Fairfield County is full of trailblazing women, particularly in the culinary world. Which is why, with 2018 being proclaimed the Year of the Woman, we felt compelled to honor the pioneers among us.
Our new series, “It’s A Woman’s World’ is devoted to Fairfield County female influencers who’ve forged their own paths, often in food-related fields long dominated by men.
Whether farming the land, bringing healthy food to the masses, feeding an entrepreneurial spirit or injecting feminism with food, these groundbreaking ladies have set a new definition of women’s work, creating new paths and setting examples for those who follow.
How'd they do it? Read on. This week, we feature Greer Fredericks, Owner of Peaches in Norwalk. Stay tuned to see who’s next. And feel free to send suggestions for your candidates to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greer Fredericks, Owner, Peaches, Norwalk
Why She’s A Pioneer: She’s been in the business 30- plus years, paving the way as a female restaurateur and marrying her love of music along the way. The former back-up singer for the Drifters, who also worked The Rolling Stones “Steel Wheels” tour and managed a host of celebrity acts (think Carly Simons, Jessica Simpson, Wyclef Jean and Prince, among others), started her culinary pilgrimage washing dishes at a diner when she was 13 which later morphed into bartending and waitressing. In between, she moved in and out of the music business. “When I’d get burnt out with one, I’d move on to the other,” explains the Norwalk resident. “I’ve always had a love affair with both and volleyed between the two.”
Fredericks credits a mentorship in 1998 with Jennie Emil, the director of sales and catering at Windows on the World along with a “crazy work ethic” for launching her restaurant career to new heights. After four years at Beacon (the group that owned Windows), she became Manager and Event Coordinator at Grand Restaurant & Lounge in Stamford where she helped the restaurant increase traffic and exceed sales goals. From there it was onto Managing Partner at North Star Restaurant in Pound Ridge, N.Y. before returning to Connecticut in 2013 to co-own and manage Mama’s Boy Southern Table & Refuge and, later, Jax & Co Low Country Kitchen, two award-winning South Norwalk restaurants.
In 2015, she opened Peaches Southern Pub & Juke Joint designed to remind you of porch swings, sweet tea, long conversations, Southern hospitality and a little sass, where she’s once again rocking her love of music and food. Among the guest stars who’ve played (and often had dinner) at this South Norwalk bar/eatery: Gavin DeGraw, Ted Nugent and some of the musicians from The Allman Bros, Luther Vandross and Johnny Winters bands. And yes, if you’re lucky, there are rare occasions where, after seating your table, you may find Fredericks up on the stage singing her heart out.
On Being a Woman in a “Man’s World:” As someone who considers herself a bit on the alpha side, Fredericks says she’s been able to hold her own through different – and difficult -- scenarios. “What you see is what you get,” she says, crediting her “just the facts” directness -- along with the long hours she is known to put in -- to her success. Being female (or male) never made a difference: “My ethics and morals are in check and I practice trying to be the person I needed to be when I was working my way up the career chain,” she says.
What’s Next: Continuing to build on Peaches’ success. “There’s so much room to grow with events and parties,” she says. “This whole neighborhood is up and coming and we have the opportunity to become one of the neighborhood go-to spots."
It's A Woman's World Archive: