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Hottest New Restaurants in Durham – Summer 2024 Update

We got you on all the new restaurant openings in Durham. Through a partnership with local favorite Amber Watson of Bites of Bull City, a new season of treats awaits.

The dog days of summer are here and what better time to check out the newest arrivals to the food scene? I’m always up for spending summer evenings on a patio with a good plate of food and a refreshing drink—doesn’t hurt to follow it up with ice cream either. This season, we’ve welcomed the addition of Detroit-style pizza, a food truck park, salads, smashburgers, Indian, Asian and more.

New & Forthcoming Openings

Curry Up Now

3105 Shannon Rd., Ste. 101

Hailing all the way from the West Coast, Curry Up Now has opened its first official franchise location here in Durham at the vibrant UHill retail and restaurant plaza. For fast-casual Indian eats that are truly outside the box, this is your spot. The concept started as a food truck in the Bay area in 2009, so Indian/Cali street food is their specialty—think tikka masala burrito, naan pizza, Indian-inspired poutine and bite-sized samosas. The menu also accommodates all diets, from vegan/vegetarian to halal.

Three naan breads covered with toppings like pizza on wooden boards with Curry Up Now drinks

Curry Up Now makes all your naan pizza dreams come true. Photo: Curry Up Now

CO

8030 Renaissance Pkwy, Ste. 905

Durham is now home to Co’s seventh location across the Carolinas. The Southeast Asian menu has everything from sushi to ramen to rice bowls, bahn mi and poke. It’s a welcome addition to Southpoint Mall’s dining options along the outdoor promenade, with a comfortable front lounge, spacious modern interior and large covered patio that has an open-air bar counter opening into the restaurant. Dine-in happy hour specials from 4-7pm include $4-$6 bites Monday-Friday, $1 dumplings Mondays and Wednesdays and half-off select sushi rolls Tuesdays and Thursdays. The hand-crafted cocktails, mocktails and Asian fusion desserts (like yuzu cheesecake) are perfect for a refreshing summer treat.

Anjappar Indian Restaurant

201 East Main St.

We’re excited for Cettinad Indian restaurant Anjappar to open in the newly built admin building in downtown Durham. This space has been awaiting the addition of a restaurant for a while. Anjappar has everything—and I mean everything—the menu is thick and filled with all the classics, but it also specializes in South Indian cuisine, which is harder to find. Items like dosa (they have over 20 varieties!) and Parotta (Tawa breads) are headliners. The Biryani rice is cooked in curry, and its flavor and spice profile is off the charts. The original Cary location is very popular, and we’re sure the Durham crowd will love it as well.

Will & Well

900 Park Offices Dr., Boxyard RTP

There’s a lot of great food at Boxyard RTP, and now, you can add fresh customizable salads to the list. Will & Well is minority-owned and prides itself on a passion for giving people the “will” to live “well.” That’s easy to do with their signature salads and fresh juices. No need to worry about not being satisfied after a healthy meal from here—their bowls are packed with hearty, vibrant ingredients sources locally when possible, and you can always add in some protein too. Customers can expect even more added to the menu in coming months, like smoothies and smoothie bowls.

Nautical Bowls

620 Rigsbee Ave.

Another healthy option is Nautical Bowls: Plant-based, gluten, soy and dairy-free acai and smoothie bowls made with organic and natural ingredients. These bowls are as beautiful as they are tasty and nutritious. Some fan favorites from the menu include the classic “Nauti Bowl” with acai, peanut butter, bananas, granola and cacao nibs, and the “Paddle Bowl” with tropical layers of coconut and mango.

El Tesoro

6118 Farrington Rd., Chapel Hill

While technically this new casual Mexican restaurant is just over the border in Chapel Hill, it’s still in Durham County and worth mentioning for its proximity to South Durham in the Falconbridge Shopping Center on 54. El Tesoro specializes in authentic Mexican stews, handmade tortillas, house made salsas, traditional Tex Mex dishes and recipes straight from mom’s kitchen! They have a breakfast-all-day menu, lunch and late-night bites full of comfort and flavor.

