Official visitor information site for Durham, NC

Celebrated Cuisine

Durham Celebrated Cuisine

Durham Celebrated Cuisine Durham's most widely acclaimed chefs and eateries - regionally or nationally reviewed, not part of a chain, and independently-owned. Noted for unique regional cuisine or a custom menu designed by a Durham chef.

Fine Dining

Blu Seafood and Bar

2002 Hillsborough Rd, Ninth Street District, Durham, NC 27705

"Three-time winner of the best seafood restaurant award from Durham Magazine and three-time winner of the same award from the News & Observer, Blu Seafood and Bar serves responsibly sourced seafood. Selections include an oyster menu, Carolina mountain trout, and mariscada, a traditional Cuban stew. Blu also has specialty cocktails and nightly and weekly specials." M-F, 11am-2pm, M-Th, 5pm-10pm, F-Sa, 5pm-10pm; Closed on Sunday.
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Fairview Dining Room

3001 Cameron Blvd, Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club, Durham, NC 27705

The Fairview Dining Room is a restaurant located on Duke University's campus in an inn that's modeled after old English country inns. Executive chef Jason Cunningham uses locally grown foods to create seasonally inspired contemporary cuisine that can be paired with a wine from Fairview's extensive wine list. The restaurant is highly acclaimed. It is one of only two restaurants in North Carolina to garner both the AAA Four Diamond and Forbes Travel Four-Star awards. It has also received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. M-Su, 7am-10pm.
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Four Square Restaurant

2701 Chapel Hill Rd, Durham, NC 27707

Bon Appétit calls Four Square "exciting" and remarks, "the plates going back to the kitchen were licked clean." Owned and operated by executive chef Shane Ingram and his wife, former pastry chef Elizabeth Woodhouse, this restaurant changes its menu every other month so it reflects the season and the goods available from local farms. Chef Ingram then lets those ingredients speak for themselves. The restaurant is housed in the historic Bartlett Mangum House, built in 1908. Diners can enjoy their food in front of the original coal-burning fireplaces still installed in each room, or on the house's wraparound porch. M-Sa, 5:30pm-9:30pm.
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Guglhupf Café & Restaurant

2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, NC 27707

Featured on Cooking Light and the Food Network, Guglhupf is an innovative restaurant with seasonal. German-inspired specialties made from fresh, local ingredients. The attached bakery provides house-made desserts like fruit tartlets and cakes, and Guglhupf also has a selection of wines from small vineyards and specialty beers. The New York Times recommends heading to this architecturally striking cafe for the "brunch menu [that] runs from bircher museli and grilled Nutella sandwiches to pan-fried schnitzel with salad." Tu-F, 8am-9:30pm; Sa, 8:30am-10pm; Su, 9am-3pm.
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Mateo Bar de Tapas

107 W Chapel Hill St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

Opened by chef Matthew Kelly, who is also the executive chef at French bistro Vin Rouge, Mateo Bar de Tapas is a James Beard-nominated restaurant that blends Spanish flavors with traditional Southern ingredients and dishes into a rotating menu of small-plate meals. Tasting Table especially enjoyed the Ibérico pork mingled with country ham and clams tossed in sherry and boiled peanuts. Mateo also has an extensive wine list and one of the largest sherry offerings in the country. Tu-F, 11am-2:30pm; Tu-Th, 5pm-10:30pm; F-Sa, 5pm-12am; Su, 5pm-9:30pm
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Nana's Restaurant

2514 University Dr, Rockwood Bldg, Durham, NC 27707

Run by chef-owner Scott Howell, who Food & Wine describes as "a man of formidable talent," Nana's is a fine-dining restaurant that serves innovative Southern cuisine with strong Italian and French influences. Their menu rotates weekly, and Howell's skills, their local ingredients, and a wine list that garnered an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine have all made Nana's one of Durham's best known restaurants. M-Sa, 5pm-10pm.
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Parizade

