Brunch is back in a big way and there is no shortage of great choices throughout the Bull City. Brunch crowds in Durham run the gamut from bleary-eyed Duke students to retirees out on the town and everyone in between, and the faces sitting down at restaurants across the city have a diversity of brunch options to choose from. The pancakes and eggs crowd will find plenty to be pleased with, but what about dim sum? Sure Southern favorites like biscuits and gravy or chicken and waffles are well-represented, but how about a more sophisticated French bistro affair? Whatever the mood, Durham has a brunch to meet it.Read More
12 Stops for a Satisfying Brunch in Durham, North Carolina
From French toast to Southern favorites
1. Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant
Carts of shu mai, chicken feet, radish cakes, and more navigate the tight interior of this former house-turned-Chinese restaurant in North Durham. A traditional Chinese restaurant during the week, Hong Kong transforms into a bustling dim sum joint reminiscent of any big-city Chinatown each weekend. Be prepared to wait for a table, though service is fast and efficient.
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It’s the oldest story in the world — girl starts donut cart; donut cart becomes donut shop; donut shop moves into bigger digs to become one of the most popular breakfast spots in town. The donuts might get people in the door, but the extensive breakfast menu with items like the bacon and guacamole breakfast burrito and the Turkish eggs and avocado make it a true brunch joint. A variety of bagel or biscuit sandwiches are also available, and the space is very kid-friendly.
3. Vin Rouge
Sunday brunch at Vin Rouge is practically a Durham institution. Whether dining inside the cozy bistro-like space or out on the airy patio, diners dig in to dishes like eggs Florentine, ham and gruyere omelette, and fluffy French toast. A classic brunch cocktail menu consisting of a mimosa, a French 75, a kir royale, or a bloody mary round out the experience.
4. Dame's Chicken & Waffles
Dame’s claims its chicken and waffles are “almost” world famous, and the lines to get in on the weekends attest to that. With four locations across North Carolina now, Dame’s serves up this classic soul food staple in a variety of ways — the Carolina Cockerel comes with three chicken wings, a blueberry waffle, and peach and apricot butter, while the Red Crested Rose Comb is a classic waffle with strawberry butter and pecans. The build-your-own option lets diners choose their style of chicken, waffle, butter, and add-ons, and there is a variety of other breakfast options for the person who wants something other than chicken and waffles (as if that person exists).
5. Durham Food Hall
The Durham Food Hall is the best bet on the weekends to please a crowd with diverse tastes. Brunch-goers can choose from Ex Voto (its take on a Crunchwrap is the star here), Everything Bagels, Locals Oyster Bar (hello, oysters and bubbly brunch), Lula & Sadie’s (modern Southern favorites), Napoli Neopolitan Pizzeria, and Old North Meats & Provisions. There is a full bar for brunch cocktails as well as Liturgy Beverage for those needing a morning jolt of caffeine.
6. The Durham Hotel
Brunch at the Durham Hotel has been one of the city’s most popular weekend outings since the hotel and restaurant opened in 2015. Whether dining inside the hotel’s airy midcentury modern lobby or on the outdoor patio, diners can choose from dishes like the Asheville omelet (smokey North Carolina sausage and bacon, peppers, onions, cheddar, and Yukon gold potatoes with peppers and onions), Rudy’s chilaquiles (masa tortilla chips, chorizo, black beans, local eggs, queso fresco, creme fraiche, and salsa roja), or the ABJ&Y (almond nut butter, bananas, house-made local blueberry jam on boulted wheat toast, housemade yogurt with fruit and granola).
7. Grub Durham
Located in between downtown and Duke’s West Campus, Grub serves Southern comfort classics in a colorful dining room or rooftop patio. The menu consists of breakfast sandwiches, bowls, or plates and includes items like the West End grit bowl (stoneground cheddar grits, roasted red pepper sauce, turkey sausage, sunny side up egg, and green onions) and the Country Road (roasted ham, fried egg, melted sharp cheddar cheese, and Creole mustard on a sweet potato biscuit). There is a smoothie menu for those looking for a lighter meal, as well as a rotating pastry selection.
8. Jack Tar & the Colonel’s Daughter
Smack in the middle of downtown Durham, Jack Tar & the Colonel’s Daughter offers an eclectic brunch menu with options for almost any preference. The fish and grits comes with fried catfish, tomato gravy, and bacon, while the duck confit tamales come with sunny-side-up eggs and a mole sauce. Their crullers are fried to order, and folks with a more hearty appetite might want to take a look at the double cheeseburger (with caramelized onions, jalapenos, mayonnaise, house-processed cheese, on a benne seed bun) or the Szechuan fried chicken sandwich (fried chicken breast, Szechuan peppercorn sauce, poblano mayo slaw, and pickles).
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9. Beyu Caffe
Beyu Caffe opened downtown in 2009 and has been offering an affordable breakfast/brunch menu ever since. The Beyu breakfast is the restaurant’s take on the classic eggs-meat-grain combo, while the Breakfast Wrangler Sandwich comes with pastrami, grilled onions, fried egg, and sliced avocado topped with pepper jack cheese on open face pretzel bread. The Jazzy Shrimp and Grits (grilled jumbo shrimp and Italian sausage over polenta grits with a lobster cream sauce, topped with parmesan shavings) is an ode to the cafe’s frequent live music nights. A full coffee bar covers any caffeine needs — a favorite is the Oprah Mocha — espresso with dark chocolate, white chocolate, steamed milk, and cocoa.
10. Foster's Market
Generations of local families have come to Foster’s Market for classic, comforting, homestyle cooking. This counter-service spot offers breakfast and lunch all day, with seating available both inside and outside multiple covered patios. Biscuit sandwiches, breakfast wraps, and a daily omelet special are just a few of the offerings, as in an extensive lunch menu heavy on sandwiches and wraps. Daily specials often available, as is catering and to-go meals.
11. Guglhupf Bakery, Cafe & Biergarten
The South meets Germany at Gugulhupf, a Bavarian-inspired bakery, cafe, and beer garden. The menu has a large selection of egg dishes, sandwiches, and plates. The pork schnitzel can be brunchified with the addition of a sunny egg, or choose Holstein style, which comes with caper brown butter and white anchovies in addition to an egg. The bakery offers an ever-changing selection of fresh breads and pastries, and there is a menu of brunch cocktails as well as a rotating tap list heavy on German favorites.
12. True Flavors Diner
True Flavors has had a few different locations over the years but its current South Durham iteration still serves the innovative Southern comfort food that it has become known for. A variety of omelets like jerk salmon, Cajun chicken, and North Carolina lump crab can be found on a menu that also includes biscuit sandwiches, spicy shrimp and grits, and country fried chicken and eggs. A sweet biscuit menu is a surefire kid-pleaser, as is the standalone mac ‘n cheese menu (although adults might also want a bite of the crab or roasted duck versions).