Best Bites of the Bull City: Volume 2
This month’s “Best Bites” column features some of the favorite food and drinks of two very talented Durham chefs who are on the rise.
Ricky Moore is chef & owner (aka “Chief Rocka”) of the widely popular Saltbox Seafood Joint on N. Magnum Street. Moore is an Eastern NC native, originally from New Bern, who now resides in Chapel Hill and has been doing business in Durham for over four years. He recently announced exciting plans to open a second Saltbox Seafood location in the former Shrimp Boats location on Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.
When he’s not cooking up a storm, Moore enjoys spending time with his wife Norma, his daughter Hunter, and son Greyson. “They keep me balanced and inspired,” he adds.
Our next guest on the blog, Chef Micheal Lee, opened M Sushi just over a year ago and has already expanded his Bull City portfolio by opening Korean chicken restaurant M Kokko right next door.
Prior to his endeavors in Durham, Lee was the chef and partner at Sono Sushi in downtown Raleigh for eight years. He always wanted to see if a dedicated sushi/seafood restaurant could exist in the Triangle—one that allowed him to create a system with a narrowed down menu and very consistent quality at a very high level of execution. I think it’s safe to say it is succeeding. Lee continues to thrive in Durham with the goal of opening another three restaurant concepts within the year!
If you want to know what these chefs choose to eat when they’re not busy in their own kitchens, here’s where you can find them…
Breakfast or Brunch
Ricky Moore: I go for the the bacon, egg and cheese on toasted sourdough from Refectory Cafe.
Ricky Moore: For lunch, I go to Toast where I enjoy their spicy tuna, olivada, fennel and lemon panini.
Mike Lee: Lunch for me needs to be quick and simple, usually on or between two pieces of good carbs…Lucky’s Delicatessen and Toast are perfect for that.
Ricky Moore: My favorite dinner is the Caldo De Res, a long simmered beef rib and vegetable soup from El Chapin.
Ricky Moore: For dessert, it’s The Parlour where my favorite flavor is salted butter caramel custard.
Ricky Moore: Nothing beats the Al Mocha at Cocoa Cinnamon.
Mike Lee: Agrees, “I would like to ask Cocoa Cinnamon to open a store next to our place, please!”
Ricky Moore: For drinks, any classic cocktail at Alley Twenty-Six is guaranteed to be good.
Ricky Moore: Outdoor eating is the most fun during the Durham Food Truck Rodeo, which takes place quarterly at Durham Central Park. I enjoy whatever is available from all the great trucks in attendance.
Ricky Moore: When I want a twist on special sandwich I make a “Half & Half Roll” here at Saltbox – it’s a combination seafood sandwich dressed with all garnishes.
Mike Lee: My wife and I went to Nana’s for the first time for our anniversary and everything was way above our expectations (and our expectations were high). It was amazing food and impeccable service. There is a very good reason why Nana’s is considered a staple of Durham.
Bang for Your Buck
Ricky Moore: An affordable and delicious breakfast and lunch can be found at Loaf by getting any of their morning pastries or flatbreads for lunch.
Durham Restaurants to Try in 2017
Ricky Moore: This year, I’m looking forward to trying Mothers & Sons, Littler, NanaSteak and The Durham. I believe all of these establishments share a common philosophy about what it means and what it takes to put delicious food on the plate.
Mike Lee: I’m looking forward to trying NanaSteak. I love steak and people tell me it’s the best. I had amazing steak dish at Nana’s so I can just imagine what it will be like at a dedicated steak house. I also hear so many great things about Motto and its chef – when I hear compliments from multiple people about a restaurant in a single evening, I have to try it. Lastly, I want to get to Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas. I was able to steal one small bite from a friend’s take-out box and it was a very memorable and delicious bite.