1800 Renaissance Parkway
Rise is the newest venture by Durham Catering Co. chef and owner Tom Ferguson, who you may know for that little food truck and brick and mortar store called Only Burger of which he is a part-owner. Only Burger has earned a lot of cred in the local food scene for being an essential player in the explosion of food trucks, often organizing the earliest food truck rodeos in addition to maintaining a fantastic hamburger shop and truck. The community has been paying Tom back by swamping Rise to get their hands on the handmade biscuits and cake donuts available at the shop. The creative configurations of both, think red velvet donuts and sloppy joe biscuits, change on a daily basis. You can usually find a list at their Facebook page. They also have donut seeds instead of donut holes—don’t ask me what the difference is.
I’d heard several tales of long lines at Rise, so I went with a pair of friends on a weekday rather than brave the weekend crowds. There’s not much seating, just a long counter on the side and a few patio tables, so food is taken to go.
Counter seating on the left.
Grab a number on the way in and expect a ten-minute or so wait after ordering food. The interior is kid friendly with chalkboards and an assortment of toys.
Whimsical artwork, a line of t-shirts, and bright orange walls keep the atmosphere lively. The display case is drool worthy all on its own and will keep you happy while you wait.
Pineapple-basil glaze donuts on the top. Maple bacon on the bottom.
Peanut buttercup donuts.
Chocolate chocolate cake donuts.
Bean Traders coffee is offered, which makes me happy as I’m a huge Bean Traders fan. Milk, OJ, tea, and water are also available.
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Geer Street Garden
644 Foster Street
Central Park District, Durham
Geer Street Garden opened last spring, and it’s been a welcome addition to this fast-expanding area of town. Located in an old gas station, it’s a pub with a great beer list featuring plenty of local brews and a menu full of pub fare and seasonal menu items like sweet potato soup. The interior is pretty brick walls, a few booths inside the door, and a U-shaped twist into the small bar in back.
The lack of inside seating is a bit of a pain if you’re looking for a table on a crowded night, but outside is an appealing beer garden, complete with heat lamps, rows of blond wood benches, and lots of seating. The beer garden is definitely the draw here. Also popular is the Pile, a mass of French fries piled up with fried chicken bites, cheddar cheese, bacon, gravy, and a choice of two of their several fancy sauces that range from a sriracha and mayonnaise combination to a cheddar cheese dip .
It hits the spot if you’re looking for a greasy snack late at night, no question. Also good is the Corn ‘N Oil cocktail, which I reviewed a while back.
Geer St. Garden’s salads have been building up quite a fanbase, and I tried their cobb recently. It was refreshing and crisp. The quality of ingredients gives it a nice edge over your standard cobb.
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407 West Franklin Street
Downtown, Chapel Hill
Sandwhich is a lunch spot in downtown Chapel Hill that is known for their high quality, local ingredients and the price tag to go with it. At present, they are located in the Courtyard of Chapel Hill, right behind Penang. However, they are moving very soon
(4.3.10) (4.10.10) to a location down the road, and they will be offering dinner, brunch, and late night dining on Saturdays after their expansion. After this meal, I have no doubt that Sandwhich’s tasty, good food will do well with a dinner focus, and I think I will be able to better stomach the prices for it in the evening. This move sounds like a great idea all-around.
On to their present location, for the next week at least:
If you can get to Sandwhich before they move, you should, because their outdoor seating area, shared with a new crepe place next door, is really lovely for a weekday lunch. I went with two friends, and we all ordered something different from the menu. I chose the meatloaf sandwich that is made with Moroccan spices, roasted tomatoes, bacon, and cheddar on sourdough.
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