By Dave Faries
Editor 

Restaurant Review: Peyton's Island Time

No Longer On Island Time

 

Courtney Hunsaker

Kitchen staff prepare and plate Peyton's standout burgers.

A very brief and unfortunately illustrative era comes to an end on April 11, when downtown Kimball’s best sit down restaurant locks its doors.

Yes--Peyton’s Island Time is waiving goodbye.

Obviously competition has been limited since The Longhorn’s sorry saga came to an end. But Peyton’s offers local diners something unavailable elsewhere, even when the market was a little more “crowded:” scaled up burgers, creative sides and—occasionally—a selection of quiches.

On good nights, the bacon avocado burger is something to behold. Yes, it deserves a thicker, smokier line of cured pork to contend with the glistening patty. But the strips at least add texture and a familiar, fatty streak. The avocado picks up on this, contributing a lush mouthfeel and inscrutable background flavor.

When grilled to the peak that Peyton’s small kitchen allows, the burger itself weighs into this with a swarthy savor and bittersweet veneer charred into the meat from the cook top.

Certainly urban restaurants with larger budgets and a stock of artisanal ingredients turn out much more intriguing examples. Peyton’s burger, however, soars above local options—both present and recently past.

The fried pickles soften the tart snap of each spear with a malty shell. Their famous gorgonzola fries gained a love-hate following, depending upon whether or not one could fathom the sharp, soapy mass over the sodden potatoes and forgive the sloppy presentation.


I fall somewhere in the favorable crowd.

Breakfast at Peyton’s is basic. Eggs of moderate quality prepared to a nice over easy, oozing golden yolk into hash browns that could use a bit more crunch. French toast with a warm color and eggy foundation craving more spice—and, frankly, benefitting from butter and syrup.

Yeah, yeah—not perfect. Staffing issues and common ingredients always cut into the restaurant’s potential. Compared to The Longhorn, however, Peyton’s kitchen paced miles ahead…which is why its inability to draw the same level of affection seems odd.

Peyton’s small menu offers just enough creativity to set it apart. And the bright, island-hued interior was (and still is) a welcome break from duct tape patching and what seemed like whiffs of mold from somewhere inside the town’s old standby. Still, people continued to hang at The Longhorn until it closed the first time.

To be clear: in this discussion I’ve decided to exclude national chains and the very good coffeehouse-slash-sandwich and pizza joint, Java Blend.

Anyway, the question still stands: why must downtown’s best follow in the footsteps of its lesser counterpart?

A lack of visible signage plays a role, yet the place earned a solid following and operates in the black.

My best guess: the owners failed to anticipate the time necessary to run a restaurant and the headaches that result.

 
 

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