2200 W Main St, Erwin Square, Ninth Street District, Durham, NC 27705

"The doors open into a fantasy world; the menu whirls you through the Mediterranean. The ebullient atmosphere reflects the personality of longtime Durham restaurateur Giorgios Bakatsias." That's what Southern Living says about Parizade, a restaurant that's been serving Mediterranean dishes in Durham for 21 years. Offerings include gnocchi, seafood, and pasta that are sourced as fresh and as locally as possible and which are served in Parizade's expansive dining room, marked by hammered copper trimming and an open kitchen. M-F, 11:30am-2pm; M-Th, 5:30pm-9:30pm; F-Sa, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Su,5:30pm-9pm.
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Piedmont Restaurant

401 Foster St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

Piedmont takes its inspiration from the farm-grown foods and produce of the local culture - the name refers to the North Carolina Piedmont region. Two of the managing partners also own a farm that supplies the restaurant, and chef Ben Adams hopes to recreate classic dishes with modern techniques. The result has been acclaimed by many: Condé Nast Traveler listed Piedmont on its Hot List of the world's newest, hottest, sexiest restaurants, calling the eatery's rustic Italian and French influences "...an appealing combination of farm-fresh earnestness and contemporary style." W-M, 5:30pm-10pm; Sa-Su Brunch, 10:30am-2:30 pm.
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Pop's

605 W Main St, Brightleaf District, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

Located downtown in the Warehouse District, Pop's is an Italian trattoria that offers northern Italian cuisine, much of it prepared in their wood-fired oven. The restaurant is housed in a converted warehouse whose high ceilings and open kitchen set the ambiance. Pop's is a longstanding member of the Durham food scene. It was recognized by USA Today within weeks of its opening and was once the employer of Food Network star Alton Brown, who was a line chef at Pop's in the 90s. Daily, 5:30pm-until?
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Revolution

107 W Main St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

Written up by The New York Times, Revolution is a restaurant serving seasonal contemporary global cuisine in Downtown Durham. Chef Jim Anise's menu features both small plates and entrée-sized portions, and he also offers a special tasting menu, allowing diners to create their own dining experience. Revolution also has a bar which boasts a wine list with 50 options under $50 and an assortment of cocktails, all in the middle of the restaurant's ultra-modern dining room. M-Th, 5pm-12am; F-Sa, 5pm-2am; Su-closed.
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Rue Cler Restaurant & Bakery

401 E Chapel Hill St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

Rue Cler is a Parisian-style restaurant and bakery in Downtown Durham that aims to recreate the feeling of a Parisian neighborhood restaurant. They offer classic bistro cuisine for brunch, lunch, and dinner, including steak frites, coq au vin, and crepes. Food & Wine praised their beignets, which they sell by the dozen and the half dozen. Rue Cler also offers an extensive wine list sourced from wine-makers that owners John and Nathan Vandergrift know personally. They also have a full bar. See website for hours.
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Tonali

3642 Shannon Rd, Ste 1, Durham, NC 27707

Formerly a sous chef at Durham's acclaimed Four Square, Tonali's head chef Andre Macias leads the way in combining Mexican flavors with local, seasonal ingredients. The menu changes weekly, but according to Food & Wine, "expertly executed Mexican staples and modest prices ensure a packed house on most nights." Tu-F, 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-9pm; Sa, 11:30am-2pm, 5:30pm-10pm.
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Vin Rouge

2010 Hillsborough Rd, Ninth Street District, Durham, NC 27705

Winner of a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence, Vin Rouge has received praise from USA Today, the Boston Globe, and The Wall Street Journal for its extensive wine list and the food you can enjoy along with it. An "excellent French bistro," according to The New York Times, Vin Rouge specializes in fruits de mer – fresh seafood like oysters, clams, crab, and lobster served on trays of ice – and also offers entrees like trout in a brown-butter almond sauce. Tu-Th, 5:30pm-10pm; F-Sa, 5:30pm-11pm; Su, 10:30am-2pm and 5:30pm-9pm.
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Watts Grocery

