Top 5: Durham Local Eateries

by Holly Riddle

Feb 13, 2019

© Sean Pavone | Dreamstime

Top 5 / North America

Durham’s restaurant scene is exploding. The downtown area welcomed dozens of new restaurants in the last few years, ranging greatly in style, price and cuisine. Here are five favorites you’ll want to try on your next visit.


Jack Tar and The Colonel’s Daughter

Named after the Jack Tar Motor Lodge, which sat in this location during the height of automobile travel throughout the United States, Jack Tar and The Colonel’s Daughter is an upscale diner with all your classic favorites and a few surprises, too. Try the double cheeseburgers (with caramelized onions and jalapeños on a benne seed bun); Szechuan peppercorn hot chicken; or a mammoth breakfast, the Ham + Eggs, with a side of coffee cake. The house-smoked ham is melt-in-your-mouth good and huge to boot, served alongside a healthy helping of down-home grits and two sunny-side-up eggs.



This eatery is in a more residential area of downtown Durham and it’s easy to see why this is a local favorite. The budget-friendly eatery is casual and you order at the counter before picking your table from the selections lining the outer walls. The center of the space is taken up by a bar. The menu includes light and healthy lunch and breakfast options, as well as amazing donuts with unique flavor combinations.


Geer Street Garden

Reclaiming a former gas station, Geer Street Garden received high praise from well-known foodie publications. The cozy restaurant, with its small dining space, patio and bar, serves up well-made cocktails, like the Whiskey Business (habanero bourbon, lemon juice, ginger) and a selection of Southern favorites, like the fried chicken plate, which comes with a heaping mound of mashed potatoes, gravy and collard greens.


Rue Cler

This Parisian-style café, restaurant and bakery is a local favorite. Casual, yet upscale, you can find all your French favorites on the menu, plus some newer, daily options. The wine list is extensive, and the brunch options are impressive. For vegetarian diners, you can’t go wrong with the vegetarian crepe du jour.



Think North Carolina is all Southern food? Think again. Dashi is a Japanese ramen shop and bar highly lauded for its authentic flavors. Saddle up to the ramen bar and enjoy a filling bowl of your favorite variety, served with chopsticks (no forks or spoons here).

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