Rise and shine, Columbia, South Carolina — Peace of Soul Vegan Kitchen now offers vegan breakfast Wednesday through Saturday. That means servings of gluten-free French toast sticks, a vegan breakfast platter, organic grits, and plenty of good coffee before heading to work.
While the pandemic shifted a lot of restaurants from dining room to takeout only, for Folami Geter, the owner of Peace of Soul Vegan Kitchen on Main Street, the shift was permanent. Takeout-only and contactless ordering made sense for efficiency for the family business and also kept cars from overflowing out of the small parking lot. And while she asserts that she was making it work without dine-in, she says, “We definitely saw a decrease in customers”
So she began considering, as many restaurateurs have during these past few years, another shift of her business model, a way to maximize the time she was open and scale back the days open to give her time to book her popular food truck for events.
“I didn’t think that hard about it once I thought about breakfast. I was raised vegetarian — been so all my life — and I’ve never been able to find vegan breakfast here.” Geter says, “So I just went for it. The food I cook here is the food I’ve been eating all my life, so I added breakfast into that mix.”
Like many vegan spots, Peace of Soul includes a lot of meatless copycats of popular proteins, and so far, the most popular menu item is the breakfast platter, which comes with pancakes or waffles and a choice of “sausage” or “eggs.” The gluten-free French toast sticks have been a hit too, but that’s possible because customers have yet to find her “chicken biscuit,” a breakfast version of the deep-fried seitan served on a pretzel bun that keeps the lunch customers coming back again and again.
Geter purchased the restaurant from her father in 2014, revamped the menu, and renamed it — it was formerly known as Lamb’s Bread Vegan Cafe — but she has continued to keep it a family affair, with her son Jahi Pusha often behind the counter, cousin Cynthia who bakes all the biscuits and cakes, and her nieces, Asog, Qlm Swnd, and Otini helping smooth back of house operations. The restaurant sits at the intersection of Cottontown, Elmwood Park, and Earlewood neighborhoods, and its location, along with its positive vibe, has made it an anchor for this revitalizing sector of the South Carolina capitol.
Once primarily a lunch spot, Peace of Soul’s new breakfast service not only offers the community something new but has also invited new diners to get to know Geter’s eatery. “At breakfast, about 30 percent of our customers are those regulars who know us, but the rest are neighborhood folks headed out to work or maybe coming off of third shift and headed home. It’s been really great for us thus far,” she says.