1116 Broad St, Ninth Street District, Durham, NC 27705

Named after the old Watts St. Grocery that chef Amy Tornquist patronized as a child growing up in Durham, Watts Grocery is a restaurant serving dishes inspired by and sourced from the local area. Bon Appétit wrote that Tornquist is "known for her distinctive North Carolina-style cuisine; she makes her own bourbon-laced pimento cheese at Durham’s hottest restaurant." Other options include bourbon-brined pork loin and pepper jelly-glazed duck breast. Tu-F, 11am-2:30pm; Sa-Su, 11am-2:30pm; Tu-Su, 5:30pm-12am.
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Casual Dining: Counter Service

Backyard BBQ Pit

5122 NC Hwy 55, I-40 Exit 278, Durham, NC 27713

The Travel Channel's Man v. Food hails the open pit-smoked chicken and other Southern classics, but "it’s the succulent pulled-pork barbecue that really makes this family-run restaurant a hungry man’s haven." The barbecue is cooked over hickory and oak wood so the flavors seep into the meat and the smells fill the restaurant. Sides include macaroni and cheese, collard greens, black-eyed peas, and other staples. M-W, 11am-3pm; Th-Sa, 11am-6pm.
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Bull City Burger and Brewery

107 E Parrish St, Ste 105, Durham, NC 27701

According to Southern Living, "Bull City takes its locally sourced agenda seriously." Almost everything served in the restaurant is made here and comes from within a 75-mile radius. The beef is pasture raised with no added hormones or antibiotics. The brewery portion of Bull City Burger and Brewery also takes place on the premises: the brew tanks are visible from the dining room, and eight of the resulting beers are available on tap, rotating seasonally. Play area available for kids. M-Th, 11:11am-10pm; F-Sa, 11:11am-11pm; Su, 11:11 to 8pm.
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Daisy Cakes

401A Foster St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

"What's not to love" about Daisy Cakes, asked Garden & Gun. It began selling cupcakes and other sweets from a silver Airstream trailer named Sugar. Now it's a "cheery sweet and savory café" that the Boston Globe loved when they visited. Daisy Cakes has expanded to serve coffee, breakfast (with dishes like carnitas breakfast hash and curried tofu scrambles), and lunch (a variety of sandwiches and salads) – all in addition to the cakes, cupcakes, and pastries they still sell, of course. T-F, 7:30am-4pm; Sa 8am-3pm; Su, 9am-1pm.
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Foster's Market

2694 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd & Mobile truck see website for location, Durham, NC 27707

According to Country Home, "owner of the beloved Foster's Market Sara Foster has built a reputation with her special brand of homey, delicious food." That brand found its origins when Foster honed her skills as a caterer and chef for Martha Stewart. The results can be seen at Foster's, a market and cafe that serves scratch-made soups, salads, sandwiches, and casseroles. They also offer coffee and baked goods that patrons enjoy in their casual atmosphere. M-Su, 7:30am-8pm.
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Hog Heaven Bar-B-Q

2419 Guess Rd, Durham, NC 27705

Working from traditional recipes in the North Carolina, hand-chopped style, Hog Heaven creates authentic barbecue that they cover with their signature Lexington-style sauce. They also offer ribs, fried chicken, and other home-style favorites. It's a menu that's garnered Hog Heaven plenty of praise, both in local awards and regional write ups. Our State says that their chicken and dumplings have "the right texture on the tongue." You can dine in, eat out, or have Hog Heaven cater for you to get a taste. M-Sa, 11am-8pm.
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Jamaica Jamaica

4853 NC Hwy 55,Triangle Square Shopping Ctr, I-40 Exit 278, Durham, NC 27713

Jerk fish, jerk chicken, rice and beans, yellow plantains: those are the kind of authentic Jamaican dishes you'll find at Jamaica Jamaica, a casual lunch spot tucked away along Highway 55. Their Caribbean cuisine has attracted many fans, including Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine, who called Jamaica Jamaica a "rhythmic and savory restaurant." M-Sa, 11am-9:30pm.
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King's Sandwich Shop

