Comfort Food: Eurekan loves to cook, wants to give back

Comfort Food: Eurekan loves to cook, wants to give back
BECCA MARTIN-BROWN
bmartin@nwadg.com

Two years ago, remembers Peggy Hill, she told her husband, Lakota Sioux flutist John Two-Hawks, that she was done touring with him.

“I wanted to be in Eureka Springs, and I wanted to be giving back to Eureka Springs,” she says. “I wanted to be home.”

Peggy Hill brings the “generosity, laughter and inclusion” of her mother’s kitchen to her tiny new eatery, Three Sisters Cafe, at 3 Dogwood Ridge off U.S. 62 in Eureka Springs. (Courtesy Photo)

Of course, Hill didn’t know that meant being quarantined by covid concerns for two years. But when it was time to re-emerge, she did it the same way she and Two-Hawks do everything — with joy, intention and in partnership with Mother Earth. The result is Three Sisters Cafe, which opened April 1 at 3 Dogwood Ridge off U.S. 62.

“I was tired of watching ‘The Price Is Right,’ and I love to cook,” Hill explains her inspiration. “Then I was offered the perfect little spot inside 5,000 square feet of boutique art, jewelry and antiques. We seat 20 people at the most — we’re really set up for 10 — and it’s not like I have to make a whole bunch of money. I just have to pay my rent and my costs. This is my retirement plan!”

Self-described as a child of the 1960s who loves food, music and social activism, Hill grew up in South Bend, Ind., with two brothers and two sisters, she explained in her 2020 book, “Give Peas a Chance: Recipes, Nostalgia & Songs of the ’60s.”

“Most of the stories in the book are related to my mom and her kitchen,” she says. “I am truly shaped by what she taught me in her kitchen about generosity, laughter and inclusion. Love flowed in abundance from my mom’s kitchen.”

On the menu at Three Sisters Cafe are homemade comfort food like chicken salad served on a croissant and decadent desserts like bread pudding. (Courtesy Photo)

Hill wanted to carry those tenets over into Three Sisters Cafe, she explains on her website.

“Corn, beans and squash are often referred to as the three sisters. They are a gift from Creator for sustenance and for teaching. In the traditional three sisters garden the three depend on and need each other. The corn stalk comes out of the ground first and grows straight and tall so its little sister, the beans, will have a place to wrap around and grow. Not to be outdone, the littlest sister, squash, brings much needed nutrients to her bigger sisters as she playfully spreads her magic deep in the soil.

“I too am one of three sisters,” she continues.

“There was Christine, who left for her heavenly home in 2021. She paved the way as elder and teacher to her two younger sisters. Then came Suzanne, the middle sister who shared the playground of life with me; always responsible and true, shading me from life’s harsh moments. And I, Peggy, the baby sister, forever dancing through life, bringing joy and folly to my older sisters.

“With Three Sisters Cafe, I honor Mother Earth and her gardens of wonder, and I honor family, love, sisterhood and friendship.”

The Three Sisters’ menu also honors the Ozarks tradition of comfort food, featuring turkey, roast beef and Swiss cheese, ham and cheese, Italian and veggie paninis; chicken salad served on a croissant; corn casserole; three-bean salad; zucchini bread; chips and salsa; and a dessert menu that includes bread pudding, a tin roof sundae and a root beer float.

Three Sisters Cafe is located inside a 5,000-square-foot shop featuring art, antiques and jewelry. (Courtesy Photo)

Hill says she’s relying on local bakers and sourcing “everything I can” locally.

“I want to support women, and I want to support Eureka Springs,” she says.

Hill says watch for a “big event” the weekend of May 20 in support of the return of the White Street Walk.

Hours at Three Sisters Cafe are 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday through Monday. More information is available at 253-1732; threesistersgardencafe.com; or facebook.com/threesisterscafeshop.

Has a restaurant recently opened or closed near you? Does your favorite spot have a new menu? Let us know. Email our restaurant writer Garrett Moore at gmoore@nwaonline.com.

Categories: Food