Emmy Squared

905 W. Main St.

We have a lot of great pizza in Durham, but we didn’t have Detroit-style pizza until Emmy Squared opened in Brightleaf Square this spring. Whether you like soft or crispy crust, this deep square pizza provides the best of both worlds with a fluffy center and crispy, cheesy edges. The menu even offers a gluten-free option that holds up well against the original. This prime corner spot boasts a family and pet-friendly patio where you can savor the flavors of house-made sauces, appetizers like garlic sticks, waffle fries and wings and refreshing cocktails.

Rectangular deep-dish pies with a variety of toppings.

Emmy Squared Pizza combines grandma and Detroit styles for a one-of-a-kind pie. Photo: Emmy Squared Pizza

Patty Boy

530 Foster St., Ste. 1

Ex-Voto is has gained a big following since opening in the Durham Food Hall, and while their next venture (also conveniently located in the Food Hall) is a whole different concept, we know the food will still be next level. Welcome Chef Dallas Howard’s new spot: Patty Boy—a good ‘ole slice of Americana with 100% beef smash burgers, chicken tenders, tater tots and big gulp fountain drinks. Another great option for friends and families hanging out at the hall.

The Can Opener

205 S. Gregson St.

When local food truck owner forces combine, you get a cool new food truck park in downtown Durham. Aptly named after its location overlooking the famous “Can Opener” bridge (which shaves the tops off tall trucks like sardine cans), this community hangout promises loads of fun for everyone, featuring regular and rotating food trucks (of course), covered outdoor space and a rooftop patio with lights and lots of picnic tables, plus an indoor area serving coffee, wine and beer on tap.

Andia’s Ice Cream

205 S. Gregson St.

One of the exciting partners coming to The Can Opener is Andia’s Ice Cream. This family-owned local ice cream maker is known for trendy treats, unforgettable sundaes and seasonal flavors. Originating from Raleigh and expanding at a steady clip throughout the Triangle, this ice cream spot will be the perfect way to cap off your experience at The Can Opener.

Localicious Caribbean Ice Cream

3600 N. Duke St., Ste. 16

Speaking of ice cream, there’s a new Caribbean ice cream shop in North Duke Crossing. Localicious makes their ice cream in house and the flavor board is full of Caribbean creativity ranging from island pound cake and banana grape-nut to fruity summertime sorbets and even some vegan and sugar-free options. Plus, several rum-infused flavors to transport your tastebuds to the tropics.

AJ’s Cheesecakes

2506 Fayetteville St.

Looking for another way to satisfy your sweet tooth? This local, Black-owned business has both a small storefront of its own as well as a presence at many local grocers like The Durham Co-op and Weaver Street Markets throughout the Triangle. Drawing inspiration from favorite childhood desserts, this local baker puts her own spin on classic recipes, honing her skills to make the perfect cheesecake. You will even find a variety of vegan options.

Joe Van Gogh SouthCourt

3211 Shannon Rd., Ste. 106

Joe Van Gogh, known for adorable local coffee shops, has expanded once again. The new SouthCourt branch is in the back of the building complex off Shannon Rd. Not only does this new spot have your favorite JVG hot and cold drinks and pastries, but it also has its own bakery in the suite next door. This means extra special treats and sneak peeks at some of their fresh-made goodies. Hang out on the spacious seating out front, inside with board games, or grab a cup to go.

North Durham Coffee Lab

5120 N. Roxboro St.

Need a little pick-me-up after your workout? This new coffee station is a true hidden gem, located inside Body Games Gym. North Durham Coffee Lab has limited hours for now: open Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings from 6-11am. It’s a great option for folks in North Durham who want to start their day with a local cup of coffee, or fuel up after feeling the burn at Body Games.

