Spring & Summer 2022: A New Season Brings New Restaurants in Durham
Heaping helpings of fries, scoops of brambleberry crisp ice cream, and warm, fruity pop-tarts await you in this roundup of new spots in Durham.
Posted By Amber Watson on Sep 30, 2022
Pass the ice, please – Durham’s food scene was hotter than hot this spring and summer. From a neighborhood bar to a vegan café, new and incomparable restaurants popped up all over the city.
With so many new things to eat and places to discover, we joined forces with Amber Watson, owner of Bites of Bull City, to bring you a roundup of new spots in Durham just in time for the end of summer. Whether you are looking for a new date night spot, showing friends and family around town, or visiting on a business or leisure trip, be sure to add these new places to your must-try list.
BB’s Crispy Chicken
3109 Shannon Road, Suite 100
In late March, fans of Ashley Christensen, renowned Triangle chef and James Beard Award-winner, flocked to the opening of her newest BB’s Crispy Chicken location at the University Hill Plaza. What makes these chicken sandwiches stand apart from national chains is the use of quality ingredients: fresh-baked buns, produce from local suppliers, antibiotic-free and air chilled thick chicken breast—juicy on the inside and just the right amount of flaky light batter on the outside.
Order a classic sandwich with lettuce and tomato, Southern-style with pimento cheese on top, or choose a level of spice if you prefer a hot chicken sandwich. Slather one (or more!) of BB’s hot, sweet, or savory sauces on top for extra flair, or use it as dipping for one of your sides, like the gooey cheese curds.
Gizmo Brew Works
3109 Shannon Road, Suite 201
University Hill is also the new location for Gizmo Brew Works’ third Triangle location. This lively taproom, which is family and dog-friendly, features 30 taps flowing with Gizmo’s flagship beers and the latest taproom-only small-batch releases. You’ll also find local wines, ciders, and non-alcoholic options. Pick up cans, bottles, and crowlers to enjoy at home, or spend some time in this bright and airy space, relaxing with a drink and enjoying live entertainment from local musicians on select nights.
6404 Amed Road, Bahama
A new U-Pick blueberry farm in nearby Bahama has been supplying their fresh sweet berries to lots of local eateries this summer, including Mateo’s, Toast, Gocciolina, Dashi, Pie Pushers, Cocoa Cinnamon, and The Parlour. You’ll find ripe Bahama’s bluebs mixed into fruity cocktails, on top of fresh salads, mixed into blueberry crumble, cannoli, and ice cream at these local spots and more. The pick-your-own season has come to a close, but keep an eye on them for the future.
Buena Papa Fry Bar
6910 Fayetteville Road
From food hall to mall, this Raleigh restaurant – which made its debut at the Morgan Street Food Hall in 2021 – is now a welcomed addition to the Streets at Southpoint. Buena Papa doesn’t just serve regular fries, these baskets are loaded with Columbian-inspired, Latin-infused flavors over heaping helpings of hand-cut fries. What better way to fuel and fill up when you’re out shopping? They even created a special dish to roll out at their new location: The “El Dominican,” inspired by a popular Dominican dish “Los Tres Golpes” (The 3 Hits), containing Dominican salami, fried cheese, and an over easy egg.
3105 Shannon Road, Suite 203
Good things come in threes! Aperitif, an upscale neighborhood wine and dessert bar, is the third restaurant and bar to open in the vibrant University Hill Plaza this month! When you want to grab drinks and small bites during a date or to meet up with a friend after work, Aperitif has the perfect ambiance and offerings.
Drinks include an extensive wine list, seasonally rotating cocktails and craft beer, kombucha, cider, and seltzer. The light and shareable food menu includes bite-size hors d’oeuvres, charcuterie and fromage boards (including a vegan option), sandwiches and salads, and intriguing desserts such as fancy strawberry shortcake, decadent cheesecake, and a rotating selection of macarons, all of which will change with the seasons to keep the menu fresh and exciting.
La Recette Patisserie
4823 Meadow Drive, Suite 115
The first word that comes to mind after scrolling through La Recette Patisserie’s Instagram feed is “gorgeous!” These are not your average cakes and desserts — La Recette is a small European dessert and custom cake business run by husband-and-wife duo, Djamila Bakour and Fadi Ghanayem.
