Durham, NC Restaurant Recommendations

Reviewer: Foodnut.com

Durham, NC

Last Update: 5/14/2019

The Q Shack Durham exterior decor

Where does a San Francisco Foodie eat in the Durham – Chapel Hill – Research Triangle, North Carolina? Follow our journey and learn from our experiences.

Here is a compilation of more casual restaurants, snack places we visited during our 2019 Durham – Research Triangle trip. Our goal was to find good eats at reasonable prices, primarily restaurants where locals go. We have no interest sampling cuisine that is done better at home in the San Francisco Bay Area. This is challenging on an expensive ‘island’, full of pricey tourist traps.

Our Trip includes visits to

  • Durham
  • Chapel Hill
  • Morrisville

Food Focus:

  • BBQ
  • Chicken and Waffles
  • Southern Cuisine

Original Q Shack, Durham

4/12/19

The Q Shack Durham BBQ Combo Plate

Why did we dine here? – Original Q Shack is a BBQ restaurant recommended to us by locals. They smoke meats in house with a blend of hickory and mesquite. They have all the important meats, while a spot like The Pig only had pulled pork.

Cuisine – BBQ
Location – Durham

Verdict – Original Q Shack should fulfill your need for North Carolina BBQ. They know how to cook a mean cue.

Original Q Shack Food Picks:
Three Meat Combo ($16.95) with St. Louis Cut Pork Ribs, Chili Rubbed Beef Brisket, and Smoked pork sausage. The ribs (Cooked 12 hours) and brisket (Cooked 3 hours) were fall apart good. Nice meat and smoke flavor to the brisket. Their BBQ sauce was deep and smokey.
The sausage was just ok.

Sides: Mac n Cheese was good, yet no premium cheese or pasta. Collard Greens had a slight kick and good flavor.

Blackberry cobbler ($2.95) was the cobbler of the day. Fairly sweet, lots of dough.

OK: (Order if you like this dish)
None

Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
None

Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?

Ratings:

Overall rating (Stars) – 2.5
Food Rating – 2.5
Service Rating – 2.5
Atmosphere Rating – 2
Value – 2

Come Back (Y or N or Maybe) – Y

Facts:

Street Address with website

Original Q Shack
2510 University Dr
Durham, NC 27707
919-402-4227

Yelp Page

Dame’s Chicken & Waffles, Durham, NC

4/13/18

Dames Chicken and Waffles Durham NC

Why did we dine here? – Dame’s Chicken & Waffles was our goto place to try the real deal Southern Comfort food. (No Waffle house!) San Francisco has a couple places serving this dish, but none that authentic. This restaurant was located in downtown Durham, near several bars and clubs. They have 3 locations in the area. They server almost nothing but this dish!

Cuisine – Southern
Location – Downtown Durham

Verdict – Dame’s Chicken & Waffles satisfied our need to try real deal. Food is decent and prices are cheap. Service was a bit slow.

Dame’s Chicken & Waffles Food Picks:
Classy Hen ($12.50) with regular waffle and fried chicken is a nice looking dish with crispy egg battered chicken cutlet and a thick classic waffle. Vanilla and Almond Shmear.

Classy Hen ($12.50) with Vegan Waffle and grilled chicken was almost as good as the regular one. The chicken is healthier and also not bad. The maple shmear is too similar to the maple syrup.

Orchard patch Salad ($8.50) was pretty ordinary.

OK: (Order if you like this dish)
None

Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
None

Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?

Ratings:

Overall rating (Stars) – 2
Food Rating – 2
Service Rating – 2
Atmosphere Rating – 2
Value – 3

Come Back (Y or N or Maybe) – Y

Facts:

Street Address with website

Dame’s Chicken & Waffles
317 W. Main St
Durham, NC 27501
919-682-9235

Welcome to Dame’s Chicken and Waffles

Duke

Duke Dining (2)

We were visiting Duke and the tour took us through their beautiful new dining hall. Stations for everything from Mediterranean, Ramen, Pizza, and a ton more. The food was reasonably priced and VERY good. If you get a chance, check it out.

The Pig, Chapel Hill, NC

4/11/18

The Pig Chapel Hill (5)

Why did we dine here? – The Pig is a BBQ restaurant in Chapel Hill. We were on our way to UNC and found it convenient to stop here for lunch. We’ve heard a lot about Carolina BBQ and wanted to get some.

Cuisine – BBQ
Location – Chapel Hill, NC

Verdict – The Pig is a low key place with decent food and really good prices, especially compared to back home in San Francisco!

The Pig Food Picks:
BBQ Pulled pork sandwich ($6) was packed full of tender pork. Lots of moisture and flavor, so the bun fell apart fast. They have a sweet and smokey BBQ sauce on the table, decent.

Sides: ($3.25 each)
Mac-N-Cheese – Was rib sticking thick and decent. Pasta quality could have been better.
Collard Greens – Had a little bit of heat. Well done.
Beer Baked Beans – The best of the 3. Recommended by the order taker. Small beans.

Whole Green Salad ($6) hits the spot for vegetarians!

OK: (Order if you like this dish)
None

Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
None

Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?