State of Golf

318 Blackwell St., Ste. 240

A high-class bar with high-tech entertainment—everything you need to create the perfect outing with friends and co-workers. That’s exactly what State of Golf offers at its brand-new venue at American Tobacco Campus. The fully stocked bar offers cocktails, beer and wine while three full-swing simulators offer a lifelike golfing experience. Whether you’re a pro gamer, golfer, sports fan or you just want to hang out in a comfortable environment with your pals, State of Golf’s indoor golf and sports simulator lounge is a vibe everyone can appreciate. You are welcome to bring your own food, and there are plenty of options to choose from at ATC.

Other Recent Openings

19Fifty-One

800 Taylor St., Ste. 9-152

Named after the year the Ethiopian government sent troops to aid South Korea during the Korean War, this collaboration between the owner of Goorsha Ethiopian restaurant and the Korean family that owned Kaffeinate coffee house is an homage to friendship and resilience. This modern cafe in Golden Belt is a perfect spot to enjoy a great cup of coffee, cocktails, sandwiches and bites that bring Ethiopian and Korean flavors into everyday American food, like mango-berbere and ginger-sesame wings.

Atomic Clock Brewing Co.

501 Washington St., Ste. A

A local brother and sister have teamed up to open a taproom and full-service kitchen in Durham’s warehouse district, with a nearby 20-barrel brewhouse. Their beverage program will include 20+ hand-crafted beers across a range of styles, rotating craft cocktails showcasing local distilleries and a boutique wine selection, coupled with a rotating menu of food intended to enhance beverage pairings.

Backyard BBQ Pit – reopened

5122 NC-55

After undergoing major renovations for eight months, this popular Black-owned Durham barbecue restaurant is back in action! From brand new equipment to floors, walls, ceilings and bathrooms, it received a complete overhaul, but one thing stayed the same—the comfort food Backyard BBQ’s been serving for the past 18 years. They have been anxiously waiting to get back on the grill to dish out your favorite pork chops, ribs, oxtails, pot pie and sides like stewed collards, mac and cheese, slaw and hushpuppies.

Beyu RDU 

Terminal 1 and 2 at RDU Airport

RDU’s airport food lineup has been getting all kinds of upgrades, including the addition of Beyu Caffé, serving soulful eats and aromatic coffee. With an original location holding steady for many years in downtown Durham, residents and visitors will appreciate the chance to unwind in this familiar café before a flight. Along with a full coffee, tea, and smoothie menu, the café offers baked goods, snacks, grab-and-go sandwiches and salads.

Big Bad Breakfast

2608 Erwin Rd.

Later this month, a new breakfast joint will take over the space previously occupied by Another Broken Egg Café near Duke Hospital. This is the first North Carolina location for James Beard award-winning chef John Currence’s popular breakfast brand, known for its scratch-made menu with biscuits, French toast, skillets, omelets and even lunch items like po’boys and smash burgers. Of course, they’ll be serving fresh OJ and cocktails along with the breakfast and lunch menus.

Box’d Café

4300 Garrett Rd., Ste. A

An adorable little café tucked in a plaza off Garrett Rd., Box’d offers all your favorite breakfast classics like bagel sandwiches, omelets, waffles – traditional and stuffed, smoothies, lattes and more. You can stop by or order from online food delivery services like DoorDash and GrubHub.

Bull City Confectionaries

1912 E. NC-54

Bull City Confectionaries grew from a small side passion to a full-fledged business for owner, Nasira Abdur-Razzaq, who started baking her delicious mini bundt cakes for friends, family, and her twin daughters’ school during the holidays eight years ago. A week later, she received her first large order for 100 mini bundts and knew she could take her bakes to the next level. While customers could order for delivery or pick up, the company hasn’t had a brick-and-mortar location until now. This year, Bull City Confectionaries opened a physical location for customers to come in, order cakes, and enjoy on site. Each cake is hand-crafted and magically moist while also dense and flavorful. Flavors include French toast cake with bacon, red velvet, strawberry, and lemon blueberry.