After building a solid following online and through local markets, La Recette is ready to become a fully functioning bakery. With a new space off HWY-55, they plan to scale up and amplify their offerings. Their vision is to have a fully-equipped commercial kitchen in half the space, with the remaining half functioning as a cake decorating classroom, a grab-and-go counter, and a meeting place for client consultations. Check out their social media accounts to stay up to date on their plans leading up to their grand opening.
4916 Hillsborough Road
Two local families who bonded during the pandemic came together to create a bar that embodies that same friendly neighborhood and community spirit. Der Nachbar recently opened in North Durham, and is the perfect place to stop after a hike along the Eno River Trail or a bike ride along Old NC HWY-10. This German-inspired bottle shop and bar, with 20 rotating taps, also offers wine, bubbly, and ciders, and has a great gathering space on the patio where you can place an order through the serving window. Right next door is El Jefecito Mexican restaurant, so if you get hungry, you can grab some tacos and bring them over to enjoy with a beer. Cheers!
Chef Chick’s Bakery
2500 Meridian Parkway, Suite 150
If you’ve missed out on travel over the past couple of years, a taste of Europe is coming directly to you via Chef Chick’s Bakery. Slated to open this summer at Meridian Parkway, the bakery and café will be an immersive experience for customers.
Their baked goods selection includes a rotating variety of bread and pastries, which will highlight different countries each month, and coffee from Carrboro Coffee Roasters. They hope to offer pastry and coffee pairings, through the “Old World” atmosphere, which includes imported curtains, flooring and furniture designed similarly to cafes and restaurants overseas. Limited online sales will begin in April 2022 with pickup available in front of the Durham space.
347 W. Main St.
Raise a glass to more local bars making a debut in Durham! Shawn Stokes, chef and owner of Luna Rotisserie & Empanadas, has teamed up to open not one, but two new bars in the heart of downtown. Remedy Room’s vibe is a casual cocktail lounge with a 19th-century apothecary theme.
Take a seat at the bar, in the lounge area, or on the backyard patio, and order a traditional cocktail (or a non-alcoholic cocktail), craft beer, wine and kombucha. They have 16 taps (including four nitro taps blended for stouts, Scotch ales, wine and cold brew coffee), and an eclectic food menu with bites like banh mis and hot grilled tortas. They also have a variety of vegetarian and vegan options.
Rubies on Five Points
347B W. Main St.
In the space directly upstairs from Remedy Room, you’ll find sister bar and lounge, Rubies on Five Points, a chill live music venue, bar, and event space. Come for drinks and stay for the live music and DJs, which are booked most nights of the week, playing everything from blues to funk. As a private club, NC Law requires memberships to enter Rubies. Anyone 21+ can purchase a membership at the door for $2 and be set for life.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
908 W. Main St.
For ice cream that’s anything but vanilla, check out the newest location (and the first NC scoop shop) for Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Durham’s Brightleaf District. Prepare your taste buds for scratch-made recipes with a smooth, creamy texture, buttercream body, and ribbon of flavor infused throughout. Some unique flavors include brambleberry crisp and brown butter almond brittle, along with seasonal sensations like summer’s watermelon taffy, golden nectar, and a dairy-free lemon bar. This adorable storefront and outdoor seating area is a great place to cool down.
Moon Dog Meadery
1104 Broad St.
Speaking of cool new bars, Moon Dog Meadery has transformed a former fencing studio below Joe Van Gogh’s Broad Street coffee shop into a mead production facility, welcoming bar, and great hangout spot. They feature their own artisan craft meads and fruit wines, along with NC craft beers, wines, hard ciders, tea, kombuchas, and more.
Not only do they carry over 150 board games available for rent for the night, but they also host special board game nights, game tournaments, trivia, live music, comedy shows, and other special events. They are also dog-friendly and family-friendly, so you don’t need a sitter to head on over.
Mr. Fries Man
1105 W. Main St.
A restaurant that’s all about fries? Durham’s got that — thanks to the locally-owned franchise Mr. Fries Man. With a heaping foundation of fries loaded with all kinds of proteins and sauces, it’s easy to see why this food frenzy has made its way across the county. Options include barbecue, bacon and ranch chicken or shrimp, buffalo ranch chicken, and honey garlic shrimp steak. This isn’t your average carton of fries — it’s a full-blown meal.
