Three “New” Restaurants


Everyday I learn something new about Durham. Whether it’s a new statistic (like 20% of Durham residents are functionally illiterate), a new “business” (like Bull City Yoga!), or a new place to grab some food, I am always astounded at how I did not know about that fact/place before. In the past three weeks, I’ve tried three new (to me) places and I want to share them with you! 🙂

NANATACO with their $5 Margaritas everyday, is sure to draw a crowd… especially on Friday night! I went with Britt, and the line was literally out the door. Luckily though, by the time we ordered, we were able to snag a small table for two!

Menu: Lots to choose from! Basically you choose what you want (tacos, nachos, burrito, quesadilla, etc) then you choose the meat. One of their options for meat was duck! They offer veggie options too so don’t let that scare you away! A handful of chips is served with each meal, but next time I will definitely order some chips to go with whatever I order. There’s a small salsa bar with a few options, so it was nice to get free salsa to add to my tacos! I played it safe and got 3 chicken tacos, and the flavor was really good! They have sides of rice or beans, which is an easy, tasty addition to any meal.

Price: Everything was reasonably priced, in my cheap opinion. I got 3 tacos, some chips, and a water for under $10 on a Friday night out with a friend. Score.

Atmosphere: Nanataco is a very cool, funky place. It has a garage door that was open, so that made it feel really neat…essentially bringing the outdoors in, allowing people and aromas to flow from one space to the next. It was a busy place, so at some points I felt like I was shouting across the table, but that added to the overall atmosphere. There is indoor and outdoor seating, which quickly gave it an A+ in my books. I loooove having the option for outdoor seating at a restaurant!

So, how did it rate? I give Nanataco a B+. The service, wait, food, price and atmosphere were great, but you could tell it was a Friday night in Durham. I definitely want to go back to give it another try, and to try something new on the menu!

THE REFECTORY CAFE is the newest addition to Chapel Hill Blvd. Last Friday after a staff meeting, my coworkers and I were starving and eager to try the Refectory Cafe out! They didn’t disappoint!

Dal + rice + salad

Menu: Quite a few choices, for a place boasting “slow food fast.” There were sandwiches, wraps, soup & chili, and a few entrees. If you ordered an entree, it came with your choice of a salad or soup on the side. There are vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options! I chose the Indian Dal with a side salad. It was very tasty, but not quite as “spicy” as I would have expected an Indian dish to be. Oh, and their dessert menu is absolutely mouth-watering. Everything is baked fresh each morning, and among other choices, my favorites were zucchini bread, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, and red velvet brownies. YUM.

Price: I thought it was kinda pricy. Granted, I did get a salad AND entree, but those two alone were $8. Once I was tempted into getting a slice of zucchini bread, it pushed me to a total of $10ish. Really, that wasn’t bad, but I try to keep my lunches cheap 😉 You get your money’s worth here, and for that, I am thankful!

Atmosphere: Loved it! Everything was crisp and fresh thanks to the vibrant green on the walls. There were fresh, gorgeous flowers in the middle of the tables, and the walls had pictures of different (local?) farmers. It was very clean and organized, and felt very welcoming. I really liked how comfortable I felt.

So, how did it rate?: I give The Refectory Cafe an A! The have such a great range of food choices that are healthy, and they support local farmers which I really like. Their fresh choices will definitely draw me back again to try something new… possibly something from their breakfast or brunch menu!

(you can follow them on twitter here to check out the deals of the day! And click here for the full menu at their location on Chapel Hill Blvd.)

Last but not least is LILLY’S PIZZA in downtown Durham. Padre and I went there on a whim just yesterday for lunch. I was sooo excited to find another pizza place (because who doesn’t love pizza?!) and I plan on heading back to Lilly’s in the near future!

Menu: Lots of typical foods for a pizza joint, including salads, pizza, calzones, pastas and desserts. What surprised me most was the number of toppings available for their pizzas! LOTS to choose from here! The best part? Everything is made fresh daily, and everything is local! They also have a bar which I’m sure draws a crowd on weekends.

Price: Typical prices for a pizza place. Pizzas range from $6 to $23 depending on the size and the toppings. Their lunch special is $6.50 and is one of three choices- 1. 2 slices of pizza, with 2 toppings on each. 2. A slice of pizza and a side salad. 3. A slice of pizza and a cup of soup/chili. Seriously, best deal around! All of their salads are under $10 which makes me happy, and their pastas are $9 – $11. You most definitely get a good deal for your money at Lilly’s.

Atmosphere: Eclectic, energetic, and classy. It’s in downtown Durham so naturally there is a lot of brick which I personally love. All of the walls are filled with art from local artists, including landscapes, modern art, and some abstract paintings. It was fun to look around at everything. There is outdoor seating available here as well, but because it was raining cats and dogs yesterday, I decided to sit inside 🙂

So, how did it rate?: I don’t know if it was the fresh pear balsamic dressing, the homemade croutons, or the buttery thick-but-not-too-thick pizza crust that sold me, but I give Lilly’s Pizza an A+! Then again, it could just be the fact that I am a pizza connoisseur. 😉

The three “new” places I’ve discovered in Durham are three of my current favorites. ((I clearly don’t get out enough)) If you ever want to try one of these places with me, let me know! I’m always up for good food!


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  1. Pingback: September in Review « Find Your Way

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