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Oh, You Didn't Know? Catch Up on Durham Foodie News

Estimated Read Time:
2 minutes

Hot Girl Summer may be over, but the Durham restaurant scene is only getting hotter.

Posted By Amber Watson on Sep 25, 2019

If Durham’s restaurant scene had a theme this summer, it would be beverages — all kinds, from coffee to cocktails to smoothies and more. After you sip, though, make sure to savor these new award-winning flavors in Durham.

Cloche Coffee is one of the latest coffee shops to arrive in the Ninth Street district across from East Campus. The beautiful tranquil interior is the perfect place to work, catch up with friends, or recharge. They serve organic, ethically sourced and fair trade coffee from Larry’s Coffee.

Nolia, which also opened this summer, is all about family. This family-run coffee shop near Golden Belt is committed to blending great coffee and creating a kid-friendly space … while offering a relaxing and enjoyable spot for their caregivers.

The original location of The Oak House in Elon, NC, was such a success that its owners decided to expand. Their craft coffee/wine bar concept is now in the heart of downtown Durham on the ground floor of One City Center. Stop by in the morning and sip on a cup of joe from Caballo Rojo’s in-house roastery. At night, cozy up at the bar or table with a great glass of wine. Oak House prides itself on having the best of both worlds.

Another recent vendor to open at One City Center this summer was Juicekeys, which opened its third brick and mortar in its first Durham locale. The owners, a brother and sister duo, are on a mission to provide “keys” to excellent health with high-quality organic juice, smoothies, power bowls, and more.

A short walk across CCB plaza will bring you right to the door of the newly open and breathtakingly beautiful Jeddah's Tea, where you can sip both hot and iced beverages sweetened with handcrafted simple syrups and decadent honey. The sweet treats are locally created too and are delightful accompaniments to each perfectly steeped cup.

Located just down the street from the center of town at 104 City Hall Plaza, you'll find a new Italian Wine Bar called Convivio. The co-owner and Sommelier searched both locally and worldwide for the best wines, specializing in organic, natural and bio-dynamic varieties. The bar also features carefully curated small plates. The kitchen plans to introduce more menu items over time.

The highly anticipated Kingfisher, which focuses on farm-to-cocktail concoctions, opened their delicately designed basement bar at 321 E. Chapel Hill St. this summer as well. The husband and wife team behind Kingfisher are as intentional about what they serve — seasonal drinks and locally sourced bar bites — as what they serve it in. You will find handmade cups, accents, and art all around you.

Also worth noting this season were several expansions:

KoKyu Na'Mean, which began as a local food truck and has an original brick and mortar banh mi sandwich shop in South Durham, expanded to open a second restaurant location (also in South Durham at 245 E. HWY 54). The menu here pays homage to many of their food truck dishes, including duck fat tots, kimchi quesadillas and tacos.

Spanglish is another great food truck turned brick and mortar. We’re glad they’ve established their second location here in Durham at 104 City Hall Plaza (where the former Bagel Bar used to be). Their delicious Puerto Rican menu includes empanadas, mofongo, and crazy good Cuban sandwiches.

The latest in Mike Lee’s restaurant line took shape this summer. M Pocha is a Korean izakaya and bar that serves a creative variety of Korean-inspired tapas like DIY spicy pork belly steamed buns, bacon gyoza, Korean style BBQ meat plate, and Malaysian fried rice and shrimp. You’ll find it centrally located in Five Points where the former Cupcake Bar used to be.

Over at The Frontier in Research Triangle Park (RTP), Boxyard RTP broke ground and announced their anchor tenant with strong ties to Durham — Fullsteam Brewery! Fullsteam’s second location will be one of 38 vendors set up inside this micro-retail hub formed from shipping containers. Boxyard RTP is expected to open in 2020.

Here on American Tobacco’s campus, fun foodie pop-ups were featured all summer long. We saw Corner Boys BBQ, Oak City Fish & Chips and WonderPuff cotton candy. The former Tyler’s Taproom also evolved into a pop-up: a beer garden featuring Rocky Mount Mills brews such as HopFly Brewing Company.

There were also some exciting announcements in the Bull City, and several local businesses enjoyed special honors this season.

Durham-based food truck, The Shrimp Truck, won first place in the 2019 NC State Food Truck Competition this summer.

The team behind Cocoa Cinnamon officially changed its coffee-roasting company name and branding to Little Waves Coffee Roasters, and the brand is already making big waves nationally. The roastery is featured at La Marzocco Cafe in Seattle as the roaster-in-residence (just one of 18 selected roasters from seven countries, chosen among hundreds of applicants) from September 17 to October 21, 2019.

Two of Durham’s smallest and mightiest restaurants were nominated for Bon Appetit’s best new restaurants list! Sister Liu’s Chinese dumplings, noodles and sandwiches, and Mike Lee’s M Tempura (specializing in authentic tempura omakase-style dining) were recognized.

Durham Distillery, in conjunction with the expansion of NC’s ABC laws, announced plans to open its own cocktail bar in 2020 called Corpse Reviver, in the basement of their current distillery.

Lastly, James Beard Award Winner and renowned Raleigh chef, Ashley Christensen, announced plans to open her first fried chicken sandwich joint right here in Durham at the University Hill Shopping Center in 2020.

About the Author

Amber Watson - Founder, Content Creator
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Amber Watson is the creator and writer of the local Durham food news blog, Bites of Bull City. For more, follow @bitesofbullcity.