He retired from custodial work a couple of years ago. The 67-year-old doesn’t work the line at the Peachtree Cafe as much as he used to, but he’s still a presence at the restaurant, expediting, helping with food prep and mingling with customers.
Now, it’s Erazo’s children — Paola, 28, and her older brother, Victor, 33 — who are primarily running the family business. Although the pandemic and economic downturn impacted the eatery, the worries for these siblings began before COVID-19 came to town.
“One and a half years ago, investors approached us with an opportunity to provide us with a new building,” explained the younger Victor Erazo.
The new and improved Peachtree Cafe would be part of a massive new mixed-use development located right across the street from its original location. The move was slated for last August, but construction delays pushed back the timeline.
Peachtree Cafe, in downtown Lawrenceville, offers a variety of crepes, including the USA Sweet Cream, with house-made sweet cream cheese topped with fresh fruit and whipped cream. CONTRIBUTED BY PEACHTREE CAFE
Credit: PEACHTREE CAFE
Credit: PEACHTREE CAFE
Opening day in the new space was Jan. 31. “We had a great February. Then, boom! Pandemic,” he said.
The siblings ceased all operations at the restaurant in late March, and kept the lights off for six weeks.
As part of their reopening playbook, they streamlined the menu, trimmed the hours of operation, trained the 13 out of 17 employees that have returned on safety protocols, and tackled takeout.
Although the rent is five times as much as at the old location, the new address comes with one huge benefit: ample space. The dining room is so large that they safely can seat up to 80 customers. “We have a patio now, which we are super thankful for,” Paola Erazo said. Seven umbrella-covered tables are scattered in the outdoor space to enable social distancing.
Business is picking up, especially on weekends, but “it’s definitely not what it was before,” she said.
“We’ve gone through a lot of transitions over the years,” her brother added, but “the food always spoke for itself.”
Short-order breakfast noshes need to be eaten in, well, short order, so I transported my Sunday morning takeout down the block to Lawrenceville Lawn (an expansive city park and greenspace). There, I filled my belly with crepes topped with fresh fruit, the clean-eating California Panini, chicken with sweet potato waffles, and a veggie omelet with a side of home fries.
Even if Paola Erazo hadn’t told me that those diced potatoes — pan-fried with onions, peppers and lots of black pepper — are “everybody’s favorite,” I think I would have guessed as much.
The food at the Peachtree Cafe does speak for itself.
Peachtree Cafe offers a handful of sandwiches, including the hot, handheld California Panini, which features grilled chicken, sliced avocado, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and chipotle ranch dressing. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM
THE PEACHTREE CAFE
Menu: condensed menu of home-style breakfast and lunch items
What I ordered: chicken with sweet potato waffle; sweet cream crepe; panini with sweet potato fries, coleslaw and a pickle; veggie omelet with home fries and house-made biscuit
Service options: dine-in (dining room or patio); takeout (order online, by phone or in-person); delivery via DoorDash; curbside pickup available upon request
Safety protocols: following COVID-19 restaurant safety guidelines; employee temperature check prior to every shift
Address, phone: 30 S. Clayton St., Lawrenceville; 678-377-8745
Hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays
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