“Where’s a good place to eat around here?” is probably the most common question we get when guests are checking in at Duke Tower.
We have a hard time giving a short answer because you have so many choices about dining when you are staying at Duke Tower Hotel.
If you are interested in breakfast, we should first mention our own Historic Tower Cafe. The Tower Cafe is located in the large tower in the center of our courtyard. We serve a continental breakfast of gourmet coffee, tea, hot chocolate, bagels, cream cheese/jelly, large muffins, hard-boiled eggs (peeled), yogurt, bananas, oranges, juice and milk (plain and flavored for the kids). The breakfast is all-you-can-eat and is open from 6:00 AM until 10:00 AM daily, $5/adult, $2.50/child under 12. (No cash–we add this to your bill.) We play relaxing classical music and have the New York Times delivered daily to the Tower Cafe for your reading pleasure. You can also examine the historic photos we have on the walls of the property when it was a cotton mill. After breakfast hours, the Tower Cafe is open with complimentary instant coffee, tea and hot chocolate. Nothing gives us more pleasure than seeing guests lingering over a cup of coffee during the morning, reading the Times.
Beyond breakfast, there are numerous excellent restaurants near Duke Tower, many within walking distance. Durham is known as the culinary center of the Research Triangle area. Durham restaurants are excellent and a big draw for people coming in from Raleigh/Cary, Chapel Hill and beyond. Some Durham restaurants are known nationally.
For the purpose of this blog, let’s talk first and foremost about the dining options at Historic Brightleaf Square. This is a ten to fifteen minute walk from Duke Tower and a 3 minute car drive. Turn left out of the parking lot, then take a left at the second light, Gregson Street. Brightleaf Square is four blocks on the right, with a parking area on the left. You can’t miss it.
In and around Brightleaf you will find a variety of restaurants, including:
- Amelia Café
- Chamas (Brazilian Steakhouse)
- Down Under Pub (Pub Fare)
- El Rodeo (Mexican)
- Fishmongers (Seafood)
- Mount Fuji (Asian Bistro)
- Palermo Deli (Deli)
- Piazza Italia (Italian)
- Rainbow Chinese (Chinese)
- Satisfaction (Pizza & Burgers)
- Taverna Nikos (Greek)
- Toreros (Mexican)
At many of these restaurants, you can eat outdoors in the courtyard area. On Friday nights in good weather they often have live music and dancing.
Also in the Brightleaf area is Anotherthyme, a natural foods restaurant, Devine’s Sports Bar, and Pop’s, an upscale, contemporary American restaurant. James Joyce is a popular Irish pub on Main Street. Federal Lounge, also on Main Street, is a lounge, bar and restaurant.
If you asked us for our recommendations, it of course depends upon what you want to eat and your budget. For simple fare, we would suggest Satisfaction, where we’ve had many a good pizza. We love Nikos for the Greek food, if you’re in the mood for that. We’ve enjoyed Piazza Italia several times, especially the al fresco dining. If you are really hungry, the all-you-can-eat meat extravaganza at Chamas will definitely leave you satisfied. Probably our overall favorite is Pop’s, where we have had many good meals over the years with good friends.
It is a short drive to Brightleaf and certainly walkable. There is plenty of parking and the area is safe.
In future blogs, we will explore other dining options around Durham. The main point I would like to leave you with is that dining options abound when you stay at Duke Tower. The Brightleaf Square area is full of excellent, reasonably priced restaurants. Get out and give them a try!