HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >

Lookin' for the Best of Durham, NC

TacoTerror Sep 30, 2002 02:46 PM

I'll be in Durham in a couple of weeks and I'm looking for some outstanding food of the BBQ-fried catfish-hush puppies-chicken fried steak variety. Magnolia Grill would be swell, but I'd like to find some good, cheap, amazing real southern food. No melding of esoteric flavors, no creatively using wasabi to liven up a bowl of curry corn chowder - just good eats. Suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. b
    ben f RE: TacoTerror Sep 30, 2002 03:44 PM

    For decent southern food you really should go somewhere else. The only halfway good place I've found is PanPan, and the jury's still out on that one (although if due to some emergency you need to gain a lot of weight quickly, this is the place to go).

    There are several places that have good fried fish.

    Coleman's, on Pettigrew, has the best tasting fried fish around. I particularly recommend the trout (which you can either get with bone or without - get it with) or the "bone fish". They also have great desserts.

    Fishmongers is good, although I don't really consider them southern (and you should only go there for lunch).

    Mariner's Cove is the all purpose southern catfish restaurant. I wish it were better than it is. Worth checking out if you're an irony lover.


    1. t
      Tom from NC RE: TacoTerror Sep 30, 2002 09:02 PM

      I like the Pan Pan a lot, but don't go for the atmosphere: it's downright dingy.

      Ditto for Dillards, a barbecue/Southern steamtray restaurant on Fayetteville Road. Great fried chicken, great sides, great folks, but pretty scaggy digs. This type of thing doesn't bother me, but lots of folks like to be forewarned.

      I have never been to Coleman's--and I can assure you that it is not in the best neighborhood or even anywhere close to one--but I've read good things about it at newsgroups, bulletin boards, etc., and will go next time I'm over that way. If you try it, *please* report back!


      1 Reply
      1. re: Tom from NC
        David A. RE: Tom from NC Oct 2, 2002 08:15 AM

        The problem with Dillard's is that it serves cafeteria style, which means the food sits around under heat lamps or in steam trays. In my experience this is the kiss of death, especially when it comes to something as ephemerally delicious as fried chicken. There is something to the the above criticisms of Bullock's BBQ, but I've always found the fried chicken to be excellent. I haven't tried PanPan.

        David A.

      2. s
        Sant RE: TacoTerror Oct 1, 2002 10:20 AM

        Bullock's. Bullock's is considered THE place for Southern food in Durham. I don't care for the BBQ, but everything else I've tried is quite good, especially thje fried chicken. You may like the eating family style option, which is basically AYCE.

        Go early or be prepared to wait a while. The place is always packed. However, the wait is made interesting by all the photos of celebrities that have eaten there, from Dolly Parton to Magic Johnson to Catfish Hunter. Take out is a good, quick option.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Sant
          ben f RE: Sant Oct 1, 2002 10:25 AM

          I'm very conflicted about Bullocks. There 'cue is terrible. Offputting enough to make me not want to eat there. Some of there vegetables are good but overall I've never been really happy with it.

          I've always thought it developed it's mystique as a southern restaurant more from it's history than the quality of its food.

          to my mind Pan Pan does a better job in almost every respect. Plus they made me an oyster po'boy sandwich based only on my vague description of one, despite it's not being on the menu.

          1. re: ben f
            Tom from NC RE: ben f Oct 1, 2002 12:01 PM

            I too have mixed feelings about Bullocks. I'll eat there without making a fuss if a group suggested we go there, but I wouldn't recommend it to others. The quality of their offerings is too spotty--the fried chicken I had there last time was OK (it was, after all, fried chicken!) but not the transcendent experience I want when I decide to indulge in such high-cal fare. The chicken at Dillard's is better, much better.

            If it came down to Bullocks and the Pan Pan, I'd chose the Pan Pan every time.

            1. re: Tom from NC
              Sant RE: Tom from NC Oct 1, 2002 05:52 PM

              I too am not crazy about Bullocks, but the place is so packed all the time I thought maybe I was just being too picky. Seems a lot of people like Bullocks a lot being that it's always crowded.

              Pan Pan, eh? Ate there once and didn't like it. But since you guys give it the nod I'll give it another chance.

              I liked Dillard's the best of the three I've tried but I never seem to get out that way and can't remember how to get there-- besides my wife is one of those Wellspring granola types. LOL!

              Hey, have either of ya'll eaten at Honey's?

              1. re: Sant
                EveRachel RE: Sant Oct 13, 2007 12:00 PM

                While my husband was rcovering from his stroke last weekend at Duke, my son took me to Honey's a little past midnight one night. I was surprised to see it so full that late. My son had an omlette and it looked wonderful and he said it was! My scrambled eggs and country fried steak was good as well. Their eggs had a great taste to them, they must be free range eggs, they were delicious! The service was good and so were the prices. It's not fancy but if you're out late and looking for a place to eat, I would suggest Honey's.

                1. re: EveRachel
                  mikeh RE: EveRachel Oct 13, 2007 01:02 PM

                  Best late-nite eating in the city right now HAS to be Watts Grocery. I think it definitely falls under "Southern," and it won't bust your artery either (except for those otherwordly OMG oustanding hushpuppies, and the krispie creme bread pudding) http://www.wattsgrocery.com/

        2. p
          PeterB RE: TacoTerror Oct 16, 2007 04:02 AM

          For good, cheap, amazing eats in Durham these days I think the taquerias are where it's at. There is quite a bit of info on this board, but a short list of places to try would include Taqueria Lopez (near Bullock's), Los Comales, and Super Taqueria (both on Roxboro Rd. north of I85).

          1. TSQ75 RE: TacoTerror Oct 16, 2007 12:42 PM

            Sorry, I have to say that the best stuff to eat in Durham is NOT the Southern BBQ...there are better places in NC to go for that.

            Durham is urban, its strong, and its ethnic. Go for one of our hundreds of awesome taquerias, mexican, Salvadorean, and honduran restaurants.

            go for the awesome Thai cafe, Go for Indian Brunch at dales, mexican breakfast at La Fondita.

            or go for all of our amazing non-chain locally owned ventures such as Piedmont, or Watts grocery. real food, from real people--delicious and gorgeous.

            4 Replies
            1. re: TSQ75
              Biggun RE: TSQ75 Oct 16, 2007 03:17 PM

              Where, pray tell, is La Fondita? i have lived here for over a year and have not been able to find a place for decent Mexican breakfast. Are there others?

              1. re: Biggun
                PeterB RE: Biggun Oct 16, 2007 05:08 PM

                La Fondita is in the shopping plaza on Avondale just north of I 85 that used to have a Winn Dixie (now it's Compare). It is 2 storefronts down from Compare. It is very close to several of the other fine taquerias and tiendas on Roxboro Rd.

                1. re: Biggun
                  TSQ75 RE: Biggun Oct 17, 2007 07:02 AM

                  It's in the shopping center that houses Compare supermarket, and Big Lots. Beware, they generally dont open for breakfast until about 930am. they serve it all day tho. for 2 big plates and 2 coffee's we generally drop about 13 bucks.

                  GREAT refritos!

                  1. re: TSQ75
                    Biggun RE: TSQ75 Oct 18, 2007 05:50 PM


              Show Hidden Posts