As we near the end of the year, I like to take a look back and recap all that has transpired in the local food scene. Restaurants open and transform at such a rapid rate around here, it’s easy to forget just how much has changed. Each year, as I tally up the list, I’m reminded just how much of a food-focused city we live in, just take a look at the latest additions from 2017…
New Restaurants & Cafes
Two big names in the local food scene opened new restaurants this year: Phoebe Lawless of Scratch opened a modern upscale eatery in Lakewood, aptly titled “The Lakewood,” and Matt Kelly added to his Durham restaurant dynasty with the addition of Saint James, an elegant seafood spot on W. Main Street in the former Fishmonger’s space.
Also along W. Main Street is the addition Goorsha, a flavor-packed Ethiopian experience and match made in heaven for both vegetarians and meat eaters. A few doors down, Alivia’s Durham Bistro transformed into Maverick’s Smokehouse, serving several different styles of delicious Southern barbecue. And further down the road, you’ll find all your favorite Southern comforts at It’s a Southern Thing where new ownership took place of what was formerly Motto. There is also a new coffee shop in this area: Kaffeinate, which took the helm at the old Respite Cafe location.Over in the West End neighborhood, the owner of Nosh opened a cool modern diner called Grub with a fantastic rooftop.Off of Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, two food truck owners teamed up to revive the old Straw Valley spot and we’re really hoping Namu sticks around for the long haul because their causal Korean dishes are mouth-watering!
To satisfy your sweet tooth, you can now get fresh made donuts at Early Bird Donuts on Erwin Road, or Maple View Farms ice cream at Pinecone ice cream and cafe in Brightleaf Square. And over towards Ninth Street, Pincho Loco serves latin-style frozen treats like fresh fruit popsicles and mangonadas.
Ninth Street itself saw several amazing new additions, including the first poke bar in Durham, ZenFish; the first Pie Hole location in the U.S. outside of Los Angeles; and the first Jamba Juice in the Triangle. Just up the street, Del Rancho opened a new Mexican restaurant in the former Epa Chamo location.
Expansions & Additions
Phoebe Lawless not only opened a new restaurant this year, but she also opened a second Scratch location in the space adjacent to The Lakewood.
Just a across the street in the Lakewood neighborhood, Cocoa Cinnamon introduced its third and newest location. This one is particularly special because it has a strong community vibe, a coffee roastery on site and fresh made churros.
In mobile food news, Big C Waffles went brick & mortar and opened in The Dog House location on Allentown Drive, and The Farmery took their airstream trailer from RTP to Geer Street. (*Note: The Farmery has since closed and does not have plans to reopen.)Rose’s Meat Market & Sweet Shop took a short hiatus this summer to rework their space and go from a butchery/bakery to a restaurant/bakery where people can now enjoy Asian-inspired dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, along with impressive homemade treats for dessert.
Over on Ninth Street, Alpaca Peruvian Charcoal Chicken opened their newest location, offering another great alternative for fast-casual, local eats.
Bars & Breweries
Bull City Ciderworks‘ finally reopened inside their highly anticipated new and improved space on S. Roxboro.
The Accordion Club, a late night neighborhood bar, opened on W. Geer Street and is becoming known for its green chili strew and weekend breakfast burritos.
Pour Taproom, which hails from Asheville, now has a place on the plaza under Unscripted Hotel.Arcades are also making a comeback at the local bars. Beer Study and Starpoint Brewery opened a second spot in Durham last year (the first one is in Chapel Hill) and Quarter Horse Arcade & Bar offers a fun place to play in the old Kress building downtown.
To see Bites of Bull City’s ongoing list of restaurants in progress and recently opened, visit our Upcoming Eateries page.
Photos: Tommie Watson Photography