701 Foster St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

King's Sandwich shop is "a 'Happy Days' flashback with modern touches," according to the Boston Globe. It's been open since 1942, serving staples like hot dogs, burgers, fries, and shakes from its walk-up window, located right across from the Historic Durham Athletic Park. Burgers are served with King's special King sauce, and there are also veggie dogs and burgers and pulled pork. King's is open for lunch, which you can eat at their picnic tables. M-Sa, 11am-4pm.
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Loaf

111 W Parrish St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

According to The New York Times, when you're looking for breakfast in Durham, "try a hearth-baked loaf from Loaf, a stall so popular that it opened a nearby bakery in 2011." Beginning as a vendor at the Durham Farmers' Market, Loaf now has a store to itself as well where it sells rustic breads and pastries, including country ham and cheese biscuits and chocolate croissants, and flatbreads for lunch, all baked in the brick oven on the premises. Tu-F, 7am-6pm; Sa 8am-4pm
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Mad Hatter Bakeshop and Cafe

1802 W Main St, Ninth Street District, Durham, NC 27705

The Mad Hatter serves fresh, homemade cuisine made from local, organic ingredients. Their café offerings include an all-day breakfast menu, sandwiches, salads, and specialties like fish tacos. On the bakery side of things, they serve an array of sweets, including cakes, cupcakes, and pastries. It's enough that Visit South complimented Mad Hatter for their "delicious lunch" and their "festive atmosphere." They also offer a full coffee bar. M-Sa, 7am-9pm; Su, 8am-3pm.
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Parker and Otis

112 S Duke St, Peabody Place, Brightleaf District, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

This Brightleaf District favorite is a restaurant and gift shop that offers breakfast and lunch, specialty foods, cheese, wine, candy, housewares, children's toys and games, cards, and more. It's enough that Southern Living described it as an "all-round cool place to hang and be seen." The food has also received its own praise. Bon Appétit featured Parker and Otis's pimento cheese dip recipe, saying, "this spread makes one heck of a sandwich." M-Th, 7:30am-7pm; F, 7:30am-8pm, Sa, 7:30am-7pm, Su, 10am-3pm.
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Rise

8200 Renaissance Pkwy, Renaissance Village, I-40 Exit 276, Durham, NC 27713

Located near the Streets at Southpoint, Rise has made a name for itself with unique and flavorful biscuits and donuts. Their offerings change daily, but include both savory and sweet, from fried chicken biscuits to maple bacon bars to Cheerwine-flavored donuts. Rise has made such an impression that Food & Wine included the restaurant on a list of the best biscuits in the US. Tasting Table is also a fan, saying that they preferred a simple glazed donut and that "a chocolate-mousse version...is a worthy indulgence." Play area available for kids.
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Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop

121 N Gregson St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

Esquire Editor Josh Ozersky called the apple tart at Rose's Meat Market and Sweet Shop "astonishing" and said it was the "high point" of his trip to North Carolina. Husband and wife team Justin and Katie Meddis run this combination butcher and pastry shop, which serves local and sustainable goods in the Brightleaf District. Tu-Sa, 11am-7pm; Su, 11am-5pm.
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Scratch Seasonal Artisan Baking

111 Orange St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

Founded by James Beard-semifinalist Phoebe Lawless, Scratch is a bakery that offers both savory and sweet pastries, pies, crostatas, and other baked goods. They also offer lunch, brunch, and coffee, with an emphasis on local, sustainable ingredients and classic Southern techniques. The revolving menu includes items like chili-roasted sweet potatoes, shirred eggs, Mexican chocolate cream pie, and lemon chess pie. It's a menu that's made fans of Southern Living, The New York Times, and several other national food magazines. M-F, 7:30am-4pm; Sa, 9am-3pm.
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Six Plates Wine Bar

