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Pompieri Pizza, downtown Durham

d
durhamois Jul 10, 2013 09:19 PM

So, it looks like the owner of Bull City Burger is opening a second restaurant in downtown, Pompieri Pizza. Wood-fired, local ingredients, "a pizza joint with a fine-dining approach." I'm sure it'll be delicious, but why oh why are we getting another wood-fired pizza joint downtown, when we already have Pizzaria Toro? What is the goal here? Do we really really want downtown saturated with pizza, burgers and beer, or can we introduce a little diversity into the downtown dining scene? I'm not a restaurant owner, so maybe it's just all too easy for me to think about how great it would be to see something that's not totally mainstream open up downtown. I can imagine Indonesian, Moroccan, Ethiopian, Jewish deli, or Lebanese. Even a great Italian restaurant, with homemade pastas, osso bucco, and other hearty fare would be great. But I find it a little disheartening that we may see two good pizza places duke it out, rather than seeing our downtown dining options really expand.

  1. d
    durhamois Feb 9, 2014 07:03 PM

    I tried Pompieri on Friday night. We got there at 7:15, and it was pretty packed. The line moved at a reasonable clip however, and we had ordered and were seated with drinks within 20 minutes or so. We tried a couple of good cocktails at our table, the Scratch Line Sour (excellent) and the Mountain Money Margarata (very good). The margarita was a little too acidic, but they keep simple syrup by the beverages for tea, so it was kind of nice to be able to adjust the sweetness to my own taste.

    The pizza was fine, but nothing to write home about. It wasn't super hot when it arrived at the table. The crust was decent, but a bit too wet/soggy. It wasn't terrible, just nothing special. No better than the pizza at Pop's, for example. Once Pizzaria Toro opens back up, I can't think of any reason I'd ever choose Pompieri over Toro.

    The sides at Pompieri are pretty limited. If you want to eat something green, your only choice is a salad. There are no vegetables you can order as a side. The salad is okay, but it's just basically mesclun mix and vinaigrette. It would have been nice to have more exciting appetizer and side dish options.

    I liked the vibe well enough. A nice mix of college students and Durhamites. It feels very casual, without feeling like a cafeteria. The dining room is super loud though, so during peak hours, we had to shout a bit in order to talk. By 8:30 or so, things had calmed down considerably, and we could talk at a normal volume.

    If you're downtown and you want pizza, by all means give it a try. It's certainly better pizza than what you'll find at Lily's, Satisfaction, etc. But it didn't make me stop yearning for Toro's return.

    8 Replies
    1. re: durhamois
      b
      burgeoningfoodie Feb 10, 2014 09:03 AM

      I like Lilly's pizza but not if I'm looking for thin charred crust. Unfortunately I never got to the.. pizza place that use to be in N. Durham I think it was.. I think it was also in an odd shaped building but it had a lot of followers.

      1. re: burgeoningfoodie
        h
        HitBullWinSteak Feb 10, 2014 09:08 AM

        Are you talking about Durham Pizza Restaurant? I used to love that place

        1. re: HitBullWinSteak
          b
          burgeoningfoodie Feb 10, 2014 09:10 AM

          I don't recall. I think it was in a brown geodesic building or it moved there from another place and then soon closed.

          1. re: burgeoningfoodie
            meatn3 Feb 10, 2014 09:20 AM

            It was on N. Duke St. perhaps a mile past I-85. I don't recall the name though. Friends of mine live in N. Durham and loved the place. I only experienced it through take-out which was pretty decent 30 minutes out of the oven. Based on that I suspect dine-in was excellent

            1. re: meatn3
              g
              Guilty Gourmand Feb 10, 2014 01:02 PM

              Maybe the Pizza Palace which I think was originally located off of 9th Street in the building where Vin Rouge / Blu are located? I have friends that used to leave in Durham in the late 80s / early 90s that used to make special trips back just for the pizza there. Sadly, we never got to try it.

          2. re: HitBullWinSteak
            b
            boaviagem Feb 10, 2014 01:03 PM

            Are you talking about the restaurant that was in the geodesic dome looking building on Guess Road? This is 3218 Guess Road which is now Bella's Cuisine.

            There was a restaurant on Hillsborough Road (either in the space that is now Blu Seafood or Vin Rouge) for years called the Pizza Palace. The owners were two-time mayor of Durham Harry Rodenhizer and family. Sometime after the restaurant closed on Hillsborough Road, I think it reopened at 3218 Guess Road with Harry's daughter Faye in charge. I don't recall if it was still called the Pizza Palace or if it had another name. I do remember being taken there for Father's Day one year.

