Posted by: duketower | January 21, 2010

Ninth Street Dining Options

Ninth Street is a pedestrian-friendly, old-fashioned shopping neighborhood located two blocks from Duke University’s East Campus in the Old West Durham Neighborhood. Offering an exceptional blend of locally-owned specialty shops and restaurants, Ninth Street is a great place for lunch or dinner during your stay at Duke Tower Hotel & Condominiums.

It’s an easy walk (in good weather) from Duke Tower to Ninth Street. See the map, below, and note that you can cut straight across Duke’s East Campus while walking, even though the map shows walking around East Campus.

From Duke Tower (A) to Ninth Street (B)

Alternatively, our free shuttle service will take you and pick you up from Ninth Street 24-hours per day. Call our shuttle driver at 919-323-1745.

The following is a list of restaurants, cafe, eateries and other establishments in the Ninth Street area:

Bruegger’s Bagels, 626 Ninth Street, 919-286-7897.
Sixteen varieties of bagels baked fresh all day every day. Scrumptious cream cheeses, deli-style sandwiches, smoothies, homemade soups, and desert bars. Open seven days a week.

Bahn’s Cuisine Chinese, 750 Ninth Street, 919-286-5073
Vietnamese and Chinese fast food Monday through Friday. Vietnamese home cooking on Saturdays.

Blue Coffee Company, Coffee/pastry, 714 Ninth Street, 919-416-3133.

Blue Corn Cafe, 716-B Ninth Street, 919-286-9600
Latin American cuisine. Specializing in homemade meals. All fresh food. Offering homemade flan.
Serving lunch and dinner.

Bali-Hai Mongolian Restaurant, Mongolian, 811 Ninth Street, 919-416-0200

Charlie’s Neighborhood Bar & Grille, 758 Ninth Street, 919-286-4446

Cafe at the Regulator, 720 Ninth Street, 919-286-2700, mail@regbook.com
Wonderful coffees, teas, smoothies, bagels, soups, sandwiches, salads and baked goods. All this and free high speed internet connection if you want to work or play online.

Dale’s Indian Cuisine, 811 Ninth Street, 919-286-1760

Elmo’s Diner, 776 Ninth Street, 919-416-3823, elmo@elmosdiner.com Family diner featuring breakfast all the time, meat and veggie plates, burgers, sandwiches, and more. Hours: 6:30 am – 10 pm Sunday – Thursday, 6:30 am – 11 pm Friday – Saturday

Francesca’s Dessert Café, 706-B Ninth Street, 919-286-4177
Café atmosphere serving Italian ice creams, pastries, espresso, cappuccino, and lattes all made in our shop. Whole cakes and pastries can be delivered. Independently owned and operated.

Open till 11:30 P.M. Sunday through Thursday, till midnight Friday and Saturday.

International Delights, 740 Ninth Street, 919-286-2884.
The best Philly steak and chicken subs; Middle Eastern food: gyros, falafel, hommos, tabouleh, kabobs, salads and the best desserts.

Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, 738 Ninth Street, 919-286-5383.
Gourmet sandwich shop. Delivery and catering available. 11 am – 2 am Friday – Saturday .

McDonald’s Drug Store, 732 Ninth Street, 919-286-1115
1916 drug store featuring old-fashioned soda fountain.

Magnolia Grill, Fine Dining, 1002 Ninth Street, 919-286-3609 Bold, imaginative cuisine from nationally-acclaimed chefs Ben and Karen Barker. Ranked #11 in Gourmet Magazine’s Top 50 American Restaurants. Hours: Open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

Metro 8 Steakhouse, 746 9th Street. (919) 416-1700. ‎

Peek-A-Boo’s Bar & Grill, 754 Ninth Street, 919-416-1225
Gourmet burger, fries, etc. Best hot dogs in Durham.
Hours: 11 am – 11 pm Monday – Thursday, 11 am – 2 am Friday – Saturday

Torero’s, Mexican Restaurant, 748 Ninth Street

Eno Cafe, 621 Broad Street, 919-286-2290 Located in Whole Foods Market. Cafe hours: 7:30 am – 8 pm

Ben & Jerry’s, 609 Broad Street, 919-416-6128.
More than 40 euphoric flavors of super-premium ice cream, low-fat ice cream, yogurt, and sorbet to tantalize your taste buds. Ice cream cakes, sundaes, shakes, and more. Open till 11 P.M. Sunday through Thursday, till midnight Friday and Saturday.

Cosmic Cantina, 1920 Perry Street, 919-286-1875
Mexican food, California style. Low-fat foods, organic ingredients.

The Lounge, 1920 Perry Street, 919-286-7441
Part of the Cosmic Cantina. Open 6 pm to 2 am. Offers full menu from Cosmic Cantina.

Char-Burger, 1807 W. Markham Avenue

The Sirens Lounge, 1803 W. Markham Avenue, 919-416-6684.  Bar featuring cocktail lounge and dance floor. Live music. Daily specials.
Hours: 5 pm – 2 am Monday – Saturday

Mad Hatter’s Cafe and Bakeshop, 1802 W. Main Street, 919-286-1987

Cinelli’s Ristorante, 607 Broad Street, 919-416-4554.