Canastas Chicken

5318 New Hope Commons Dr., Ste. 104

Durham is now home to this Virginia-based Peruvian chicken restaurant’s first North Carolina location. This new fast-casual spot specializes in fresh, all-natural ingredients, bringing traditional Peruvian recipes like polla a la brasa to your plate. They also feature accessible Tex-Mex items like Canastas burgers, burritos and tacos, along with various kinds of ceviche.

Cheeni

202 Corcoran St., Ste. 100

Cheeni, the highly anticipated expansion of Cheeni Indian Food Emporium — a popular Indian restaurant and café in Raleigh run by James Beard Award semifinalist Preeti Waas—is now open in the heart of downtown Durham. It’s wonderful to see another local Triangle chef taking over this stunning space, formerly home to Jack Tar Diner. The menu at Cheeni is regional, homestyle, serving food like masala fries, dosa waffles, Indian kabab rolls, and rice bowls from Preeti’s childhood and her family’s food memories, highlighting the regions of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and West Bengal. Cheeni will eventually include a cocktail program and separate bar called Bar Beej in the adjoining space once occupied by The Colonel’s Daughter. For now, enjoy the personal service in the gorgeous, homey space.

Chibanga’s Neighborhood Market

506 N. Mangum St., #103

More than your average convenience store, Chibanga’s is locally owned and carries local goods as well, like Mad Popper’s popcorn, Carolina Kettle Chips, and Everlou Coffee. You can also count on them to carry classic variety store must-haves, such as beer (including locals like Ponysaurus and Fullsteam), wine, soda, chips, cookies, and soon, local veggies and frozen meat from a local farm, and frozen hatch burritos from Gocciolina. They are also dog-friendly and always open to suggestions about what you’d like to see added to their shelves.

Clean Eatz

5320 McFarland Dr., Unit 110

Clean Eatz has 17 spots throughout North Carolina and aims to help people achieve their healthy lifestyle goals. They are breaking into the Bull City, offering healthy food and meal prep options for busy professionals, families and people on the go. They specialize in a rotating variety of portion-controlled, nutritionally balanced weekly meal plans, frozen meals you can easily take and heat up at home and fresh-made items from the café like smoothies and wraps.

Congress Social Bar

471 S. Driver St.

East Durham is becoming an exciting hub for Black-owned businesses. The owner of Rofhiwa Book Café purchased a building blocks away, where they opened a beautiful bar and breakfast shop, Congress Social Bar. This spot is a neighborhood hangout, both morning and night, where you can enjoy casual drinks and live music.

DSSOLVR

630 Rigsbee Ave.

Asheville-based DSSOLVR brewery has brought its funky vibes to downtown Durham. The brewery specializes in everything from lagers to English Ales to IPAs and funky wood-fermented varieties. DSSOLVR embraces the strange, building a brand that’s fun, unconventional, inclusive and out of this world. They host events like trivia, chili cookoffs, festivals and beer releases each month.

Durham Beer Garden

812 N. Mangum St.

Baozi steamed buns food truck, which was parked in a lot next to Little Bull restaurant this past year, has remodeled and refreshed the building on the premises and transformed it into a brand-new beer garden hangout complete with a spacious outdoor deck, event space and large indoor bar with plenty of televisions to keep an eye on your favorite games. Plus, beer on tap and to-go.

Ekhaya

406 Blackwell St., Ste. 100

Zweli and Leonardo Williams put Zimbabwean food on the map, earning recognition and accolades both locally and nationally for their flavorful food at Zweli’s Kitchen, which is currently in the process of relocating to Brightleaf Square. Their new restaurant, Ekhaya, at American Tobacco Campus, brings more amazing African eats to the area with Bantu-fusion small and large plates. Chef Zweli’s creative culinary twists, like traditional Boerewors sausage and sadza make a delightful pairing with a refreshing cocktail such as their African 75 made with Conniption Kinship Gin and frozen fruit.

Flying Bull Beer Co.

