Durham, N.C.: A hot spot that remains stubbornly itself
For those of us who fondly remember 1990s Durham, the city’s current energy level “still takes some getting used to,” said Bronwen Dickey in Garden & Gun. Downtown, formerly empty tobacco warehouses now house artisan bakeries and sushi bars, while university students mix with families and skater boys on the once deserted streets. Luckily, “Durham will always be Durham”—scrappy at heart and “a little off-kilter” no matter how many more names it adds to its list of great places to eat.
Rose’s Meat Market & Sweet Shop If it’s Wednesday in Durham, it’s time to line up for ramen at this husband-andwife operation. The pork bones come from the local pigs Justin Meddis breaks down and sells as chops and tenderloins and in sausage sandwiches. The shop’s “equally adored” baked goods, created by Katie Meddis, include housemade ice cream sandwiches and salted-caramel ginger apple hand pies. 121 N. Gregson St., (919) 797-2233
Saltbox Seafood Joint Ricky Moore worked in some top Parisian and New York City kitchens before deciding to create an urban fish camp in downtown Durham. It’s outdoor seating only for Moore’s “blissfully simple” seafood, like fresh perch lightly batter-fried and served with slaw and crispy potatoes. Don’t miss the hush puppies with spiced honey. 608 N. Mangum St., (919) 908-8970
Scratch Phoebe Lawless’ modest breakfast-and-lunch place merits a stop-in first for her sinfully good Southern pies—like brown-butter pecan and buttermilk sweet potato. But Scratch also serves a “bang-up” Sunday brunch, at which the main attraction is a build-your-own buttermilk biscuit bar. 111 Orange St., (919) 956-5200