Posted by: duketower | December 29, 2009

Duke Tower Dining Options at the Nearby American Tobacco Campus

Downtown Durham with the American Tobacco Campus on the Left

The American Tobacco Campus has become a centerpiece of downtown Durham’s renaissance and has many good restaurants offering a variety of food and drink.  Located less than one mile from Duke Tower Hotel & Condominiums, the American Tobacco Historic District, as it is also known, is within easy walking distance or a short ride away from Duke Tower Hotel. Our free shuttle service, which normally goes to Duke University and Medical Center,  will be happy to make a slight detour to take you over to American Tobacco Campus and pick you up after your meal or entertainment.

The Mellow Mushroom

At American Tobacco, you will have a number of dining options to choose from. One of our personal favorites is the Mellow Mushroom, a sort of sixties-themed pizza joint. Be sure and try their “Gourmet White”, “Magical Mystery Tour” or “Kosmic Karma” pizzas.

Tyler's Tap Room

A favorite of many of our guests, especially those from Europe, is Tyler’s Tap Room, undoubtedly due to the great selection of beers they have. If you are going to enjoy Tyler’s Tap Room, you will undoubtedly want to use our free shuttle service.  If you are there now, have had a few beers and are reading this blog because you’ve forgotten the shuttle driver’s number, here it is: 919-323-1745. Call him!

If you are in the mood for Japanese or Thai food, you’ll like Cafe Zen Sushi and Asian Bistro.They offer reasonably priced sushi, yakitori, tempura and other Japanese specialities, along with a variety of spicier Thai dishes, such as Tom Yum soup with shrimp, one of our favorites.

Cuban Revolution

For food with a Latin flavor, check out Cuban Revolution, the newest restaurant in American Tobacco, having opened in the summer of 2009. They offer Cuban food with a political twist, such as “The JFK”, “The Fidel” and “The Bay of Pigs” in an atmosphere they describe as “1950’s Havana”. One newspaper said, “Their Cuban coffee was enough reason for this place to exist.”

For mid-day lighter fare, check out Saladelia, which brings the flavor of the Mediterranean to Durham. Saladelia combines Lebanese and Greek cuisine in sandwiches, wraps, salads and desserts. They pride themselves on buying from local farmers and using natural and organic ingredients wherever possible. Saladelia is open 7:30AM to 5:30PM Monday through Friday at American Tobacco.

American Tobacco's "River"

In addition to dining options, the American Tobacco area has become quite a destination in and of itself. Many corporate, educational and non-profit organizations, including IBM, Glaxo-Smith Kline, Renesas, Duke University and North Carolina Public Radio, have large offices in American Tobacco.

American Tobacco’s design and landscaping has collected industry awards for their innovative and beautiful use of the space. The combination of historic buildings with modern urban chic is unlike any office space in the Triangle. Seasonal landscaping, especially in spring, fall, and at Christmas make the campus a destination for sightseers.

The American Tobacco area has also become an entertainment destination. During the warm summer months on Friday evenings, they often have free live entertainment outside in the center of the campus under the water tower.

Bay 7

Bay 7 is popular as a rentable location for weddings, parties and other gatherings, such as charity events. The Durham Bulls Athletic Park, home to the Durham Bulls, is right across the street, as is the new Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC). Many people go for a meal or a drink before a game or performance, or stop by afterward for a nightcap. For any of the events in the American Tobacco Campus area, our shuttle service will provide you with a free ride to and from your destination.

We look forward to your visit to Duke Tower Hotel and the many fine restaurants we have in our vicinity. We look forward to serving you and hope to see you soon.

Posted by: duketower | December 3, 2009

Duke Basketball Season is Off and Running Again

The Duke Blue Devils vs. the UNC Tar Heels at Cameron Indoor Stadium

College basketball season is upon us again and, as a hotel near Cameron Indoor Stadium, our thoughts at Duke Tower Hotel & Condominiums naturally turn to the Duke Blue Devils. Duke basketball is continually ranked as one of the top programs in the country. Games are usually sold out far in advance, although now with the Internet and such sites as StubHub, it seems that tickets are easier to come by, especially for people who live some distance from Durham.

Here is the Duke Blue Devils’ men’s basketball home game schedule for the 2009-2010 season:

  • Saturday, December 05 Duke vs. St. John’s
  • Tuesday, December 15 Duke vs. Gardner-Webb
  • Tuesday, December 29 Duke vs. Long Beach State
  • Thursday, December 31 Duke vs. Pennsylvania
  • Sunday, January 03 Duke vs. Clemson
  • Wednesday, January 13 Duke vs. Boston College
  • Sunday, January 17 Duke vs. Wake Forest
  • Wednesday, January 27 Duke vs. Florida State
  • Thursday, February 04 Duke vs. Georgia Tech
  • Saturday, February 13 Duke vs. Maryland
  • Sunday, February 21 Duke vs. Virginia Tech
  • Thursday, February 25 Duke vs. Tulsa
  • Saturday, March 6 Duke vs. North Carolina

The Blue Devils’ coach, Mike Krzyzewski, or Coach K as he is called, is respected as one of the top coaches in the game,  listed 19th overall among Sporting New Magazine’s list of the 50 greatest coaches of all-time. As coach of the 2008 Beijing Olympics USA basketball team, Coach K led the “Redeem Team” to a gold medal.