300 Morris St., Ste. 103

This local craft beer and cocktail bar and kitchen just celebrated the grand opening of its second location, this one in downtown Durham on Morris St. The new spot features a full-service bar, a view of their in-house brewery and outdoor seating. During the day, order elevated snacks from the “Bull Bites” menu and, in the evening, enjoy inventive Mediterranean-American dishes. You will still find the original location of Flying Bull on Ninth Street.

Fonda Lupita

905 W. Main St., Ste. 21A

Also coming to life in Brightleaf Square is a second location for popular Sanford, NC Mexican restaurant, Fonda Lupita. For those who’ve visited the original location, you know how lucky we are to have this gem now a short drive or walk away! In 2021, the Sanford spot appeared on Eater’s “11 Best New Restaurants” list, and it’s easy to see why. Fonda Lupita is the real deal—homemade Mexican food in a welcoming and modern, yet unpretentious atmosphere. Traditional Mexican recipes include stews, gorditas and slow-cooked birria beef alongside tacos and burritos rolled in fresh homemade corn tortillas.

HERitage Wines

5107 NC-55, Ste. 102

HERitage is a new wine brand with a mission to help include Black women and people of color in wine spaces through education, exposure, access and community. Along with a private wine label, HERitage offers a monthly membership, wine-inspired apparel and events like intimate wine tastings and paint and sip classes.

Isaac’s Bagels

1003 W. Chapel Hill St.

This bagel pop-up started three years ago as a pandemic pivot and became so popular it earned itself a permanent spot in the Bull City breakfast scene. When the brick-and-mortar opened, a line formed down the street, so it’s safe to say people are excited to be eating Issacs’s on the regular. It’s easy to see why, with fully loaded bagels in classic flavors and more adventurous kinds like fiery Szechuan chili, scratch made whipped cream cheese, along with breakfast sandwiches that will continue to expand on the menu, and opened-faced sandwiches with toppings like lox, tomatoes, ricotta and jam.

It's a Southern Thing (Ellis Crossing)

1051 Yunus Rd., Ste. 110

Speaking of expansions, this locally owned Southern restaurant with roots in downtown’s West Village opened a new location in Research Triangle Park's growing Ellis Crossing area. It’s a Southern Thing is known for generous portions of comfort food, classics with a modern twist, like crab dip, catfish sandwiches, mac & cheese, bacon and beef meatloaf and shrimp & grits. Its full bar offers creative cocktails and classic spirits, and the brunch menu is just as filling—the perfect atmosphere for sharing mimosas with your pals.

Kale’s Kitchen

2504 Fayetteville St.

Kale’s Kitchen is doing something right—this business specializes in catering, meal prep, and cooking classes, and anytime their pop-up restaurant opens, a long line weaves through the lobby and out the door! To stay in the know, follow them on social media where they announce when their pop-up will be open for walk-in service and what you’ll find on the menu. Expect hearty Southern plates with options like baked turkey wings, pot roast, salmon, shrimp; sides like mac and cheese, yams, green beans, and desserts like strawberry crunch cake.

Kiichi Ramen Izakaya

730 Ninth St.

A dedicated ramen shop and izakaya is a welcome addition to Ninth Street. This cozy, local joint has a vibrantly decorated dining room and bar where you can pull up a stool for a filling meal with some sake, Japanese soda or tea. Kiichi’s kitchen specializes in Japanese staples like hibachi bento boxes, snacks such as fried squid, gyoza, chicken karrage and a variety of ramen, including tonkotsu, shoyu, curry and seafood.

Lakewood Social

1920 Chapel Hill Rd.

A Lakewood spot got another exciting revamp this month from Chef Joel Schroeter who previously ran Old North Meats out of the Durham Food Hall. Lakewood Social provides the ultimate space for the Durham community to unwind and relax, with a large indoor/outdoor communal space, featuring a temperature-controlled patio, spacious lawn area, and a menu focused on draft beer, wine and approachable cocktails with a complementary food program focused on small bites, sandwiches and shareables that will satisfy the cravings of fans of the Food Hall location.

