Boston HO here, with a request. I find myself in Durham NC for about 3 weeks in mid-late September with lots of time on my hands. Anything chowish? BBQ and Southern recs? I recall Mama Dips in Chapel Hill from 20 years ago but reviews are mixed. Cheap eats? Also, given the harvest bounty during this season, is there anything farm-to-table that you like?
Thanks in advance
Hey, should in t you call this thread HOish eats?
Mama Dips has closed. I’m not a pork eater, so I don’t have any experience with local bbq places. Could recommend non-Southern places if you’re interested.
The barbecue scene in the Triangle has picked up a lot recently. I have not been to Prime in Knightdale, east of Raleigh, which is celebrated for its brisket. I have been to Longleaf Swine (good pork - they use a QR cue so you can’t get fatty brisket; relatively pricey), Picnic (very good pork), Sam Jones very good pork and chicken - my favorite in town, Backyard BBQ Pit (good pork and soul food), The Pit (the Raleigh one is better than Durham). Each of these is written up in johntannersbbq blog. I very highly recommend Stephenson’s in southern Wake County, a little off I-40. The pork and chicken are terrific. There’s new Midwood – see my Charlotte reviews. A long time local place is Coopers, but they aren’t all wood
LOL. comes from my Chowhound days.
Thanks John: Very useful and I love your site.
Thanks Kari: Sure. I’m there long enough that my arteries can’t take solely BBQ/southern.
Thanks, gourmaniac! If you have time for any day trips, there’s a lot of NC information.
Oh – we often go to the Glenwood Grill off Glenwood at Oberlin in Raleigh. It’s a nice upscale-ish neighborhood place with good non-bbq offerings near m y older brother’s house. I always get seafood there.
I was in the area for a 4-week project, didn’t love picnic but it was soon after it opened, I believe they have new owners. I liked The Pig quite a bit, a little uneven but had some otherworldly pork there. I liked beasley’s for chicken and waffles. A really, really bad thing to do is to try some of the chicken biscuit breakfast/lunch sandwiches: neals, rise, sunrise. Rise was so good, I had to drive a different route to work to avoid it.
I’m thankful I got to the original allen and sons, I’ve eaten in some of the best restaurants in the world, it would be an easy choice between allen and son and say le bernadin.
I can personally recommend Picnic and Hillsborough BBQ for BBQ places. Also take a look at the NC Historic Barbecue Trail for other reviews across the state.
For other Southern-inspired restaurants, I like Harvest 18 (not much in the way of ambience, but the Shrimp and Grits and Pork Shank are great). They’re also farm-to-table, so that hits your other request as well.
Local 22 would hit the farm-to-table as well.
Hi RP! Good to see you here. Local 22 is a good suggestion.
Many thanks for these. keep em coming. Will try to get to Sam Jones in Raleigh on the weekend and Littler (Durham)near where I’m staying. i’ll report back.
I haven’t eaten at Littler since the pandemic, but loved the meals I had there. M Sushi is also wonderful.
Thanks all for your recs. In Durham for a few days and have tried Littler and Local 22. Both are very good in their own way. Littler is a small place, chef owned (i think) with a excellent sensibility RE farm to table and letting these fresh ingredients sing. We had the tomato salad, cauliflower with smoked gouda, molasses brined pork and flounder schnitzel and a prickly pear granita with blueberry compote for dessert. My partner enjoyed her pork and I thought that the meat around the rib bone was especially delicious. My panko encrusted flounder (it is the beginning of flounder sport fishing season) was excellent, with the encrusting giving a firm texture while the fish was perfectly moist. The garnishes for the fish (green pepper salad and pickled shallots) were especially wonderful, emphasizing the quality of the produce, especially so for the cauliflower. The place was filled in its first seating and booked fully for its second with a number of special occasion groups. Service was excellent and accommodation for food sensitivities by server and chef were as well. It is a little pricey (150 with a single glass of wine) but not much different than a higher end place in Boston, and overall a great experience.
Local 22 is a gastropub, convenient for a visit to the Duke Botanical Gardens on a beautiful day. Our burger with fries and beet salad with salmon were both very good and good value. Service was kind and courteous (a nice feel of southern hospitality for this northern boy) including a fan at our table to keep away the flies attracted to our food. Also visited the Durham farmers market before this and got excellent arugula and radishes though the late summer corn was a disappointment. Big lines at the bakeries; they looked great but didn’t try (partner is gluten sensitive). Lots of free samples to taste and again folks were just so nice.
More to come (BBQ and seafood joints this week).
Speaking of bakeries, although I guess your partner won’t be able to indulge, please go to Loaf!
Thanks all. Finally coming up for air from work duties while here. Mostly eating at my airbnb but a couple of things to report. Glenwood grill was just OK. i had a seafood and grits that was tasty with good scallops, but too much sauce and not enough grits for me. All fine but not worth a 30 min drive. Sam Jones was good, especially the ribs and chicken (dark meat). i found the smoked turkey and pulled pork just Ok. I was looking forward to the latter from a hole hog but it seemed dry and not especially smokey (vinegar sauce helped). Perhaps just not my thing. I enjoyed a chicken biscuit with a runny egg and white gravy from Rise Biscuit and could get two meals out of it. I was hosted for a delicious roasted rainbow trout served with a2006 Puligny Montrachet at a friend’s home. The fish is from Seafood market on Fenton (Raleigh), excellent freshness and the wine of course knocked it out of the park. Maybe So Forking Good, Prime BBQ and the Washington Duke Inn for the atmosphere before I leave. Any suggestions at these three? thanks in advance
Thanks for reporting back. And as for the WaDuke, just go for a drink. Not worth eating there at all.
Thanks Kari: Duly noted. Also, I really like the Durham Farmers market on Saturdays. Great produce, nice people. The baked goods and breads looked fantastic. One issue was the corn tasted tough like it was feed corn (maybe too late in the season here).