Duke's Coach K and UNC's Roy Williams

For the London Olympics in 2012, Coach K has signed up for another three year tour of duty with the nation’s team. First, he will direct Team USA in the 2010 world championships in Turkey and then the 2012 Olympics in London. If the United States does not win the 2010 world championship, the team also will have to participate in an Olympic qualifying tournament in 2011.

With UNC-Chapel Hill only 8 miles away, the Carolina Tar Heels, under Coach Roy Williams, represent another great basketball tradition. In particular, the Carolina-Duke basketball game as been called “the greatest rivalry in college sports” and rivals the Super Bowl for attention in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. When you are in the Triangle area, you are in the mecca of college basketball.

Here at Duke Tower, we have many hotel guests who come into Durham solely for the purpose of attending a Duke basketball game, staying a night or two with us. Duke Tower is quite close to Cameron Indoor Stadium–only about 2.5 miles (see the map here)–so it is only about an 8 minute drive over to Cameron. (And we are only about 12 miles to the Dean Smith Center for UNC basketball fans. See the map here.)

Furthermore, we offer a free Cameron Indoor Stadium shuttle service. We will take guests for free over to the game and pick them up afterward. You will not have to hassle with driving, parking and the traffic. If it is your first visit to Duke, you do not have to worry about finding Cameron. You can sit back, relax and enjoy the Cameron Indoor Stadium experience.

But it is not just for the basketball games that people come to Duke Tower. We have had high school coaches stay with us who come to the Coach K Basketball Coaches Clinic and others who are going to the K Academy College Basketball Fantasy Camp, the Coach K/Duke Basketball Camp, the Fuqua Business School/Coach K Leadership Conference or being tested at the Coach K Lab on Human Performance. We have had fans who come outside of basketball season just to walk onto the court at Cameron Indoor Stadium, which you can usually do, unattended.

If you are coming to see your team play the Blue Devils, you fans from visiting teams are of course welcome to stay with us. Rest assured, we will give you the same warm, friendly and efficient service as we do our Blue Devil fans. We will charge you the same, reasonable rates ($85/night for a regular suite, $95/night for a premium suite) as we do Duke fans. However, we will certainly have some good conversations about our respective teams. We can all gather for breakfast in the Historic Tower Cafe and discuss the previous night’s game, and celebrate or commiserate, as appropriate.

This season the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament will be held Thursday, March 11 through  Saturday, March 14, 2010 in Greensboro, North Carolina, which is only about one hour away. We invite all Blue Devil and ACC basketball fans to stay at Duke Tower for the ACC Tournament. As we say, “Stay in a condo, not in a hotel.” It’s worth the one-hour drive.

If you are considering a visit to see the Blue Devils play, or simply to visit Cameron Indoor Stadium, one of the temples of basketball,  we hope you will consider staying with us at Duke Tower Hotel & Condominiums.

Posted by: duketower | November 25, 2009

Duke Tower Welcomes Phantom of the Opera to Durham and the DPAC

Duke Tower Hotel & Condominiums is pleased to welcome the cast and crew of the Phantom of the Opera to Durham and the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC). As one of the hotels closest to the DPAC, we will be the accommodation of choice for many visitors coming to see Phantom from out of town or even locals just looking to get away from it all for an evening.

Duke Tower is proud to also be the hotel for the cast and crew of Phantom during their month-long stay in Durham.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s blockbuster The Phantom of the Opera returns to North Carolina with its DPAC premiere on Thanksgiving Day and running for 32 performances, through December 20, 2009. This multi-week engagement of Phantom is the first appearance in the region since 2004.

The US Tour of the production of Phantom, directed by Harold Prince, opened at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle on December 13, 1992. To date, 73 cities in North America have hosted 179 engagements of the show.

With some of the most lavish sets, costumes and special effects ever to have been created for the stage, Phantom traces the tragic love story of a beautiful opera singer and a young composer shamed by his physical appearance into a shadowy existence beneath the majestic Paris Opera House. Adapted from Gaston Leroux’s classic novel of mystery and suspense, this award-winning musical has woven its magical spell over standing-room audiences in more than 100 cities worldwide and is now longest running show in Broadway history. Phantom comes to the Triangle to take your breath away.

The New York production of Phantom got a rave review recently from Bloomberg’s John Simon:

Broadway’s Phantom Still King of Romance, Chills

After 8,984 performances and with no end in sight, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 1988 hit The Phantom of the Opera survives into a ripe age that makes it deservedly Broadway’s longest-running musical as well as an international favorite.