            YELP still has a listing for Pizza Palace at 3218 Guess Road. See http://www.yelp.com/biz/pizza-palace-...

            Can anyone add to my recollection?

            1. re: boaviagem
              b
              burgeoningfoodie Feb 10, 2014 01:11 PM

              Yes I believe thats what it was and the nod to Guilty Gourmand. I never got to try it either but it seemed it was a much beloved institution.

              1. re: boaviagem
                meatn3 Feb 10, 2014 03:26 PM

                Yes, Guess Rd. is where the geodesic dome is! Not N. Duke - my bad, glanced at a map and got the wrong road.

        2. b
          boaviagem Feb 6, 2014 07:41 PM

          The INDY and its reviewer think this place is the greatest. They are on the cover of the Durham/Chapel Hill Feb 5, 2014 edition and the reviewer gushes like Mt. Vesuvius.

          Review
          http://www.indyweek.com/indyweek/pompieri-pizza-vies-as-the-triangles-best/Content?oid=3820459

          Cover
          http://www.indyweek.com/imager/pompie...

          13 Replies
          1. re: boaviagem
            LulusMom Feb 7, 2014 03:44 AM

            Thanks for the link. Worth reading the comments too.

            1. re: LulusMom
              r
              rockycat Feb 7, 2014 04:28 AM

              I would add to the comments, "Sounds like the reviewer swallowed a thesaurus." It took so long to wade through all the high-falutin' SAT words, I gave up about halfway through. I rue the day publications decided that editors were an unnecessary luxury.

              1. re: rockycat
                c
                chazzer Feb 7, 2014 05:40 AM

                Wow, you are right about that reviewer. My take on the review, the pizza comes out slightly burnt (and that's a good thing}, it comes out with scissors (and that's not a good thing}, and the reviewer confused Pompieri with pompous.

                1. re: chazzer
                  d
                  durhamois Feb 7, 2014 10:55 AM

                  Clever, Chazzer!

                2. re: rockycat
                  h
                  HitBullWinSteak Feb 7, 2014 10:26 AM

                  I agreed with the commenter who said that Pizza Snobbery doesn't really fit with Durham ethos. I like to think of Durham's food scene as a meritocracy. If it's good, it's good. It doesn't have to follow proscribed rules for what pizza HAS to be.

                  And the reality is that, despite using Caputo 00 flour, Pompieri still isn't that good. It's decidedly mediocre pizza for premium prices.

                  1. re: HitBullWinSteak
                    t
                    ToothTooth Feb 7, 2014 12:27 PM

                    How's this for pizza snobbery: I almost never go out for pizza anymore since I bought a baking steel. It produces a fantastic homemade pizza that would bring all Durham pizza joints to their Caputo 00 flour-covered knees!

                    http://bakingsteel.com/

                    Seriously, that steel rules the pizza school.

                    On a somewhat related note, if I went to a restaurant and was served a whole, unsliced pizza and then someone handed me a pair of friggin' scissors to cut the thing with, you better believe someone is gonna karate chopped in the throat! That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.

                    1. re: ToothTooth
                      LulusMom Feb 7, 2014 01:08 PM

                      We'll be over in about an hour ...

                      1. re: ToothTooth
                        d
                        D R C Feb 7, 2014 02:39 PM

                        I'll bring the lamb meatballs and Cacio di Roma :-).

                        I've always wondered about a cooking surface like that, what a great idea. Which will it be, 1/4" 3/8" or 1/2"???

                        1. re: D R C
                          t
                          ToothTooth Feb 8, 2014 10:29 AM

                          I purchased the one that's 1/4" thick. It's plenty heavy, gets damned hot and stays that way.

                        2. re: ToothTooth
                          b
                          bbqme Feb 7, 2014 09:47 PM

                          Those sissors will last until the first person cuts his/her fingers and threaten to sue.

                          On another note, I for one enjoy David A.'s flowery narrative.

                          1. re: bbqme
                            meatn3 Feb 7, 2014 11:21 PM

                            Or the scissors start disappearing...

                            I use poultry shears to cut my homemade pizza since I don't have a pizza cutter. If I'm ordering pizza out I really don't want to risk getting burnt, making a mess or having my pizza get cold while I cut it myself.