506 Ramseur St.
Prolific Triangle restauranter Giorgios Bakatsias opened his latest spot in downtown Durham earlier this summer. Krill is the 11th restaurant in the Giorgios Hospitality & Lifestyle Group, along with Durham mainstays like Parizade and Vin Rouge. Jason Lawless, chef and partner, showcases his experience cooking with Asian and Indian flavors and techniques on this fun and inventive menu, including blistered miso shishitos with furikake aioli, pork buns with adobo and pickled veggies, and uni udon with mussels. This colorful and airy space, inside and on the patio, is warm and cozy among lush flora and fauna, hanging lanterns, and wood accents.
701 W. Main St.
The wait is finally over for the latest addition to the newly renovated Chesterfield Building in downtown Durham. The second location of Spring Rolls Asian bistro and sushi (you’ll find the original in Raleigh) has arrived. At this sleek new spot, you’ll be treated to the same dishes the owners use in their own homes — recipes passed down from one generation to another, including plenty of vegetarian and vegan options. The menu features everything from house Singapore noodles to lo mein, curry, and pho.
Little Barb’s Bakery
530 Foster St., Suite 1
In other Durham Food Hall news, something very sweet has arrived. From home kitchen to food hall, local baker Barb Nigro is bringing all kinds of creative creations to Little Barb’s display case, including cheesecake bars, homemade pop-tarts, cinnamon rolls, custom cakes by the slice, as well as zucchini bread and cannoli cream recipes that come straight from her grandma’s kitchen. Patrons can also place special custom orders for cakes if they want to celebrate a special occasion with a real showstopper.
2300 N. Roxboro St.
North Durham gained a new neighborhood coffee shop and roastery that’s filled with all the warm and cozy vibes you’d want from a local café hangout. Omie’s, which is located in a converted tire shop and shares a building with King’s Red and White Grocery next door, is owned by a local family who wanted to create a fun and welcoming space for neighbors and the community. Omie’s makes a point to source its coffee from mostly small, family-owned farms and pays workers a living wage, so you can feel good about kick-starting your day with a specialty coffee, espresso, or tea.
Pure Vegan Cafe
2812 Erwin Road #104
If you’re searching for a new or additional plant-based dining option in Durham, you’re in luck – Pure Vegan Café is now open in Erwin Terrace Plaza. After managing two successful locations in Raleigh and Cary, this local, female-owned eatery was ready to hit the trifecta and open in the Bull City. Customers can enjoy an extensive all-day menu, including brunch items like waffles and avocado toast, plant-based burgers, hot dogs, and Indian fusion dishes like rice bowls and masala wraps. Plus, the drink menu, which includes fresh-pressed juices, smoothies, and warm teas, will give you the shot of nutrients and energy you need for the day. These vegan twists are so filling and flavorful, they’ll even make carnivores happy.
900 W. Main St.
Is there even such a thing as too much ice cream? You don’t have to go far for even more delicious frozen treats this summer! In another part of Brightleaf Square, Scoop Local specializes in freshly-made ice cream using traditional Italian French pot style ice cream machines for consistency and creamy texture. Flavors include classic chocolate and vanilla bean along with candy lovers’ dreams like coffee ice cream with Heath Bar and Reese’s Cups or loaded cookies and cream with Oreos.
3219 Old Chapel Hill Road
It’s great to see another local food truck accomplishing its brick-and-mortar dreams. Succotash, which specializes in bold Southern fusion, is gearing up to take over the space formerly occupied by Park’s Food Street and Piper’s Deli. You won’t leave hungry after ordering some Succotash favorites like a cornmeal battered jumbo shrimp po’ boy, smoked brisket plate, buttermilk fried chicken, or perhaps a sampler plate so you can try a little bit of everything. The new storefront will roll out in phases starting with takeout and delivery in September.
1125 W. NC-54
Move over Olive Garden. Vici Ristobar is here with homemade Italian food in South Durham (in the former location of Tre Forni Pizza). Stop by for pizza, fresh pasta dishes, sandwiches, and beer and wine to make your meal complete in this inviting atmosphere.
It’s wonderful to see the Durham food and beverage scene expanding once again this spring, and it’s the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy these new locations, many of which have spacious outdoor patios. Visit these new spots with your family and friends, during a date night, or on your lunch break — you won’t be disappointed with everything they have to offer.