Based on a 1911 novel by the French thriller writer Gaston Leroux, Lloyd Webber’s Phantom has spawned many a film and television version, what with its melding of romance, the supernatural and tunefulness, an irresistible trio. By now you hardly need a synopsis of this love triangle involving a masked ghost bedeviling the Paris Opera, the dashing young Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, and Christine Daae, the nascent diva torn between them.

Ghosts are always popular as proof of afterlife and source of pleasurable chills; handsome, amorous aristocrats are perfect vessels of female fantasy, just as ambivalent, pulchritudinous heroines in distress perform the same function for the male equivalent. Add the appeal of a masked protagonist and the pleasure of a hummable exit to the mix, and you can hardly miss.

We are pleased and excited that Phantom has chosen the DPAC for their month-long stay in North Carolina. If you are coming from out of town to see Phantom, we hope you will make make Duke Tower your choice for overnight accommodations. We will be offering a free shuttle service to and from the DPAC for all Phantom performances. We will also drop you off at one of our many nearby excellent restaurants for a pre- or post-performance dinner, then come pick you up. We aim to make your trip to Durham for Phantom a memorable experience that you will pleasantly recall for many years.

And don’t be surprised, while staying with us during that time, if you see a mysterious, partially masked figure lurking around our Tower on a foggy winter night!

Posted by: duketower | November 16, 2009

Duke Tower on Durham Art Walk November 21-22, 2009

Artwalk card

Duke Tower will be a stop on Durham ArtWalk 2009

We are pleased to announce that Duke Tower Hotel & Condominiums will be a stop along the Durham Art Walk, to be held Saturday and Sunday, November 21-22, 2009, rain or shine.

The Durham Art Walk is a unique art tour featuring artwork by over 400 artists. At Duke Tower, we will feature art by several local artists, including Robert Long, David Sparrow, Emma Godfrey/Tim Shepard and Liz Plonski.

Duke Tower is site number 35 on the map. We are near Claymakers on Foster Street and would be a convenient stop on your way to Brightleaf Square.

Artwalk logoDurham Art Walk celebrates the creative energy of Durham’s artists, arts organizations and downtown entrepreneurs by combining downtown spaces and businesses with local artists and performers in a unique showcase weekend. Unlike conventional studio tours, the Durham Art Walk places visual and performing artists in both traditional and unexpected sites throughout downtown Durham. Sites are within easy walking distance through newly renovated streetscapes and plazas.

Started by a group of downtown artists and businesses with support from the Durham Art Guild, the Durham Art Walk remains an un-juried event powered by a zest for transformation, experiment and surprise. From the visionary legacy of historic Parrish Street, to the courage of our newest businesses and youngest artists, Durham is built on innovation. Take a little walk, take a leap of faith and find out what Durham is all about.

Artwalk examples

Artwalk examples 2

The Durham Art Walk is presented and produced by the Durham Arts Council. This year Duke Tower is proud to be a Patron Sponsor of the Durham Art Walk. (Please see our logo at the bottom of the Art Walk website.)

Historic TowerWe will be providing food and soft drinks in the Historic Tower Cafe during the Art Walk, as well as having several of our Premium Suites open for visitors to see. We expect that many people will be visiting Duke Tower for the first time and we hope to give them a good first impression of our beautiful landscaped courtyard, our suites (especially the Premium Suites) and our facilities and services.

In addition to seeing Duke Tower, you can come and check out the newest retail spaces, galleries, restaurants and creative downtown businesses. Enjoy musical performances, great local food and fun for the whole family. Free shuttle service is provided, with Duke Tower as one of the stops on the shuttle. The event is free and open to the public.

We look forward to seeing you in downtown Durham on Saturday and Sunday, November 21-22.

RTELP Will Train Executives in Real-World English

“English and Golf” Option Also Available

RTELP logo 3

Durham, North Carolina – October 27, 2009 – The Research Triangle Executive Language Program (RTELP) will launch in January 2010, designed to help international professionals improve their use of real-world English. Based in one of America’s leading high tech regions, the Research Triangle Park area, and near world-class universities, the program’s initial target market will be Asia, where learning English from native speakers is an obsession.

The RTELP program will be total immersion, designed to help students quickly improve their vocabulary, pronunciation and fluency. The program will feature a combination of classroom instruction, daily excursions and nightly seminars. The purpose of the program is to help students become comfortable with English conversation while also teaching business and daily life skills.

“We will be filling a void in English language instruction by offering a total immersion program,” said Lee Richardson, president of RTELP. “Our program will target international executives with at least intermediate English language capabilities who want to take their English to a higher level of fluency quickly.”

“Koreans are very interested in this program,” said Mack Ahn, President of VASS Korea, which will be the exclusive RTELP sales agent in South Korea. “Our sales staff has been talking to young professionals who are eager to improve their English skills by coming to North Carolina and trying this practical approach.”

RTELP has contracted The World Company to provide the English language instruction for the program. The World Company, based in Raleigh, NC, has extensive experience training international professionals in English in the Research Triangle region. Among their clients, they have provided instruction to international incoming MBA students at UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School and NC State’s Jenkins Graduate School of Management and to employees of some of the most recognized organizations in RTP, including Fujitsu and Lenovo.