2812 Erwin Rd, Ste 104, Durham, NC 27705

Six Plates, as the name suggests, offers six meals per night. The meals are locally sourced small-plate offerings that are each specially paired with their own wine. Because the selection is small, the menu is constantly updated, ensuring that there is a variety of choice. The atmosphere is casual, and there are no waiters at Six Plates. Instead, they hope to combine culinary delights with a laid back feel. It's something that has impressed many, including The New York Times, who noted the restaurant. M-Sa, 4pm-until at least 12am.
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The Original Q-Shack

2510 University Dr, Durham, NC 27707

The Original Q-Shack is a barbecue joint that smokes pork butt, chicken, and turkey, and also offers chili-rubbed beef brisket and pork ribs. All of it is smoked in-house over a blend of hickory and mesquite woods. If that's not enough, Southern Living recommends the desserts. They are "expertly prepared by two serious pastry chefs [and] take this barbecue restaurant to another level," as the magazine said in a write up. M-Su, 11am-9pm.
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The Parlour

117 Market St, Downtown Durham & mobile truck see website for location, Durham, NC 27701

Opening originally as a modified and pink-painted mini-school bus and adding a brick-and-mortar location in 2013, The Parlour serves handmade ice cream. They source their ingredients from local farmers whenever possible and often rotate their flavors to match what's in season. As a result, you get unique flavors like orange spice cake, goat cheese and coriander, girl scout mint, and salted butter caramel. The New York Times raved about The Parlour, saying, "The ice cream sandwiches made with soft chocolate chip cookies and hand-made salted butter caramel ice cream are superb." Mo-Th, 12pm-10pm; Fr-Sa, 12pm-11pm.
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The Refectory Café "Boulevard"

2726 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd, Durham, NC 27707

The Refectory Café originally opened at Duke University, but has now moved to Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., where it serves hot, healthy, homemade fare from fresh, local ingredients. They focus on transparency on where their food comes from and how it was prepared, offering many vegan and vegetarian options. Our State magazine said that Refectory "change[d] everything you thought you knew about college dining" at their Duke location, and Food Management said the cafe was "divine." M-F, 7:30am-8:00pm; Sa-Su, Brunch: 9am-3pm.
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Toast

345 W Main St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

Toast is a paninoteca, which is an authentic Italian sandwich shop modeled after those found in the towns and cities of Italy. Inspired by the Italian tradition of simple cooking using seasonal, local ingredients paired with cured meats and cheeses from Italy, Toast creates sandwiches, soups, and salads. The New York Times championed Toast for its "cheerful turquoise walls and prompt, friendly service," while Food & Wine celebrated its "inventive crostini." M, 11am-3pm; Tu- Sa, 11am-8pm.
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Quick Service

American Meltdown

Mobile truck see website for location, Durham, NC

"Whoever believes that there is no such thing as a gourmet grilled cheese needs to take a trip to American Meltdown," says Food Republic. This food truck serves melts and grilled cheeses crafted from local bread and local eggs and cheeses, when possible. You can find up-to-date information about American Meltdown's location on their website so you can taste creations like The Orchard, made with cheddar, sliced apples, rosemary, and ham.
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Chirba Chirba Dumpling

Mobile truck see website for location, ,

Speaking literally, chirba chirba is Mandarin for "eat eat!" But the phrase evokes warmth and hospitality to friends and guests, and that's what Chirba Chirba tries to do with the Chinese-style dumplings they serve from their food truck. You can find out where they'll be on their website so you can try dishes like the Porkelicious, a dumpling filled with pork, scallions, and edamame, or the Five Spice Chicken, a big, fluffy bun stuffed with shredded chicken. They're recipes that led the TV show My Family Recipe to make Chirba Chirba the subject of an episode.
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Food Court at Li Ming's Global Mart

3400 Westgate Dr, Westgate Shopping Ctr, Durham, NC 27707

LiMing's Global Mart is a large (49,000 sq. ft. large) grocery store stocked with products from Asia and other nations that aren't found in most grocery stores. It also houses a food court with a bakery and an affordable hot bar that impressed Serious Eats, who named it a favorite for "the best deals in the area."
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KoKyu BBQ

