When searching for a new brunch restaurant, there are three things I typically consider — food, aesthetics and wait times (the Gainesville Brunch scene is incredibly busy). What I didn't usually consider was if it was a local gem or a commercialized chain. My brunch roster consisted of trendy places like afternoon, Flying Biscuit Café, and Keke's Breakfast Cafe. However, once I tried Pit & Peel, I knew it was time to expand my roster. 

The Beginning

Juliana Morcos

How difficult is it to enter a market as saturated as the Gainesville brunch scene? I spoke to Dylan Sobien, Pit & Peel's co-founder and head chef to learn about the restaurant's beginning. 

Dylan Sobien and Ohm, the other co-founder of Pit & Peel, noticed how trendy avocados were becoming and spotted some avocado-themed restaurants popping up around Europe. However, with both Sobien and Ohm having extensive culinary experience, they were not satisfied with simple avocado dishes. 

"We wanted to create avocado-based dishes beyond just mashed avocado," said Sobien. Pit & Peel's menu is quite complex, with avocados being incorporated in almost everything like batters, ice cream, salads, toasts and much more. While developing the recipes, Sobien and Ohm were excited to experiment with many different cultural influences. Many of the recipes have Italian and French influence, but most are an amalgamation of many different cultures and regions, like the incredibly popular shakshuka. Accordion to Sobien, shakshuka varies tremendously by region, so he took aspects from many different places to create one of Pit & Peel's biggest hits.

Juliana Morcos

Sobien and Ohm did not want to create just another trendy, picture-perfect brunch place — they wanted to make a difference in their community. Sobien noted that Gainesville is becoming more commercialized by the day, and smaller, local restaurants are having a hard time competing. One of Pit & Peel's biggest challenges was changing with Gainesville as it rapidly expands and develops. 

"We want to remain part of the local community and leave a mark on all of Gainesville," said Sobien when asked what Pit & Peel prioritizes in their day-to-day. After visiting and trying their food, I can confidently say they are doing just that.

The Ambiance

Juliana Morcos

Upon Walking into Pit & Peel, I was greeted with the warm, buttery scent of bread toasting on the griddle. The cozy interior of the restaurant was bright with natural lighting and warm with wooden accent walls and seating. The beautiful, rich wooden tones were contrasted with vibrant pops of green and pink.

Juliana Morcos

The outdoor seating was bright, open, and breezy with a beautiful brick backdrop. The seating consisted of long wooden benches and tables, and a comfy cushioned cove under a Bohemian-looking bamboo structure. To combat the heat, there was plenty of shade with fans keeping us cool and free iced lemon water. 

The Food

Juliana Morcos

Shortly after sitting down, gorgeous plates of colorful food were brought to our table. Pictured above are the Egg Toast, Falafel Toast, Eggs Benedict and T.A.B.L.E Sando. As soon as the plates were set down, the mouthwatering, rich, earthy truffle scent from the Egg Toast filled the air.

Ashley Linares

When I first read the menu, I was slightly concerned that there were no vegan options. However, most of the dishes are easily made vegan and they were very accommodating. I ordered the Falafel Toast with no Tzatziki sauce and was shocked at how beautiful it was. The thick sourdough toast was the perfect crispy base to hold a myriad of delicious toppings. The beet hummus was smooth, creamy and slightly earthy and paired perfectly with the mild, fatty avocado slices on top. Crispy, herby, savory falafel crumbles provided a crunchy texture on top of the other soft ingredients. Finally, the sprouts and lemon provided a delicate freshness that tied the whole dish together. 

We completely cleaned our plates and drained our cups of the refreshing lemon water. We also tried the iced coffee and Iced Tea Thyme Lemonade, both of which were light and sweet. The thyme cut the sweet lemony drink with an earthy aroma.

My Brunch Roster Expands

Overall, Pit & Peel is an incredible restaurant with elevated avocado-based dishes. The restaurant is cozy and warm, with friendly staff and comfy seating. The food is outstanding and beautiful, but what stood out most was the friendly people and intricate menu. We were treated with kindness and can see what Sobien meant about making an impact on the community. I cannot wait to come back and try more of their spectacular food.