Classroom facilities will be provided by Measurement Incorporated, an industry leader in educational testing, professional assessment and program evaluation services, at its historic downtown Durham headquarters.

Accommodations will be provided by Duke Tower Hotel & Condominiums, where all students will live.

English increasingly is the international language of business, science and technology. In most non-English-speaking countries, English instruction is overwhelmingly focused on grammar and passing tests. There is a great demand for English instruction that focuses on real-world communications with native speakers.

“We will have several unique aspects to our program that will help students learn to communicate better in the real-world, which is the purpose of language, not grammar and test taking,” said Richardson. “We will offer daily excursions into the community, to stores, malls and offices, with tasks to perform. These interactions with the local community would ordinarily be difficult for a new visitor from overseas to experience.”

The program will also offer an “English and Golf” option that will allow executives to improve their English and enjoy playing golf in the Pinehurst area, one of the world’s top golf regions. Attendees will study English in the morning and play golf in the afternoon. Students will have an opportunity to play some of the top golf courses in the country, including Duke University Golf Course and UNC-Chapel Hill’s Finley Golf Course. One day a week students will travel to Pinehurst to play one of that area’s world famous golf courses.

Evening seminars will provide an introduction to studying, living and working in the USA. Speakers will include business and community leaders, immigration lawyers, real estate brokers, business brokers and representatives from local universities and community colleges.

For additional information, please visit www.RTELP.com.

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Posted by: duketower | October 22, 2009

Downtown Durham Restaurants Near Duke Tower Hotel

In a previous blog, we talked about many of the excellent restaurants in the Brightleaf Square district, which is walking distance or a short drive from Duke Tower Hotel & Condominiums. Our free shuttle will also take you there and pick you up at any time you like.

Going in a slightly different direction from Duke Tower towards downtown Durham, many fine restaurants have sprung up in the past few years as part of downtown Durham’s renaissance. Durham is known as a destination for fine restaurants, with many Triangle residences traveling from Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill and beyond to enjoy Durham’s unique culinary offerings. Certainly these five new restaurants listed below have added to that reputation.

These restaurants are all within a 15-minute walk of Duke Tower or are a short drive from our hotel. Our shuttle driver can also take you there and pick you up.

PiedmontOne restaurant that could be considered very easy walking distance from Duke Tower  (0.6 miles) is Piedmont, at 401 Foster Street. Piedmont’s food is inspired by Italian & French cuisine and locally, seasonally available ingredients.  Piedmont has received excellent reviews in the couple of years it has been open. Here’s one:

Piedmont is, without question, my favorite restaurant for a nice quiet meal in Durham. A casually beautiful decor, not too large or noisy, excellent service, and wonderful food mark the dining experience. The menu is Italian with French influences and an emphasis on local/seasonal ingredients. The gnocchi with chanterelles and pancetta is my husband’s all-time favorite. I have enjoyed the spicy candied cashews, tomato soup with basil creme fraiche, and mussels with chorizo.  Early reservations have been easy to get so far. There is ample parking across Foster Street.  Compared to other restarants of similar quality, it is a bargain. My husband and I once enjoyed four courses (no wine) for under $80–and no, we didn’t order the cheapest things on the menu.

They are open for lunch and dinner six days a week, closed on Tuesdays. Phone: 919-683-1213. From Duke Tower, turn right on Trinity Avenue, then right again on Foster Street. Here is a map.

RevolutionMoving into downtown Durham proper, another popular restaurant is Revolution, 107 West Main Street, phone 919-596-9999. Revolution won “Best New Restaurant in Durham 2009” in a recent competition.

Here is some information about their Executive Chef, Jim Anile.  Anile’s career has been with four-star and five-star luxury hotels and resorts, including the Melrose Hotel and Crescent Club, both in Dallas, and the Bacara Resort in Santa Barbara, California. He was Executive Chef at the prestigious five-star Ahwahnee Hotel in California’s Yosemite National Park. On the international scene, Chef Anile lent his culinary talents to restaurants and hotels in Asia as well as London’s Lanesborough Hotel. His use of Asian preparation techniques is but one of the international influences subtly manifested in Chef Anile’s delivery of modern Italian cuisine. Chef Anile has been featured in such publications as; Bon Appétit Magazine, Southern Living, Texas Monthly, Coastal Living, Our State and Cottage Living.

Revolution is open for dinner six nights a week, closed Sundays. Here is a map from Duke Tower to Revolution, which is about 1 mile away, or about 4 minutes by driving.

ToastAnother new popular destination in downtown Durham is Toast, a “paninoteca”, or authentic Italian sandwich shop, much like those found in the cities and urban areas of Italy, at 345 West Main Street.

Toast is inspired by the Italian tradition of simple cooking using seasonal local food with the shortest distance from the garden to the table. Toast uses produce from local farmers, artisanal bread made just blocks away, and when possible, house-cured meats and local cheeses. What meats and cheeses we can’t make or procure locally, they  import from Italy.