Mobile truck see website for location, ,

Kokyu BBQ is an acclaimed member of Durham's well-known food truck scene. The graffiti-painted truck has been a frequent sight around Downtown Durham since it opened in 2010, selling slow-cooked meats and fresh produce. Kokyu's Korean barbecue and other dishes - like duck fat chaat, kimchi dillas, and crispy pork gyoza - have made plenty of fans, including The New York Times, who praised the mobile purveyors in a write up.
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Locopops

2604A Hillsborough Rd, Durham, 27705

Founded in 2005, Locopops serves a wide variety of popsicles in inventive and unique flavors, including everything from mango-chili and tamarind to honeydew-lavender and chocolate-rosemary. Food & Wine feted the "wildly popular" popsicles, and Locopops has also received praise from Everyday with Rachel Ray, The Splendid Table, and The New York Times. Food Republic also named them one of the eight best gourmet popsicles in America. Daily, Mid Mar-Oct, 12pm-9pm; Nov-Feb, 1pm-7pm; closed Dec.
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Monuts Donuts

110 E Parrish St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

Another of Durham's food scene that moved from a mobile operation to a brick-and-mortar location, Monuts started selling its craft donuts from a custom tricycle. Now their constantly changing flavors are available from their store on Parrish St. The donuts are handmade from local, seasonal ingredients and include flavors like pumpkin chai, maple bacon bourbon, and chocolate early grey. The New York Times called them "sublime." W-M, 7am-2pm
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Only Burger

3710 Shannon Rd, Hope Valley Square & mobile truck see website for location, Durham, NC 27707

Only Burger began as the first food truck in Durham, then it began racking up accolades from The New York Times, Martha Stewart, and others. They gained such a following that they opened a brick-and-mortar location in addition to the truck, which still roams Durham streets. The menu is a classic one built on burgers and fries, but specials include toppings like fried green tomatoes and fried eggs, as well as delicacies like house-made red onion jam. M-Sa, 11am-9pm; Su, 11am-8pm; see website for truck location and hours.
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Saltbox Seafood Joint

608 N Mangum St, Downtown Durham, Durham, NC 27701

Saltbox Seafood Joint is a fish shack in Downtown Durham that's open most afternoons and evenings, serving daily caught fish fresh from the Carolina coast. It takes its inspiration from classic seaside fish shacks, serving its offerings as sandwiches or as a plate with slaw and potatoes. It aims for simple done right, and Saveur Magazine certainly thinks it's just that. They said Saltbox "bristles with freshness" and that it "fulfills our wildest fantasies of what a takeout fish shack can be." Tu-Sa, 12pm-7pm (or until out of fish).
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Sympathy for the Deli

Mobile truck see website for location, Durham, NC

Sympathy for the Deli is a food truck that serves gourmet deli sandwiches made with locally sourced, sustainable meats that are hand-cured, roasted, and smoked right here in Durham. Options include pastrami, turkey reubens, and seasonal specials like a roasted beet sandwich. There are also Sympathy for the Deli's signature side, peakles. They're house-made, spicy, pickled sugar snap peas. They're also recommended by Deep South magazine.
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Taqueria La Vaquita

2700 Chapel Hill Rd, Durham, NC 27707

Taquería la Vaquita is an authentic Mexican restaurant serving tacos on homemade corn tortillas with traditional fillings like lengua (braised tongue) and carnitas (roasted pork). They also offer other Mexican dishes, including tortas, chilaquiles, and more. Gourmet magazine was a particular fan of the barbacoa, saying it's "so good at Taquería la Vaquita – so juicy and dark and perfectly seasoned – that it might almost be some long-cooked daube at a reputable bistro in Provence." Daily, 10am-9pm.
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Wimpy's Grill

617 Hicks St, Durham, NC 27705

breakfasts and even bigger burgers." They also said that "the "meat magic" from this takeout joint is often enjoyed curbside, "because it’s just too good to wait ‘til you get home." Offerings include breakfast biscuits with steak or country ham, hamburgers, hot dogs, and steak sandwiches. M-F, 7am-2pm.
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