Ratings:

Overall rating (Stars) – 2.5
Food Rating – 2.5
Service Rating – 2
Atmosphere Rating – 2
Value – 3

Come Back (Y or N or Maybe) – Y

Facts:

Street Address with website

The Pig
630 Weaver Dairy Road
Chapel Hill, NC 217514
919-942-1133

Website

Yelp Page

Monuts, Durham, NC

4/13/18

Why did we dine here? – Monuts is a popular restaurant for sandwiches, breakfast, donuts, bagels, snacks and more. It does get extremely crowded on weekend mornings and holidays.

Cuisine – American
Location – Durham Downtown

Verdict – Monuts is a cool little spot for breakfast, lunch or a snack.

Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?

Ratings:

Overall rating (Stars) – 2.5
Food Rating – 2.5
Service Rating – 2.5
Atmosphere Rating – 2.5
Value – 2.5

Come Back (Y or N or Maybe) – Y

Facts:

Street Address with website

Monuts
1002 9th St
Durham, NC 27705
919-286-2642
Yelp Page

Jack Tar, Durham

4/12/18

Jack Tar Durham NC (6)

Why did we dine here? – Jack Tar is a new American restaurant in downtown Durham, North Carolina. Downstairs from the Unscripted hotel, it is an all day eatery. Our original reservation, St James Seafood was closed due to a gas explosion.

Cuisine – New American
Location – Durham

Verdict – Jack Tar is a cool restaurant, but some dishes could be better.

Jack Tar Food Picks:
Old Fashioned ($9) was a strong cocktail. They know their juice!

Local beet Salad ($10) was a bit sweet, but solid.

Side sweet potato ($6) were cubed and cooked till al dente. OK.

Roasted Cauliflower ($10) was one big chunk that you cut up. Well marinated.

Side garlicy green ($6) was kale and hit the spot.

OK: (Order if you like this dish)
None

Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Chicken Pot Pie ($19) sounds good but was bland.

Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?

Ratings:

Overall rating (Stars) – 2
Food Rating – 2
Service Rating – 2.5
Atmosphere Rating – 3
Value – 2

Come Back (Y or N or Maybe) – Y

Facts:

Street Address with website

Jack Tar
202 N Corcoran St #100
Durham, NC 27701
(919) 682-5225

Website

Pho XO, Morrisville, NC

4/11/18

Why did we dine here? – Pho XO is a Vietnamese restaurant south of Durham, NC. We were in the area looking for Asian food and saw a bunch of restaurants in this area.

Cuisine – Vietnamese
Location – Morrisville, NC

Verdict – Pho XO was better than expected. Even the Pho Tai exceed the quality of many spots back home in San Francisco. If you get sick of BBQ and need some Asian food, give this spot a try.

Pho XO Food Picks:
Pho Tai ($13.95) with filet mignon took a while to arrive. Freshly sliced meat? Good broth and quality beef. Kind of expensive.

Bun Ga Tom Nuong with Chicken and Shrimp ($10.95) hit the mark. A nice looking dish with thinly sliced chicken and nice noodles.

Mango Sticky rice ($5.95) had weird green rice, but the dessert was good nonetheless.

OK: (Order if you like this dish)
None

Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
Papaya Salad ($7.95) was spicy and overly fishy

Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?

Ratings:

Overall rating (Stars) – 2
Food Rating – 2
Service Rating – 2
Atmosphere Rating – 2.5
Value – 2

Come Back (Y or N or Maybe) – Y

Facts:

Street Address with website

Pho XO
10290 Chapel Hill Rd STE 100
Morrisville, NC 27560
919-648-0265

Biscuitville, Durham

4/12/18

Why did we dine here? – Biscuitville is a NC, VA chain that specializes in guess what? Biscuits. This food seems to be a big staple of the area. We stopped in for a quick breakfast.

Cuisine – Southern
Location – Durham

Verdict – Biscuitville is a quick stop for breakfast. The food is cheap and passable. Interesting spot. Goto a restaurant like Grub for the real stuff.

Biscuitville Food Picks:
Fried Chicken Biscuit ($3.69) was better than sausage. Sorta like a big chicken mcnugget between a biscuit. The biscuit was ok, freshly made but not great.

Sausage and Egg Biscuit ($4.39 meal) was okay. Slightly better than McDonalds.

OK: (Order if you like this dish)
None

Pans: (We would not reorder these dishes)
None

Do you agree with our review? Have you found other similar restaurants that are better?

Ratings:

Overall rating (Stars) – 2
Food Rating – 2
Service Rating – 2
Atmosphere Rating – 2
Value – 3

Come Back (Y or N or Maybe) – N

Facts:

Street Address with website

Biscuitville
2822 Chapel Hill Blvd
Durham, NC 27707
919-419-8246

Overall Rating: (Very Good 2.5)

Come Back?

Food Rating: (Good)
Service Rating: (Good)
Atmosphere Rating: (Good)
Value Rating: (Good)

Guide: 0 = poor, 1 = Below/Average, 2 = Good, 2.5 = Very Good, 3 = Excellent , 4 = Extraordinary

Alcohol:Beer, Wine
Attire:Casual
Parking:Street
Reservations:Yes

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