Toast has received excellent reviews. Here’s a typical one:

I think Toast’s menu shows how tasty simplicity can be. I absolutely love the crostini – a perfect lunch is three different crostini (actually you get two of each type you order, so six total) with a little side of mixed greens salad. My favorite is the goat cheese, honey, and black pepper crostini – delicious combination. They have a number of vegetarian options, which my partner and I appreciate, and the price is definitely right.‎

Toast is open on Monday-Friday 11am-8pm and on Saturday 11am-3pm, closed Sunday. Phone: (919) 683-2183. Here is a walking map from Duke Tower to Toast, which is less than one mile away, or about a 15 minute walk.

Rue ClerAnother restaurant with a French accent is Rue Cler, a Parisian-style restaurant, bakery and café in downtown Durham, located at 401 E Chapel Hill Street. Phone: (919) 682-8844.

Since October of 2006, Rue Cler has served the downtown Durham with a focus is on bringing the freshest of southeastern ingredients to guests, prepared simply in the style of a Parisian neighborhood restaurant.

Rue Cler’s food is inspired by French tradition and seasonal, local produce.  The wines all made by vignerons who love food, and who craft their biodynamic wine to harmonize with it, while at the same time imparting the unique taste of their particular terroir to the meal. Their prix fixe dinner is an incredible deal and showcases the freshest ingredients. They also have bistro and brasserie-style classic dishes available in the a la carte portion of the menu.  Lunch and brunch services feature French-styled sandwiches, crêpes, salads and more.

Like the others, Rue Cler has received ver favorable reviews in their three years since opening. Here’s a typical one:

My husband and I ate at Rue Cler last night and truly enjoyed the experience. My coq au vin, priced very reasonably, fell right off the bone. He ordered the short ribs, which were very tender and paired with a potato side that had such a delicious and unique flavor. The chocolate terrine was rich, complex, and not overbearingly sweet. Their wine is also fairly priced. Service was prompt and our waiter was knowledgeable and unobtrusive. We appreciated the urban, minimalist ambiance.‎

Their restaurant hours are Saturday and Sunday 11:00am – 2pm, Monday through Friday 11:30am – 2pm,
Tuesday through Saturday 5:30pm – until…

Rue Cler is less than one mile and only a short drive or walk from Duke Tower. Here is a map.

Dos PerrosClose to Rue Cler is Dos Perros, an upscale Mexican restaurant located at 200 N. Mangum Street, phone 919-956-2750.

The hours at Dos Perros are Monday – Friday 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m,  Monday – Saturday 5:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m, closed Sundays.

Since opening in August, 2009, Dos Perros has become known for their regional Mexican cuisine (not your regular tacos and tortillas!)  and had several wine tastings. Reviews have been favorable; here is a typical one:

We ate here tonight for the first time and had a great experience. The decor is subtle and classy (especially the ladies room!), the staff attentive but not pushy. The food was unusual–we had the vegetarian mole and the shrimp, both of which were sufficiently spicy and very tasty. We ‘splurged’ and had the churros with Mexican chocolate sauce for dessert, which were crispy and warm, tender on the inside, and more than sufficient for two people. The acoustics are good–there was a nice crowd but no trouble hearing someone across the table. Great old tin ceiling too!‎

Dos Perros  is less than one mile and only a short drive or walk from Duke Tower. Here is a map.

We hope our Duke Tower guests will venture out beyond the typical pizza and burgers restaurants and enjoy the fine dining opportunities available in downtown Durham at these interesting, innovative and affordable restaurants. Expending a little extra energy to go a beyond the ordinary will be well rewarded.

Posted by: duketower | September 21, 2009

Duke Center for Living and Duke Tower Hotel

The Duke Center for Living, a short drive from Duke Tower

The Duke Center for Living, a short drive from Duke Tower

The Duke Center for Living, at 3475 Erwin Road, is a common destination for many Duke Tower guests, being only a short drive (3.5 miles, about ten minutes) away. Or, put another way, many visitors to the Duke Center for Living find that Duke Tower is their preferred accommodations during their stay in Durham, be it for just a day or two or for several months.

Certainly one reason we are the preferred accommodations is because Duke Tower provides a free 24-hour shuttle service to our guests going to clinics at the Duke Center for Living, or anywhere at Duke Medical Center or on the Duke Campus.

Since we also provide a convenient RDU International Airport shuttle, we find that many visitors do not even need to rent a car during their visit to the Center for Living or other destinations on the Duke Campus.

Nestled in the woods of Duke Forest, the Center for Living Campus at Duke University is the home of a host of health and wellness programs that provide innovative, personalized care:

These programs reside within the beautifully designed buildings on the campus.

In particular, we have many guests who are part of the Duke Diet & Fitness Program and also have fitness and other classes at the Duke Center for Living. We are happy to pick up and drop off our guests at either location, 24 hours a day.

