SOUTHERN COMFORT FARE LIVES AGAIN IN BOTH FORT GREENE AND BED STUY, AS THE PEACHES HOTHOUSE BRAND REOPENS ITS LOCATION IN THE LATTER NABE GENTLY TWEAKING MENU CONCEPTS TO SUIT DIFFERING TASTES
BY EVAN MONROE
Ben Grossman and Craig Samuel opened their first Peaches HotHouse nine years ago in Bedford Stuyvesant, and its combination of airy, open, uncluttered space and witty takes on Southern comfort food classics drew immediate fans. Whoopi Goldberg named theirs the best fried chicken at the New York City Wine and Food Festival, with Barbara Walters adding that it was the juiciest she’d ever tasted. Chrissy Teigen even tweeted a cry for help, seeking a way to get the chicken to her. A second location came last year, just off Fort Greene’s Fowler Square pedestrian plaza, which was especially fortunate timing for acolytes, as the Bed Stuy restaurant closed briefly early this year for a facelift. And it’s abundantly worth a trip to South Elliott Place, because, as Samuel explained, even though the new spot allowed itself some innovation, staples like “hot chicken, shrimp, and cat fish (with three spice levels), and appetizers such as our fried green tomatoes, are all common to both.” Sides at both spots include spicy charred broccoli, braised greens, Brussels sprouts, and creamed spinach.
Over twelve years of ownership, Samuel and Grossman’s company, B+C Restaurant Group, came to encompass the two HotHouses, Peaches Kitchen and Bar, and Peaches Shrimp and Crab. Their first restaurant, the Smoke Joint, formerly located in Fort Greene, will reopen this summer in the town of Livingston Manor in the Catskills.
Damian Laverty McDowell, who started with B+C Restaurant Group as a cook on the Smoke Joint’s opening day and later became a frequent collaborator and ultimately a chef and partner at Peaches Shrimp and Crab, is a now a partner and “the culinary force” behind the Peaches HotHouse brand.
Asked if there are any spiritual differences between the two HotHouse identities, Samuel explained that “Bed Stuy is frequented by many work from home creatives who not only join us for lunch or extended meetings during the day, but stop by to decompress as the sun sets. So, we continue to serve many pure comfort dishes, such as our famous barbecued shrimp with crispy grit cakes and cocktails that befit a festive atmosphere, many named after blues greats. In Fort Greene, where people are more likely to pop in after a yoga class, a walk in the park, or a visit to BAM, we also offer fresher and lighter updates of classic dishes, such as grilled salmon served with avocado, roasted tomatoes, and a vibrant green sauce, or our whole red snapper with cilantro, chiles, and lime.” An additional main dish this edit staff can recommend with enthusiasm is the roasted sweet potato, onion, and kale fajitas, served with flour tortillas.
As far as bar offerings are concerned, Samuel offered a few additional distinctions.
“While you can get many of the same cocktails at each, especially our famous Brownstone Punch (also known as the Sister Rosetta),” he said, “the most popular in Fort Greene lean towards the spirit forward and austere like our Marietta, a Manhattan variation, and our crowd favorite negroni.”
415 Tompkins Avenue / 718.483.9111 87
South Elliott Place / 718.797.1011 /