Straw Valley Café
5420 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd.
New Hope Commons, Durham
You may not have heard about Straw Valley Café from the Independent Weekly, Herald-Sun, or Carpe Durham articles on this coffeehouse, bar, and art gallery, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting it. What might is its difficult-to-access location. It’s right off of Business 15-501; you can see it on the side of the road, but you can’t access it without turning onto the surface road right behind New Hope Commons. Take that first road past the Barnes and Nobles and Jason’s Deli, then follow it until you see the sign pointing toward the café’s gravel driveway. Then park and follow the signs to reach the coffee shop proper.
You’ll pass a fence on the way that obscures the hidden jewel of the rest of the property. But I’ll get there in a minute.
The main wares Straw Valley Café offers are coffee (no crazy drinks, just the regular brews and espresso options), beer (about 10 bottles, nothing local but a good range of Dogfish Head, Founder’s, Arrogant Bastard, etc.), and wine (about 15 by the glass, probably another 15 by the bottle only). The mix of sandwiches, tarts, and baked goods changes daily and is supplied by Mark Day Catering and Zen Cat Bakery. There wasn’t a huge selection of nibbles, but you’ll find something interesting, and there are options for vegans as well. I chose an orange-rosemary scone, and it was delicious.by