Peg's Place in Hamburg packs in the crowds
Feb 08, 2013 (The Buffalo News - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
As we walked up to the door of Peg's Place on a recent Sunday morning, it looked as though everybody from Hamburg and the vicinity had decided to go there for breakfast. The area right inside the door was packed with people and a server was changing the sign from "Please wait to be seated" to "Please register."
Standing by the front door, between the dining room and the long, meandering counter that cofirmed the building's early years as a Howard Johnson's, John, Pat, John and I got a chance to scan the nautical decor. A life ring behind the main counter is stenciled "Welcome Aboard," and a glass case filled with sailing and shipping items divides the dining room. Near the door is an ornate handwritten menu from a Thanksgiving dinner served on a lake freighter in 1975.
We had just pointed out the interesting spelling of "broccoli" on the Thanksgiving menu when a server summoned a party of 10. That explained the crunch at the door. At that point, there were just two other groups in front of us, and soon we were being seated. We did notice small groups congregated at the door, waiting for tables, the whole time we were there, but it didn't seem as though anybody's wait was too long.
The place was packed with groups and families, and we saw several warm greetings between customers and the fast-moving servers. Speaking of servers, there must have been 10 of them bustling around during the morning rush. Two of us ordered coffee and were offered refills a good half-dozen times. Good work!
The tea-drinker in the group was impressed with the hot tea preparation because the water served in the small metal pot was steaming hot. It's not the boiling water you would use at home, but it's the best we've seen in a restaurant.
The large menu is extremely varied, with pages devoted to almost everything you could imagine, including various breakfast combinations. Omelettes ranged from the spinach and cheese ($6.19) to a carnivore's dream, the meat lover's omelette, made with sausage, ham, bacon and cheese ($7.49). There are burgers, sandwiches, pitas, calzones, wings and wraps (all under $10, most well under), a fish fry ($9.59), shrimp dinner ($9.99) and more than a half-dozen other dinners, the most expensive of them a chicken parm dinner served over spaghetti ($8.99). The kitchen also turns out specials, which on the day we visited included a pot roast dinner ($8.99) and an open prime rib sandwich with potato ($8.95).
We started with two cups of soup, one included with a sandwich special ($5.75) and the other a la carte ($2.19). Served in small cups, the soups were brimming with meat and vegetables. The beef vegetable soup contained a wide variety of chopped vegetables in a delicious broth, while the chicken noodle was packed with chicken and small noodles. They were a great start to our meal.
The sandwich special ($5.75) was a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, which was nicely made, from the high-quality sliced ham and melted cheese to the warm grilled bread.
The No. 9 breakfast ($6.99) offered a good helping of corned beef hash, two eggs, home fries and toast. It was a hit, with the eggs cooked perfectly and the hash left on the grill long enough to form slightly crisp, delicious edges.
The western omelette breakfast ($6.49, 50 cents more to add cheese) was marked in red as a "Peg's Choice," and we were glad we made it our choice, too. Filled with diced ham, onions and green peppers, the omelette was tasty, and the home fries were hot and good. Our only quibble, with both this and the No. 9 breakfast, was that the toast arrived cold.
The Belgian waffle (plain $4.19, served with strawberries or blueberries and whipped cream for $5.99) was a thing of beauty, literally -- it resembled its glamour shot in the menu down to the last peak of whipped cream. It was also delicious, cooked to perfection, with a slight crispiness and a steamy interior. The strawberries were bright red and juicy, certainly not fresh but packed with flavor anyway.
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