Tracy Gaudet. MD

Tracy Gaudet. MD

Recently we’ve seen more guests who are going to the Duke Center for Integrative Medicine, which blends advanced medical practice and research with proven complementary therapies. Headed by Dr. Tracey Gaudet, Duke Integrative Medicine is committed to transforming the way health care is delivered in the 21st century. Informed by rigorous academic research and education, their expert providers integrate the best of Western scientific medicine with proven complementary therapies to address the whole person—body, mind, spirit and community. Their innovative model of care—including multi-day health immersions, annual membership and a broad array of clinical services, classes, workshops, and training—is focused on healing and provides personalized, comprehensive support across time.

One  other draw for Duke Tower guests is the program in Executive Health, which provides comprehensive health assessments and personalized health programs to executives. Again, this program is sometimes blended with the Diet & Fitness Program, which also draws many successful business people.

Their programs are designed to reduce stress and teach executives how to stay healthy despite having a demanding lifestyle. They offer comprehensive health assessments to address medical needs and health risks such as coronary heart disease and diabetes. Exercise, nutrition, and stress management assessments are also a part of their preventative approach to medicine.

Relaxing in our courtyard

Relaxing in our courtyard

We at Duke Tower welcome visitors to the Duke Center for Living. At Duke Tower, you will find an “oasis in the heart of the city” that will allow you to relax, recharge and renew your spirit. We promise you attentive, efficient and friendly service, beautiful grounds and a complete condo, all to make you feel right at home.

Regardless of your purpose, we are sure you will find Duke Tower to be the perfect complement for accommodations during your time at the Duke Center for Living.

Posted by: duketower | August 17, 2009

Durham, Diet Capital of the World

Durham, Diet Capital of the World

Welcome to Durham, Diet Capital of the World

Durham is well-known as the “Diet Capital of the World“, with several major diet programs within the city. The city has been featured in many newspapers, magazines and TV shows, including 60 Minutes, where one dieter said, “Durham is Ground Zero for weight loss. If you can’t lose weight in Durham, you can’t lose weight.”

Durham has been known for weight loss ever since the Rice Diet was founded in the 1930s. The city draws about 3,000 dieters a year, from around the country and the world.

Public interest in weight loss is soaring. As anyone who has seen the funnel-cake line at the State Fair knows, America is fattening up. We’ve become a nation devoted to life, liberty and the pursuit of the all-you-can-eat buffet. According to the Centers for Disease Control, two out of three of us are overweight. Nearly a third are obese. In 2004, the agency declared obesity the No. 1 threat to the nation’s health because of its link to diabetes, hypertension and a host of other ailments.

The Rice Diet Solution

The Rice Diet Solution

Durham’s roots as a diet capital trace to Dr. Walter Kempner, a kidney specialist who fled Nazi Germany and joined Duke’s medical faculty. As he was experimenting with diets to control blood pressure and promote kidney function, he found that an overweight female patient who had eaten rice and fruit while on an extended vacation returned much thinner and with her blood pressure under control. The Rice Diet was born.

Durham residents can reel off a list of overweight celebrities over the years who have left some of themselves in Durham. Harland Sanders, the fried-chicken king, came. So did actor Lorne Greene, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stanley Reed and Hee Haw star Roy Clark. Crooner Frank Sinatra sent his mom. Comedian Buddy Hackett was a repeat customer.

Diet experts in Durham say the people who come to the centers in the Bull City tend to lose more weight and lose it more consistently than people who diet on their own. One reason is because of the motivation that brings them to town in the first place. But it is also the network of doctors, medical staff, diet-friendly accommodations and fellow dieters.

The Duke Diet

The Duke Diet

The diet programs, including the Rice Diet Program and the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, among others, are major contributors to Durham’s economy and have been a fixture in Durham since the 1950s.

Duke Tower Hotel & Condominiums is proud to be part of that network and ecosystem of support as the accommodation of choice for many dieters in Durham for over 25 years.  We provide the perfect dieter-friendly environment so that dieters can focus on improving their overall health and getting lifestyle, exercise and dietary needs in alignment.

Why has Duke Tower been the choice of dieters for so many years?

First, we offer much more than a single hotel room. All of our suites are a full condo with a separate living room, kitchen and bedroom. Most dieters come to Durham for longer periods, generally at least two weeks or longer. Staying in a single hotel room can become quite confining and feel claustrophobic after a few days. Having a real condo makes you feel like you are at home.

Second, we do not have a full-service restaurant on premises. Our lack of a full-service restaurant helps dieters avoid temptation and stay on the program. We have recently starting serving breakfast in the Historic Tower Cafe, but it is $5/person and not part of the room fee. The venue is somewhat removed from the suites themselves, being located in the middle of the courtyard in the historic tower. It is a little different walking past the smells of the complementary buffet breakfast in the lobby area of many local hotels every morning.

After breakfast hours, we offer complementary coffee and tea in the Historic Tower Cafe to all guests. We include three different types of non-calorie sweetener to help dieters stay on the program. We play relaxing classical music and have a complementary copy of the New York Times for our guests to enjoy.

We have one vending machine for drinks in the laundry room. We made sure it has zero-calorie drinks and bottled water for dieters to enjoy.