                  2. re: boaviagem
                    b
                    burgeoningfoodie Feb 7, 2014 08:52 AM

                    Funny how he says it doesn't tend to be trendy but what is in the photograph at the top of the article.. pizza with cracklins and pork belly. Pork belly while not as trendy as it was last year is still not an average topping unless you want to call it by its lesser brothers name of bacon. We will see if they are still the same place in about two years.

                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                      LulusMom Feb 7, 2014 08:54 AM

                      I thought the same thing about the trendiness issue. If they're calling a pizza the Florida, that doesn't seem all that authentic to me.

                  3. Tehama Feb 1, 2014 06:20 AM

                    After nearly getting run down on the street outside Pompieri the other night by a reckless driver, the 4 of us made our way into the restaurant and stood in line to order. You get a menu while waiting in line, and there are very few options. There are 2 cashiers and you pay for your order at the time, get a ticket thingy, and then go in search of a table.

                    And wait
                    And wait
                    And wait
                    And wait
                    And wait

                    Well, the tiny salad arrived moments after we sat down, but the pizza arrived nearly 40 minutes later. WITH SCISSORS. WITH SCISSORS!!!

                    We ordered Margherita and a personal pizza with meat. There was no consistency between the two pizzas in terms of how the dough was treated and how they were baked. One was thick and the other thin, and you could tell that one was lightly touched and the other beat up so that the result in the baking was different. The results were that we saw many things could be done to improve the whole experience, but the pizzeria is not even close to the purported Neapolitan experience.

                    (Bella Mia has a better consistency and a great final product and Toro - without even trying to be Neapolitan - represents a better example of Neapolitan pizza than what was shown at Pompieri)

                    The crust was unevenly baked around the edges, which is the result of poor spreading of the dough and timing in the oven. The tomato sauce was flavorless (not imported Italian San Marzano) and could have benefited from more salt.

                    Did I mention it arrives with scissors? And you had to wait a ridiculously long period of time for it? No wonder the restaurant appeared packed.... everyone was waiting on their food.

                    Definitely a no-go-back for me.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Tehama
                      LulusMom Feb 1, 2014 06:50 AM

                      Thanks for taking one for the team. Sounds miserable.

                      1. re: LulusMom
                        Tehama Feb 1, 2014 03:11 PM

                        Yeah… All 4 of us were disappointed mightily. Pizza Toro is a 1000000x better option for pizza in Durham. I think Toro should be open next week/very soon following the fire they had.

                        1. re: Tehama
                          LulusMom Feb 1, 2014 04:11 PM

                          With Panzanella gone I think Toro has probably moved to our list of pizzas (at least that style of pizza). I look forward to going back.

                      2. re: Tehama
                        b
                        burgeoningfoodie Feb 3, 2014 01:03 PM

                        I've heard it is essentially the same as their other restaurant but with pizza instead of burgers. In all seriousness, when they announced this I groaned and hoped it wouldn't float because there doesn't need to be anymore pizza downtown.

                        Don't get me wrong. I'm not anti local but just cause your local doesn't mean you are good. Just because your good doesn't mean you need to be in that particular area. In this case, neither parts are true apparently. I've been to BC Burgers and Brewery once but I can't recall anything that made their burger any better than someone elses.

                        1. re: Tehama
                          b
                          bbqme Feb 3, 2014 08:50 PM

                          Are the pizzas really 12" as billed on their menu? Another notch in Toro's column: theirs are at least 14-15."

                        2. b
                          burgeoningfoodie Jul 16, 2013 07:56 AM

                          Given the talk about family friendly restaurants.. I came across this...

                          http://living.msn.com/family-parentin...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                            b
                            buttercup3 Jul 16, 2013 07:07 PM

                            Yikes.

                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                              romansperson Jul 24, 2013 05:30 PM

                              Back in the day, I believe they called that a playpen, not a crib. And maybe not such a bad idea if you are dining out near a busy street :)

                            2. b
                              buttercup3 Jul 13, 2013 01:38 PM

                              I don't see how you can say that downtown is saturated with pizza-at least with quality pizza. I had high hopes for Lily's but think its awful. Not a fan of sweet crust, cheesy, chewy pizza. Prefer the thin crust, wood fired pizza. Yes, there is Toro, but as a mom of 3 little kids I don't go there. Its not that kind of place, which is fine and has its place. I welcome a casual wood fired place I can take the whole family and enjoy.

                              50 Replies
                              1. re: buttercup3
                                LulusMom Jul 13, 2013 01:40 PM

                                Maybe try Panzanella in Carrboro, if it isn't too far from you.

