It’s easy to reward yourself after a long week with a satisfying and flavorful brunch at one of Durham’s delicious restaurants, and you won’t even have to break the bank to get your fill! Whether you’re looking for Southern soul food, doughnuts galore or heaping plates of bacon and eggs, these Durham hangouts have you covered. This delicious brunch roundup is brought to you by Amber Watson, creator and writer of the Durham food blog Bites of Bull City. She keeps up with all the latest restaurant happenings in Durham and shares them with fellow foodies on her blog and on Twitter and Instagram at @bitesofbullcity.
Don’t think twice about loading on the carbs at Monuts—it’s totally worth it to order one of their scratch-made bagel sandwiches along with a freshly baked seasonal donut and come out feeling full for under $10.
You can build your own bagel or biscuit ($1.50 plus add-ons of your choosing) or get a signature sandwich for about $7. Don’t forget about their delicious cake and yeast donuts in all kinds of creative flavors! It’s always busy and bustling in there, but that’s how you know it’s good.
Dame’s is an all-time favorite indulgent place to go for a classic southern brunch of chicken n' waffles, a filling plate with a big fluffy waffle and perfectly cooked, crispy fried chicken for $11-$14. Get creative with your waffle and shmear combo, because there are so many flavors to choose from, like sweet potato, gingerbread or organic blueberry waffles and strawberry crème, orange honeycomb or vanilla almond shmear.
During busy times expect a wait, but don’t be discouraged and go early if you can!
For another Southern staple, check out True Flavors Diner in a strip mall off of NC-55. This small and charming diner gets packed, but the friendly staff does their best to get you a table ASAP. Favorites from the menu include the duck hash, pimento BLT, shrimp & grits and, of course, their warm buttery biscuits with seasonal jam. For less than what you’d pay at most restaurants for a smaller meal, you get a heaping portion of comfort food that will keep you fueled for the rest of the day. Heads up, True Flavors also serves old-fashioned milkshakes and giant slices of cake, if you manage to save room for dessert!
While this fine French restaurant in downtown Durham can be a pricey treat for dinner, brunch is the perfect way to enjoy Rue Cler’s high-end food at a reasonable rate. Make a reservation and plan to start off with their warm fresh beignets coated in powdered sugar (half a dozen for $5 or a dozen for $8), then go for a perfect mid-day meal, like the chicken paillard salad, the duck confit or gravlax crepe with pomme frites for $10-$12.
Classic diner breakfast favorites—like all kinds of different omelets, hotcakes, waffles, French toast and biscuits with eggs and sausage—can all be found for a steal of a deal at Hope Valley Diner, located in a little plaza a bit south of downtown Durham. If you’re with a group of friends with varied tastes and you need a quick and easy brunch, this is a perfect stop.
Some of the latest breakfast and brunch trends can be found in that same plaza a few doors down at Bull Street Gourmet. You can get avocado toast and granola bowls for about $6, açaï bowls for under $10, a filling plate of pulled pork-loaded hashbrowns and eggs for $11.50 or grab-and-go sandwiches that are perfect for a Sunday picnic.
When you’re hankering for a biscuit sandwich, head over to Rise, which now has multiple locations in Durham and beyond. Along with the fried chicken biscuit, my favorite is a true Southern special—the biscuit with fried green tomato, pimento cheese and arugula.
It’s really hard to resist one of their donuts while you’re there, too. Their crème brûlée donuts and giant apple fritters ($2.50-$3) are a must-try! Rise is a great place to get your sweet and savory fix all at once.
Even though it can get busy during peak times, Foster’s Market has plenty of comfortable spots inside and out on the side porch/patio for hanging out and enjoying a delicious brunch for a fair price. I like their grits plate with two eggs, beans and salsa or the breakfast burrito (both under $6 without bacon or sausage, which can be added for a couple bucks). They also have a stellar farm plate with eggs, bacon or sausage, an herb cheddar biscuit, fruit and grits or potatoes for under $9.
Oval Park Grille is a friendly neighborhood restaurant that strives to live up to its motto, “local as heck,” by creating plates inspired by ingredients from local farmers. Hearty brunch options range from the NC trout sandwich to, in my opinion, one of the best eggs benedict in the Bull City. At this sit-down spot away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, you can enjoy a leisurely, relaxed brunch at a fair price.
Change up your brunch routine with Cuban dishes at Old Havana Sandwich Shop. If you think it’s too early for one of their flavorful Cuban sandwiches (even though it never is!), opt for a plate with or without protein, like slow-roasted pork or fried cured pork belly that comes with fried eggs, arroz (rice), maduros (plantains) and beans for $9-$11.
All images via @bitesofbullcity