Breakfast, lunch and dinner – what's your Durham favorite?

The Washington Post recently published an article titled, "If you only have time to eat three meals in Durham, N.C., make sure they’re here." They chose Monuts, Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop and The Durham. The president and CEO of the Durham
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The Washington Post recently published an article titled, "If you only have time to eat three meals in Durham, N.C., make sure they’re here." They chose Monuts, Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop and The Durham. The president and CEO of the Durham
By

Durham County

Are you looking for a memorable day of eating in Durham? Here are our readers’ picks

By Joe Johnson

jjohnson@heraldsun.com

January 23, 2018 01:07 PM

DURHAM

When we asked readers of The Herald-Sun to help determine the best places for a day of eating in Durham, the rules were simple – name the best combination of breakfast, lunch and dinner offered in the Bull City.

There were 41 individual responses and their recommendations were as varied as the menu offerings from the establishments. And what better time to celebrate Durham’s culinary excellence than during “Triangle Restaurant Week,” which runs through Sunday, Jan. 28

In all, 69 restaurants received votes. Some were named as lunch or dinner choices and a couple even got a nod for all three meals in a day.

Kathryn Kennedy gave us Loaf for breakfast, Old Havana Sandwich Shop for lunch and Mateo Tapas for dinner “with many, many other spots earning honorable mentions,” she said via Twitter.

Katie Jackson Mgongolwa gave her picks as True Flavors Diner for breakfast, Beyu Caffe for a latte, Saltbox Seafood Joint for lunch and The Palace International for dinner.

“One great part of Durham is the amazing black-owned restaurants!” she said.

One respondent said the dearth of vegan options in Durham had him heading to Chapel Hill more often than not.

“Living Kitchen in Chapel Hill or Whole Foods in Durham. Otherwise, no real options for us vegans where we can be confident that we’re not getting any animal ingredients,” said Christopher Ross.

So here are the results.

Two restaurants tied for the most mentions – Elmo’s Diner and Parker and Otis – each receiving eight mentions. It’s not surprising given their loyal following and reputation for great food. Elmo’s was one of the restaurants that somebody said could take care of all three meals. And being a diner, it probably could.

The Refectory Cafe came in next with five mentions.

In the next group of favorites, each was named on four ballots – Mateo Tapas, True Flavors Diner, Saltbox Seafood Joint, Monuts and Rise. There were 16 others that got at least two mentions.

We also had some write-ins for dessert, a category we didn’t include. But there’s always room for dessert, right? Think The Parlour or The Cupcake Bar.

One restaurant that is not yet open – Kickback Jack’s – also got a nod. We can only imagine that the food there will be tremendous. It is going into the space formerly occupied by Tripp’s near Northgate Mall.

When we started this project, we were spurred by a Washington Post article that took a similar snapshot of Durham’s food scene.

Diane Daniel, who once lived in Durham but now calls Eindhoven, the Netherlands her home base for freelance writing, took the original challenge for the Post. She said she was looking for restaurants that were second acts from trailblazers and wanted to go beyond the tried-and-true Durham restaurants. Daniel came up with Monuts, Rose’s Meat Market and Sweet Shop and The Durham.

“The places I highlighted needed to be Version 2 from an already established place or chef,” Daniel said. “I actually had several to choose from in each category except breakfast. Narrowing it down was agonizing.”

So let’s keep the conversation going.

Joe Johnson: 919-419-6678, @JEJ_HSNews