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Your Essential Brunch Guide to Durham

In a food city like Durham, it can be hard to know where to begin. Plan your Durham dining tour using this essential guide as a starting point for some of Durham’s best brunch spots.

Durham’s beer and cocktail scene receives national attention regularly, but it’s no secret that our city’s coffee shops get everyone going each day, attracting visitors and residents with warm and inviting atmospheres and comforting and creative coffee drinks and pastries.

Cocoa Cinnamon is a beloved coffee shop with three locations across Durham. Stop in for delicious drinks made with house-roasted Little Waves Coffee and a locally made pastry. Choose the Lakewood location to enjoy freshly made churros rolled in flavored sugars on the patio, or settle into ample seating with your laptop. To see and be seen with a Vogue-approved coffee soda or trendy shaken latte, settle in amid the mid-century modern décor in the lobby at The Durham Hotel. If you’re looking to caffeinate in South Durham, stop at People’s Coffee, serving Triangle-based Black & White Coffee.

If you’re a grab-and-go breakfast person, downtown’s Loaf Bakery is your stop for flaky, crisp woodfired croissants and scones for breakfast, or grab a savory flatbread and legendary pecan chocolate chip cookie any time of day. We’re lucky to have some of the best bagels south of the Mason-Dixon Line at Isaac’s Bagels. Get there early, and don’t skip the takeout menu of signature sandwiches.

A couple enjoys coffee outside Cocoa Cinnamon on Geer Street in Durham, NC.

Cocoa Cinnamon Geer Street. Photo: Eric Waters / Discover Durham

For a more substantial breakfast Tuesday-Saturday, order a breakfast sandwich on a bagel or a biscuit, avocado toast or a breakfast burrito at Monuts, and don’t forget the homemade donuts. The continental vibe at Press Coffee, Crepes and Cocktails on the iconic American Tobacco Campus, voted one of Durham’s best new restaurants in 2022, immediately sets the tone for a fancy, relaxed weekend brunch. Go ahead and order a sweet crepe for the table. A breakfast/brunch staple in Durham for more than 25 years, Guglhupf Bakery Café & Biergarten has one of the best outdoor seating patios in town.

My personal favorite picks for an “if you know, you know” Durham breakfast are: a quick weekday stop for a breakfast taco at Lady Gold Tacos or a Sunday morning breakfast burrito from the Hatch Breakfast Burritos pop-up at Gocciolina (check both Instagram accounts for availability – Hatch and Lady Gold).

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