The pool and tower by night

The pool and tower by night

Third, we provide a healthful environment that encourages socializing around our large outdoor pool or doing laps around our covered walking track. We find many of our guests doing their laps at night (5 laps=1 mile) in small groups, talking and enjoying themselves. After their walks, they may go for a refreshing swim in the pool and then lounge around the pool area under the stars. We are three blocks from Duke’s East Campus, which has a great 1.7 mile walking/jogging trail around the interior perimeter of the campus wall. We have bicycle rentals, including helmet and locks, and maps for the American Tobacco Trail, a 22+ mile network of trails through Durham that is just across the street from Duke Tower.

Pets are happy at Duke Tower!

A happy premium suite pet

Fourth, we are pet friendly and welcome our four legged friends to Duke Tower. We have been welcoming pets for many years and will continue to do so. When you will be away from home for an extended period, it’s wonderful to come back home to your best friend. We have a dedicated pet relief area in the back left corner of the property (the southwest corner) so that guests do not have to leave our grounds.

We have recently added pet-friendly premium suites to our inventory. Duke Tower premium suites include wide-screen HDTVs in both the living room and bedroom, DVD players in both rooms, Pergo flooring, new furniture in the dining area, upgraded upholstery on the remaining furniture and, in many suites, upgraded bathrooms featuring walk-in showers and updated kitchens. As you can see in the picture at right, showing a premium suite, our four-legged friends love staying at Duke Tower.

Premium suites are only $10 more per night than our regular suites. Our premium suites (especially premium pet suites) are in high demand as most guests agree it is well worth the additional money.

Our free 24-hour shuttle to diet programs

Our free 24-hour shuttle to Durham diet programs

Fifth, Duke Tower is the only hotel in Durham to offer a 24-hour free shuttle service to both the Duke Diet & Fitness Center and to the Rice Diet. Many guests are able to come to Durham to lose weight and not have to rent a car, incur that expense and worry about driving around a new town. We also offer an airport shuttle for $35 person/$5 each additional person.

In short, dieters can focus on their weight loss and fitness program and leave the driving to us.

Sixth, our rates are very reasonable. We offer rates that benefit longer term stays, which is typical of dieters. Our rates start at $69/night for dieters for a regular suite and $85/night for a premium suite. Rates go as low as $55/night for a three month stay for a regular suite. Please call our reservations desk at 919-687-4444 or toll-free at 866-385-3869 for more information and to book your stay.

Finally, our warm hospitality and attentive, efficient service at Duke Tower will make your stay an enjoyable one. We try hard to make Duke Tower the friendliest place to stay. We are not a chain but are locally owned and operated, meaning we can focus on giving our guests the best possible service. We have many years of serving the diet community in Durham and hope to have many more.

We live by word of mouth and the good online reviews. Please see those online by going to Google or Bing and typing “Duke Tower reviews”. We are sure you will like what you see.

We at Duke Tower welcome dieters to our hotel and to the “Diet Capital of the World”. We look forward to making your time in Durham successful in terms of achieving your dietary, fitness and lifestyle goals. And we hope you leave with a fond feeling for Duke Tower as your home away from home in Durham.

Posted by: duketower | August 3, 2009

Exciting Picasso Exhibit at Duke’s Nasher Museum

Balzac

Balzac

The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, close to Duke Tower Hotel and Condominiums,  presents a groundbreaking Picasso exhibition from August 20, 2009, through January 3, 2010.

“Picasso and the Allure of Language” examines Pablo Picasso’s lifelong relationship with writers and the many ways in which language affected his work.

Duke Tower Hotel is pleased to host visitors who have come to see the Picasso exhibit. We offer a free shuttle service to and from our hotel to the Nasher Museum, which is on Campus Drive, only about two miles from Duke Tower, or about 7 minutes by car. It is also within relatively easy walking distance. It would take about 30 minutes to walk from Duke Tower to the Nasher via East Campus and Campus Drive. (Here is a walking map or you can get one in our office.)

"Dog and Cock"

“Picasso and the Allure of Language” comprises some 60 works in all media by Picasso, as well as select examples by fellow artist Georges Braque, and photographs, letters, manuscripts and book projects by a diverse group of artists and writers. Together, these works illuminate Picasso’s deep and multidimensional interest in writing and language, and challenge the notion of what have been considered “highlights” of his lifetime of work.

The exhibition is drawn primarily from the Yale University Art Gallery and the renowned Raymond and Patsy Nasher Collection, in Dallas, Texas, from which two sculptures are on loan. The works span the years from 1900, when Picasso was 19 years old, to 1969, just four years before his death at the age of 91.

“Picasso and the Allure of Language” was organized by the Yale University Art Gallery with the support of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

We welcome all Picasso fans to Duke Tower. In addition to our free shuttle to the Nasher and other points around Duke University and Duke Medical Center, we are sure you will enjoy our reasonable rates and all the many amenities, such as our well-appointed premium suites, beautifully landscaped courtyard and the Historic Tower Cafe. These features, and our warm, efficient personal service,  have made Duke Tower the choice of discriminating visitors to Duke and Durham for many years.

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