shaken withOola Aloo Vodka, dirty okra juice and pickled okra; the June Bug made with Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, Peaches’ sweet tea and fresh lemon juice; Peaches’ Old Fashioned comprised of Rittenhouse Rye, Demerara sugar, Angostura Bitters and Fee Brothers Peach Bitters; and the Petit Hurricane made with white rum, Myers’s dark rum, fresh OJ, passion fruit juice, simple syrup and house grenadine. Craft beer, old school canned stuff, and a small curated list of wine round out the beverage program. The cocktails I will tell you, to use a term I often don't, are killer.
Last week I was invited to a press event to sample some of their fare. Before dinner I popped on over to the Peaches website to familiarize myself with what they have to offer and was thrilled to see the deviled eggs (pictured below) listed as the first item on our personal menu. You see, #ihavethisthingfordeviledeggs and I think they're making a big come back as they seem to be very much en vogue in the restaurant scene these days. Anyhow...
First of all, look at them - beautiful works of art (Close-up below.) The purplish beet-brined eggs are topped with braised bacon and pickled okra offering up flavors that range from slightly sweet and sour from the pickling to smoky and salty from the bacon. The mild okra seemed to offer more in terms of aesthetics than flavor. The egg mixture was velvety and smooth while the pork offered a slight crunch and chew. The flavors and textures worked well for me and these rank up there with some of my favorites. I had just one but could have easily gone in for another. Alas there were no leftovers to slip into a doggie bag to bring home.
Following we had their Kale Salad that's not yet on their menu but will be soon. I would send for UberEats for this salad alone... and well, maybe a few other things. Tender soft kale (yes, it really was and really can be) was blended in with bits of crispy Kale (I wish there was more.... can you please add more?!) with bits of grilled corn and pickled beets. The dressing, although creamy, was incredibly light and perfectly complemented the salad. If you like kale you will adore this salad. If you don't like Kale I highly suggest you give this a try.
Following the salad we had their fried green tomatoes. These were positively outstanding and if you've never had a fried green tomato these are where you ought to start. Each crunchy slice is topped with crispy country ham (think bacon), tomato jam and buttermilk ranch. The smoothness of the tomatoes balances with the perfectly crisp exterior while the sweetness of the tomato jam, saltiness of the ham and slight sourness from the buttermilk swirl together to create a trifecta of flavors.
Next we moved on to the County Fair Bacon - think re-imagined corndog with a hip, modern, southern, country fair twist... Here a skewered piece of thick-cut bacon is buried in crispy funnel-cake batter and topped maple syrup, Areppa pepper and powdered sugar. The bacon here is a thick piece of pork which is soft and tender to the bite. Personally it was not my favorite though the others at my table raved over it and there was nary a drop, morsel or crumb left over!
Below: Tender pork (bacon) is enveloped in a thin, crispy batter of funnel cake.
On to the entrées... (I was running out of room!) Next to arrive was the Panhandle Shrimp ‘n’ Grits. Made with Anson Mills Heirloom Grits, Andouille sausage and a shrimp broth, this dish gives new meaning (to me) to shrimp and grits. Smoky from the sausage, with a slight (just slight) kick of heat, the shrimp were sublime. The grits were not like any I'd had before. Deeply flavorful from the broth, they had a certain lumpiness from the corn that was incorporated within that was unexpected but not at all unpleasant, and a rich creaminess from the cream and butter. Your mouth will thank you, your waistline not so much. My advice, indulge and please your mouth... You can always please your waistline at the gym later!
And then there was more! A deeply flavored crispy pork shank sat on top of a bed of black-eyed pea cassoulet. There was a lot leftover. I wish I had taken it home. The bean cassoulet offered a soulful comfort, flavorful on its own pairing perfectly with the pork that I can only best describe as intense. Because it's a leaner cut of meat, those who appreciate a crispy, chewy texture will enjoy this fall off the bone dish. It was mellower than I had expected, though not unflavorful and I was not disappointed with its flavor. A generous dish expect to bring home leftovers or perhaps share it with a friend.
I have no idea what the secret to Peach's cornbread is but it is addicting with more of a cake like consistency and less of the grittiness we expect from cornbread. One of the best I have ever had.
Nothin' says Southern (to me) as much as a bucket of fried chicken, mac and cheese, slaw and and collard greens. The chicken is available available in regular or Nashville Hot. I didn't try the latter. The regular boasted a nice crispy and crunchy exterior that perfectly locked in the juices revealing and incredibly tender white meat. This is fried chicken done right. I didn't try the mac and cheese or the slaw, but helped myself to the collard greens - my first time ever! I think my tastebuds preferred the kale salad - I wasn't exposed to collard greens in New York City in the 70s and 80s ;)
Why is it, that no matter how incredibly full you are that there's always room for dessert? Always! I managed to have a few bites of this delightful Old Fashioned Southern Peach Cobbler. Crunchy pecans and brown sugar sat atop a bed of whipped cream with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream and peaches served over a variation of the delightful Peaches cornbread.
The "joint" is deceivingly large. Although the space is narrow, it occupies the length of the building. In addition to the main dining room and bar on the ground level, the second floor houses the the joint bar, music venue, and back patio that overlooks the harbor. High ceilings, distressed wood, and exposed brick walls embrace the many antiques found on the owner’s travels down south. Dramatic lighting, classic glassware, and reconstituted railroad spikes set the tone for a multi-sensory experience that definitely feels a (Southern) cross between pub and juke joint. The atmosphere was charged the evening we were there with patrons of all ages.
Peaches is quickly becoming the go-to venue for music in Norwalk and has featured an underground line-up of local band musicians from such music greats as The Allman Bros, Billy Joel, Luther Vandross and Johnny Winters.
Weather you're looking for some great fare or a fun night on the town, Peaches offers something for everyone.
Peaches is open 6 Nights a Week
Closed on Monday
Sunday Brunch Coming Soon!
7 Wall Street in Norwalk, CT