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Best Diners in Durham, NC?

i'm looking for true, old school diners in durham for breakfast, blue plate special lunches, that kind of thing. any suggestions besides elmo's and rick's?

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  1. Let me just add to this post. I am looking for the same thing in the Cary area. Just a good home cooked meal. Do they still exist?

    2 Replies
    1. re: dvhartley

      Pam's Farmhouse. 5111 Western Blvd Raleigh, NC

      has pretty good country breakfast and lunch,

      1. re: dvhartley

        I would have to say Barrys Cafe is tops for Diner Fare. Try the burgers dont know what brand but dang they are good.

      2. Diner options in Durham are terrible. I end up at Elmo's every now and then simply because there is no other option.

        For breakfast, I like Grayson's on Chapel Hill Rd.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Shag Waits

          elmo's sucks, really! Grayson's is good, but they almost lose all credibility in the diner arena because they have Square plates...lol

          I like The Golden spoon pretty well for breakfast...though the retirement home vibe and smoking section just bring me down sometimes, man. haha

        2. Not sure what your expectations of a diner are, but Rick's is a real diner in Durham- not a retro chic kind of place. Basically, it's where older locals go - not necessarily foodies. Meat and three and then a couple of snazzy things thrown in - kind of like what diners that have been around forever are actually like. We used to go there quite frequently, but haven't much lately, so I'm not up on what it's like there these days, but don't go expecting to be wowed by the food, just full of old school grub. Oh yeah, and then there's what used to be Pan Pan's at Northgate Mall that's now officially a seafood place, I believe, but they still have a lot of their old diner fare from what I understand. Has anybody been?

          1. there AREN'T any in Durham! God help me I want one! for Breakfast!!

            7 Replies
            1. re: TSQ75

              Just curious, does that mean to imply there are some elsewhere in the Triangle. I'd be ecstatic if Raleigh had an Elmos or Ricks.

              Maybe Finch's and Mecca in Raleigh is closer to the real thing but I feel like I need a shower after I eat there and am never too sure everything is all that clean. Don't get me wrong--I love that those places exist but why the Elmos folks cannot find their way clear to open up a branch in Raleigh is beyond me.

              1. re: Guilty Gourmand

                One of the worlds great mysteries is why do people like Elmos. My cousin insists that we go to Elmos at times and we all look foward to this like root canal. The food is under spiced and tastless and with bad service. I can not understand what people see in it.

                1. re: chazzer

                  I like Elmo's and Breadman's. They are what they are...diners with square meals, breakfast all day, and sandwiches. No, they are not gourmet or "foodie" type restaurants but everything doesn't have to be.

                  As for Raleigh, how about Joe's Place downtown?

                  1. re: jsb23nc

                    It is not just that Elmo's is not a foodie type restaurant. I have had some very good square meals at a meat n three in battleboro, nc, including some of the best beef stew I have had. Because a place is a dinner or not a "foodie" type restaurant does not give it license to be bad.

                    1. re: jsb23nc

                      I'm glad its not a foodie place...but it's not even a grimy hole in the wall, which i'd prefer. its just way too trendy and...well...not so much

                      1. re: jsb23nc

                        Joe's place closed for the last time a few months ago.

                      2. re: chazzer

                        i agree, I dont see the fascination with elmo's at all! if its not the ridiculous wait time, the food is just not worth the wait...

                  2. It isn't in Durham, but I like Owens 501 Diner in Chape Hill.

                    1. Ever try Honeys? Been around for 30 years and super service. I also hear you on Rick's something has changed with their food of late. Used to be great food but now, I dunno, something has changed.

                      1. There is a new 24-hr diner called George's Diner on Hillsborough Rd in Durham. It's where an old Miami Subs used to be, just west of 15-501. The food is wonderful and they have a 9-page menu (a little overwhelming to have so many choices). They serve breakfast all day. We went for dinner and the food was fantastic. Everything coming out smelled great and I heard several comment to their dining companions on how good their food was. Give it a try. We plan to go back until we try everything on the ginormous menu.

                        1. Anybody tried Gypsy's Shiny Diner in Cary? I've not been, but it certainly fits the "diner" category.

                          1. (1) George's Diner, Hillsborough Rd @ 85, was real good. Ecclectic and good menu. Better than I expected, and 24-hours open is a real plus for the late afternoon pancake panic attacks, lol... The owners are Greek and have an American-themed restaurant with some exotic dishes on the menu as well.

                            (2) Sunny's Diner, Hwy 70/Glenwood Avenue y Raleigh's Umstead State Park entrance, is fabulous. Chinese owners who have a solid diner menu with to-die-for tuna melts and awesome omelets. Its attached to an Eagle gas station that I never expected it to become a staple of my dine-out desires, but it is.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Evergreen_Man

                              I like Current Cafeteria fro breakfast - no-fills but a good breakfast. Great link sausage and grits.