At the end of last year, I put together a recap of all the new restaurants, markets, bakeries and breweries to open in Durham; spoiler alert, it was a lot! Looking back now at 2016, there was no slowing down. Chefs shifted around, food trucks turned into storefronts, restaurant moguls opened sister properties, and foodies kept eating it up!
Here’s a recap of everything that transpired over the past year. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings to the Bull City!
One of my favorite 2016 restaurants to talk about is M Sushi on E. Chapel Hill Street in downtown Durham. With beautiful presentation, high quality ingredients, and creative dishes with balanced flavor, it’s the prefect sushi experience. Less than one year later, chef and owner, Micheal Lee, opened his second restaurant, M Kokko: a small outfit right next door, which has a simple menu centered around commonly enjoyed Korean dishes, including fried chicken and ramen.
Durham’s Five Points area on W. Main Steeet blossomed in 2016, thanks to Matt Kelly’s newest editions: an Italian restaurant called Mothers & Sons and a New York style deli called Lucky’s. I’m a big fan of the generous portions and house-cured and smoked meats in Lucky’s sandwiches.
Bull McCabe’s and Tan-Durham teamed up to open a London-style gastropub a few doors down. Spice up your usual restaurant routine by visiting Viceroy for Indian and British fusion, like beef wellington with a side of naan.
The owners of Nana’s gave Durham a steakhouse: NanaSteak, located at American Tobacco, which offers an upscale dining experience for DPAC theater-goers and date nights.
Pizzeria Toro owner, Gray Brooks, also added a new restaurant to his portfolio: Littler on E. Parrish Street, which has a very unique menu that has foodies talking.
Durham also seems to be the perfect spot for restaurants expansions, like Guasaca and Happy & Hale‘s second locations (both with original locations in Raleigh). One serves delicious Venezuelan arepas and the other, healthy bowls, salads, and smoothies in the Ninth Street district.
In food truck news, popular pizza truck Pie Pushers opened their brick & mortar restaurant above the Pinhook.
There’s a new Thai option off of NC-55, appropriately named Thai 55. Also towards Southwest Durham, is a new Neapolitan pizzeria and brewery called Treforni, and a new location on the map for City BBQ.
Up in North Durham, Picnic generated a lot of buzz for serving whole hog BBQ and other Southern delights with barbecue man Wyatt Dickson and chef Ben Adams.
There are plenty of new places to grab a cup of coffee and/or a breakfast treat. The Bagel Bar opened next to Bulldega Market at City Hall Plaza; Rise Biscuits & Donuts took over the former DaisyCakes spot of Foster Street; Cocoa Cinnamon opened its second location on Hillsborough Road and George’s Java opened a coffee house on Ninth Street; Royal Cheesecake & Varieties Bakery opened in Phoenix Square Shopping Center, and Carolina Glazed Donuts on South Miami Boulevard became one of my favorite hidden gems.
Motto, formerly known as Lucia, transformed and reopened this year, taking on culinary talent from recently closed restaurant FourSquare.
Beyu Caffe expanded and moved a couple doors down on W. Main Street into a larger space.
Counter Culture Coffee moved their headquarters and training facility to East Durham into a better and bigger facility that also offers coffee brewing 101 classes to the public.
When Hummingbird Bakery went out on Broad Street, Big Bundts Bakery moved in, providing fresh-baked goodies right across from Duke’s campus.
Of course, craft brewing didn’t slow down in Durham in 2016. There was the opening of Clouds Brewing in Brightleaf Square; Durty Bull on Broadway Street; Hope Valley Brewing Co. at the former City Beverage location, and The Bullpen’s opening at American Tobacco, serving Bull Durham Beer.
Downtown shopping got easier with the addition of Bulldega, an urban market across from City Hall, and Bull City Olive Oil, an olive oil and specialty grocer in Brightleaf Square – a great place to go for shopping local.
To see Bites of Bull City’s ongoing list of restaurants in progress and recently opened, visit our Upcoming Eateries page.
To see how this year compares to last, take a look at the 2015 year end review.
Photos: Tommie Watson Photography