Little Bull

810 N. Mangum St.

Chef Oscar Diaz refined his cooking skills at Alizé, a Michelin-starred French restaurant in Las Vegas, before making his mark in Raleigh at Jose and Sons and Cortez Seafood + Cocktail. Eager to bring his unique fusion of Mexican/American cuisine to Durham, he opened Little Bull in the former Jetplane Coffee space. It now boasts a homey bar serving seasonal cocktails, interesting dishes cooked over live fire, and a sleek, cozy outdoor patio that creates the perfect ambiance for a place that aims to offer diners something special.

Lutra Bakeshop – pop ups

Pick up at Queeny’s and Cocoa Cinnamon Hillsborough St.

In preparation for their upcoming brick and mortar shop, Lutra Bakeshop has been holding Sunday morning pop ups out of Queeny’s takeout window in downtown Durham, and preorder pickups from Cocoa Cinnamon on Hillsborough Road on Fridays. If you can’t decide between a sweet or a savory bun, why not order one of each? They also have giant chocolate chip cookies and soft pretzels on Sundays. Flavors rotate weekly—snag your favorite before they sell out!

Melina’s Fresh Pasta Il Laboratorio

3101 Guess Rd., Unit E

At Il Laboratorio, pasta enthusiasts can get hands-on instruction from Melina’s Fresh Pasta owner, Carmella Alvaro herself. While not a restaurant, it provides a fun, behind-the-scene experience where you’ll learn how to make all your favorites, from spaghetti to fettuccine, gnocchi and ravioli, using traditional pasta-making tools from Italy. Group classes are available and all participants receive a recipe e-book after the class. The best part: eating your creations at the end!

Ment Beverage

312 Blackwell St.

Earlier this year, Honeygirl Meadery said goodbye to its Hood Street spot with plans to expand operations as Ment Beverage Co. with a new location at the American Tobacco Campus. This new tasting room and production facility will allow this popular mead maker to offer an even wider array of products including mead, cider, locally brewed beer, distilled spirits and nonalcoholic sparkling beverages. The new space will have two bars with indoor and outdoor patio seating. Enjoy beverages on site or a walkabout as part of the Bullpen social district.

Mike D’s BBQ Smokehouse & Retail

455 S. Driver St.

Congress Social Bar shares a magical courtyard between old brick buildings with Mike D’s BBQ Smokehouse and Retail, where you can grab platters of his award-winning smoked BBQ and sides, spices and rubs Wednesday-Sunday.

Milkshake Factory

359 Blackwell St, Ste. 120

Pennsylvania-based milkshake maker, Milkshake Factory, is about the shake up something sweet at American Tobacco. This will be the first North Carolina franchise for this popular house made ice cream, handspun milkshake and chocolate maker. Favorite flavors include chocolate dipped strawberry, campfire s’mores and bananas foster. The perfect treat to help cool off this summer!

Missy Lane’s Assembly Room

310 E. Main St., Ste. 100

Missy Lane's is a social club and bar for music lovers aiming to expand the audience for jazz and improvised music. With club membership, you get early access to tickets, preferred seating, invitations to members-only nights and personalized hospitality concierge. It’s a space for people to socialize and build community over good food and drinks and they partner with women and minority-owned small businesses for musical entertainment, bar and food services, and even yoga.

Nanas (Re-opening)

2514 University Dr.

The wait is finally over! New owner Matt Kelly has reopened Durham’s iconic Nana’s restaurant, rebranded as Nanas, on December 12, 2023. The redesigned ambiance and updated menu will be a pleasing combination for both old and new Nanas fans, with a warm bar and dining room inspired by Durham’s history and nature and the comfort of a grandmother’s home. The menu stays true to the original restaurant’s embrace of modern takes on French/Italian dishes using ingredients from the Piedmont and coastal NC, such as chicken liver mousse, oysters, oxtail, shrimp risotto, and wood-grilled entrees like aged NY strip and whole NC fish. Garden & Gun got a first look at Nanas and shared gorgeous photos and more background in this article.

