No one loves Durham more than a Durham native. So excuse my gushing, but Durham has it all. All of it. Everything. It has been a joy and a privilege to grow up here and watch the city grow up with me. In the past decade, Durham’s downtown scene has flourished into a glorious foodie paradise. I’m from the area and still good eats abound that I have yet to explore. (A few of my tried and true favorites include Dame’s Chicken and Waffles, Elmo’s Diner, and Beyu Caffe–yes I love breakfast and coffee…– and a few I want to try: Cocoa Cinnamon, Only Burger, and Monuts Donuts)
I always love experiencing downtown in all of its beautiful exposed-brick-glory, so one weekend I ventured home (all of twenty minutes) to enjoy some good company and good food with my parents and aunt and uncle, who were down from Richmond.
First, I stopped into Respite to spend a few hours in solitary confinement to get some Actual Work done (read: procrastination via coffee and blogging), and I must admit, it’s not a bad place to be stuck on a Saturday afternoon. The coffee shop is located a bit off the beaten path on N. Duke Street, so it offers a refreshingly quiet setting away from hustle and bustle, although it’s only a stone’s throw from Brightleaf Square and Durham School of the Arts. Indoors, Respite is colorful and eclectic, with a still modern but semi-retro vibe and a variety of seating from tables to couches to a bar at the window. Respite brews from Carrboro Coffee Roasters and supports local, sustainable vendors.
Later that evening my family and I got dinner at Alivia’s, where we could sit outside and bask in the new (and extremely delayed) spring weather. Great outdoor seating and a large projection of the NCAA tournament made it a great hangout spot (I’m a fan of the little mini fire pits, not so much of the abundance of Duke students). And I certainly enjoyed to slight 1920’s decor and my grown-up grilled cheese (because everything’s better with avocado).