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Third Place: Le Peep
January 27, 2023
When reminiscing upon my childhood in Evanston, few things bring back as many happy memories as the bright lights and warm smiles of Le Peep. Years later, I can still remember the Sunday brunches I spent perched by the restaurant’s large, open-glass windows, waving to pedestrians passing by. I would chug down glass after glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice—usually leaving me with a mustache of orangey goodness. Once I had licked the residue off of the top of my lip, my attention would soon turn to the plate in front of me: some form of pancakes, usually with a side of potatoes. I never once left Le Peep unhappy, even after waiting in a line spanning outside of the popular spot’s doors; it was a staple of my youth.
Now, a junior in high school, the joy that had defined Le Peep for me as a child remains heavily ingrained in the building’s walls. As people of all different ages and backgrounds gather at clustered tables, connections are built, memories are made and most importantly, bellies are filled.
“In middle school, I used to go to Le Peep once a week after swim practice with a friend. It would be about seven in the morning, [and] we’d both be exhausted, but I never felt that way when we left. It’s the perfect brunch spot, and everything about the place is happy,” junior Chloe Wagner reflects. “For me, my love for Le Peep is less about the food, and more about the ambiance and kind people, though the food is delicious. They seriously have the best pancakes in Evanston.”
Although Evanston is home to just one of the dozens of Le Peeps across the nation, it could be argued that the Church St. Location is distinct in its ability to bring people together. Whether a regular bruncher or first-time customer, nearly every patron of Le Peep looks back at their experience with fond memories of gleeful chatter and mouth-watering cuisine.
One of those regulars, ETHS sophomore Georgia Balasis, has been dining at Le Peep for as long as she can remember.
“Before COVID hit, me and my mom went there for breakfast almost every Sunday. I would order chocolate chip pancakes every time, but their omelets are also really good. It was like our own special spot,” Balasis says. “When restaurants were closed and everything, we ordered takeout a few times I think, [but] it wasn’t the same. We didn’t get to do this thing we always did where we clink our coffee cups by the window or drink a whole liter of orange juice. It wasn’t the same Le Peep.”
In addition to the student-favorite pancakes, Le Peep offers everything else you could dream of from a breakfast place—omelets, skillets, crepes, waffles, oatmeal, sandwiches, eggs benedict, french toast and more. Many ETHS students have also relished in the delights of Le Peep at a place they least expect it: Wildkit Academy. Twice a month on Saturday, before students are met with stacks of assignments and peer support in the hub, teenagers funnel into west cafeteria for a taste of Le Peep’s signature pancakes and golden-brown potatoes.
“I only go to session one of Wildkit academy so that I can get the Le Peep food. Otherwise, I would sleep in and wait until session two,” Balasis concludes. “Those pancakes are the only thing worth waking up at 7 a.m. on a Saturday for.”