Night School Bar

719 N. Mangum St.

It’s not your typical bar, and that’s what makes Night School so intriguing. Founder Lindsey Andrews is committed to democratizing education and wants to provide curious and creative types with a place to socialize and drink with purpose. Night School is a faculty collective that offers evening classes in the arts and humanities on a sliding-scale donation basis. Instructors are trained in literature, art, music, philosophy, and history, as well as race and gender studies and class analysis. For each “term,” you can find approximately a dozen offerings that include classes organized around exploring a specific topic, such as writing workshops, theory seminars and reading groups.

Nikos

905 W. Main St., Unit 21B

It’s nice to see local restaurants reviving vacant spaces in Brightleaf Square, including Nikos, the latest to open by Giorgio’s Hospitality Group. This lively Mediterranean eatery includes a cozy patio nestled along the historic brick street. It pays homage to Giorgio Bakatsia’s history here—a revival of one of his former restaurants, Niko’s Greek Taverna, which was in this area many years ago. Delicious small meze and larger plates embracing ancient flavors from Greece and its surrounding regions are perfect for sharing around a table with friends.

Pistachio Ice Cream

2708 Chapel Hill Rd.

If you’re tired of the same old ice cream flavors, plan your next visit to a new shop in town, Pistachio, which specializes in aromatic and savory Persian/middle Eastern ice cream flavors like ginger rosewater, lavender, mango, saffron pistachio and sour cherry. You can order scoops or ice cream sandwiches on light wafer cookies to enjoy in the fenced-in garden. They also serve coffee and tea. Friendly staff is happy to allow you to sample or answer any questions to help you find the perfect scoop.

Playa Bowls

744B Ninth St.

Playa Bowls is a popular acai bowl and smoothie franchise that flourished on the Jersey Shore and now has a presence on Ninth Street. With a laid-back beach vibe, these storefronts are committed to serving healthy ingredients to every community and choosing sustainable practices. The menu features acai bowl staples, including the option to customize your own, fruity smoothies, as well as seasonal specials. During winter, try the North Pole Acai Bowl topped with mint and crushed peppermint, a gingerbread smoothie, or a peppermint mocha sweet cream cold brew.

Proximity Brewing Company

491 S. Driver St.

In the growing South Driver Street section of East Durham, a sleek new brewery has opened. Durham's first Black-owned brewery, Proximity serves IPAs featuring North Carolina ingredients and collaborations with Durham and breweries, including a signature West Coast IPA brewed in collaboration with Fullsteam Brewery and with East Durham’s Epiphany Malt. They’ll feature their own menu of canned beverages, including guest beers from other NC breweries.

Seraphine

324 Blackwell St., Ste. 402

Louisiana-style cuisine was a missing niche in downtown Durham until the recent arrival of Seraphine, brought to us by brothers and managing partners at NanaSteak, Brad and Graham Weddington. A hip New Orleans vibe runs throughout the space, formerly Tyler’s Taproom, and includes a cozy patio with ironwork details in the heart of American Tobacco Campus. The mouth-watering menu features raw and broiled oysters; gumbo with tasso ham, andouille, chicken and okra; crawfish and shrimp croquettes, and of course, beignets for dessert.

Szechuan Mansion Hotpot

746 Ninth St.

Attention hotpot fans: A Cary favorite has expanded, opening a second location close to Duke. A warm and welcoming interior features rows of hotpot tables where you can share an interactive dining experience with a group or on a date—each person dips and cooks their own thinly sliced meat, chopped vegetables and seafood in a delicious, seasoned broth. This location also has a few tables outside. And for even more filling and flavorful Szechuan dishes, check out their take-out menu with appetizers, soups, spicy dry and boiled pots and traditional Szechuan desserts.

ThaiAngle

200 N. Mangum St., Ste. 101

What used to be a popular downtown Mexican restaurant (Dos Perros) has taken on new life as ThaiAngle, serving rich and masterful Thai dishes. Of course, you’ll find your favorites like panang curry, spicy beef, drunken noodles and fried rice, but you’ll also be delighted to try their Chef’s choice entrees and seafood dishes utilizing traditional cooking methods and flavors. The interior is warmly decorated with art from the family’s homeland, and large windows overlook the buzz of downtown.

