Atlanta Orders In: Peachtree Cafe serves breakfast-lunch dishes in Lawrenceville

The chicken and sweet potato waffle is a popular menu item at the Peachtree Cafe in Lawrenceville. CONTRIBUTED BY PEACHTREE CAFE
The chicken and sweet potato waffle is a popular menu item at the Peachtree Cafe in Lawrenceville. CONTRIBUTED BY PEACHTREE CAFE

Credit: PEACHTREE CAFE

Credit: PEACHTREE CAFE

Victor Erazo emigrated from Honduras in the 1980s, beginning his new life in New York City as a dishwasher in a diner. “He loved food and serving it, and he would say that he wants to own a restaurant,” recounted his daughter, Paola Erazo.

Paola Erazo is the general manager at Peachtree Cafe, a breakfast-lunch spot in Lawrenceville that her father, Victor Erazo, co-founded in 2011. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM
Paola Erazo is the general manager at Peachtree Cafe, a breakfast-lunch spot in Lawrenceville that her father, Victor Erazo, co-founded in 2011. LIGAYA FIGUERAS / LIGAYA.FIGUERAS@AJC.COM

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

Credit: Ligaya Figueras

While in New York, he met Ecuadoran native Nardo Sanmartin, who also happened to work in a diner and had his sights set on opening a restaurant one day.

Ultimately, both men relocated to Georgia, but a decade would pass before Erazo and Sanmartin debuted the Peachtree Cafe, a casual breakfast-lunch spot in downtown Lawrenceville.

When the cafe opened in 2011, Erazo alternated his work as head custodian at Peachtree Ridge High School with the responsibilities of a restaurateur.

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.

ExploreMore Atlanta Orders In
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
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
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

ExploreGwinnett County dining news

THE PEACHTREE CAFE

Menu: condensed menu of home-style breakfast and lunch items

Alcohol: no

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

Website: peachtree-cafe.com

Read more stories like this by liking Atlanta Restaurant Scene on Facebook, following @ATLDiningNews on Twitter and @ajcdining on Instagram.