The Common Market

1821 Green St.

This successful Charlotte-based deli, bar and bottle shop has brought its funky charm to the Bull City. The Common Market in Durham is a split-level, food hall-type setting with the ground floor dedicated to an all-day bodega-style deli, local coffee shop Mid Bloom Coffee and beloved Durham ice cream maker, The Parlour Junior! The basement level boasts a bar and bottle shop with craft beer and wine, and the main market area sells snacks and small giftable items. An open-concept dining area with windows that open to the outside makes this Ninth Street spot a fun hangout for families for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Topgolf

4901 Topgolf Way

Conveniently situated between Durham and Raleigh, the newest location for this restaurant/bar/entertainment venue promises to be a hole in one. With three different levels, there is plenty of room for groups and crowds looking to have a good time in their 100 climate-controlled outdoor hitting bays, each with their own HDTV, on the rooftop terrace with fire pits, or inside with a cocktail and bar bites watching the 28-foot video wall. This is Topgolf’s third location in the state, with the first two North Carolina locations in Charlotte.

Torero's Mexican Restaurant

604 Fernway Dr.

Torero's Mexican Restaurant, a beloved, family-friendly Durham staple for authentic Mexican cuisine since 1993, reopened in the Warehouse District/West Village apartment building following a move from its original location on the corner of Main and Duke Street in the Brightleaf area. You’ll have to visit often to make your way through their huge menu with equally large portions.

Twisted Ladder

8 Davis Dr.

This bright, airy, casual, counter-service café is new to Research Triangle Park (RTP), and features handcrafted bowls, salads, sandwiches, toasts, smoothies and sweet treats. It’s a perfect location for business lunch meetings, catching up with a friend, or grabbing a happy hour beer before heading home.

The Velvet Hippo

119 Orange St.

On weekends, you don’t have to leave Fido behind when visiting this new neighborhood bar downtown. The Velvet Hippo, an homage to the owner’s love of dogs, offers a breezy rooftop oasis with a view, glistening signature cocktails, boozy slushes, draft IPAs, small bites and fun events like karaoke. “Yappy Hours” are Saturday and Sunday, 12-6 p.m. Since dogs are not permitted indoors, they get their very own VIP staircase. Star treatment for all!

Urban Noodle

4104 Surles Ct., #4

Ramen has become a growing trend for good reason – nothing beats the comfort of a filling bowl of noodles swimming in a rich, creamy broth. Even in a fast-casual setting, Urban Noodle leaves a lasting impression thanks to the attention to special ingredients like the bone broth in the Tonkotsu ramen made from the chef’s family recipe, and the fact that they sear the pork belly on each order, adding just the right amount of char. You will also find an array of Asian-fusion items on the starters menu, like well-portioned steamed buns and kimchi fries. Their convenient location on NC Hwy 54 makes it an easy stop for those in RTP or commuting from Raleigh.

Zweli’s Kitchen

905 W. Main St., Ste. 19C

Zweli’s has been on the move this year—from opening a brand-new Zimbabwean restaurant in American Tobacco (Zweli’s Ekhaya, which appeared on Yelp's "Top 25 Hot & New Black-Owned Restaurants to Celebrate and Support," earlier this year) to moving their flagship restaurant from a strip mall off 15-501 to the center of Durham as part of Brightleaf Square’s revitalized foodie transformation. If you’ve missed Zweli’s classic dishes during their move, you will be thrilled to get your hands on more Piri Piri chicken, vegetarian samosas, braised oxtails, and their addictive dovi peanut sauce that brings simple sides like collards and rice to the next level.

If you’re enjoying some down time this summer, why not spend it at one of these new local spots? You might just find your next favorite coffee, ice cream, burrito, pizza or burger along the way.

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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.

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