                                1. re: LulusMom
                                  b
                                  buttercup3 Jul 13, 2013 01:56 PM

                                  I have thanks, and its great but I live in Durham, pretty close to downtown and I try to keep my $$ local.

                                  1. re: buttercup3
                                    carolinadawg Jul 13, 2013 03:24 PM

                                    Wow, that's a very narrow definition of local. The neighboring county isn't local enough?

                                    1. re: carolinadawg
                                      b
                                      buttercup3 Jul 13, 2013 03:52 PM

                                      Not when I have to pack 3 kids up and drive 30 minutes. Besides local is local right? Where do our tax dollars go if not to our schools in our county? Not neighboring. But plz do not want to start a debate on "local".

                                      1. re: buttercup3
                                        carolinadawg Jul 13, 2013 04:15 PM

                                        Sorry to upset you...didn't mean to, and didn't understand your perspective. But packing up 3 kids is an entirely different issue than the economics of school financing. Local funding of which, by the way, comes primarily from property taxes, not sales taxes. So you can eat in CH without worry. :-)

                                        1. re: carolinadawg
                                          b
                                          buttercup3 Jul 13, 2013 05:23 PM

                                          Except for the support of Durham businesses, Durham business owners, Durham workers? Which effect property taxes, both residential and commercial. I don't get to go out that often (3 kids) so when I do I make my patronage count. Not that I don't ever eat out in Chapel Hill, but given the choice I prefer to stay in Durham and keep my money there.

                                          1. re: buttercup3
                                            carolinadawg Jul 13, 2013 07:29 PM

                                            Sorry, not really following your logic, but its all good. We all get to choose where to spend our money and which businesses to support.

                                        2. re: buttercup3
                                          LulusMom Jul 13, 2013 04:39 PM

                                          Totally get it. To me, 30 minutes is a huge commute. That said, I have been to Pizza Toro with 2 kids (mine and another local chowhound and family) with no problem at all. You might try it and see if it feels more comfortable than you're thinking it will. Try early.

                                          1. re: LulusMom
                                            b
                                            buttercup3 Jul 13, 2013 05:25 PM

                                            Been there with the kids, think if Pompiere is a similar business model to BCBB than it will be a much more comfortable option. Will keep Toro for grown up nights.

                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                              d
                                              D R C Jul 14, 2013 05:28 AM

                                              +1

                                              My kids 7 and 9 love Pizzeria Toro; we've also been with their 11 year old cousins who aren't adventurous eaters and enjoyed the place. With 4 kids it also helped to ask the server to time the kids pizzas to come out with the salads.

                                              (Edit - oops, meant to put this under LulusMom's post.)

                                              1. re: D R C
                                                b
                                                buttercup3 Jul 14, 2013 07:52 AM

                                                Happy Toro works for so many families. I was just trying to say that I will welcome a more casual place with the quality and style of pizza I like to eat. Think there is plenty of room for both.

                                                1. re: buttercup3
                                                  t
                                                  TerryG Jul 14, 2013 02:21 PM

                                                  Pizzeria Toro has the most uncomfortable seats ever. Not good for seniors who lack a tush.

                                                  1. re: TerryG
                                                    LulusMom Jul 14, 2013 04:02 PM

                                                    Have you eaten at Mateo? I love that place, but the high seats are very uncomfortable.

                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                      b
                                                      bbqme Jul 14, 2013 05:47 PM

                                                      It ain't hipster unless the seats are uncomfortable! LOL I do love Mateo though. The staff is really friendly.

                                                      1. re: LulusMom
                                                        b
                                                        burgeoningfoodie Jul 15, 2013 06:45 AM

                                                        Mateo would have been better just making it like a true tapas place and have people stand though that would be a problem for kids :-p

                                      2. re: buttercup3
                                        b
                                        bbqme Jul 13, 2013 08:38 PM

                                        Satisfaction's, 604 at West Village, Pop's, Lilly's, Pizzeria Toro and now Pompieri-- that's 6 places serving pizza within walking distance of each other in downtown Durham! I'd say that's saturated. How do you know Pompieri will be a family friendly place? If there is one complaint about downtown Durham eateries they aren't very family friendly. There is one way Pompieri could be successful-- serve pizza by the slice. They would do well with the lunch crowd.

                                        1. re: bbqme
                                          d
                                          durhamois Jul 14, 2013 04:55 PM

                                          I for one would love to see some kid-friendly restaurants with outdoor (preferably fenced in) play spaces open up. I'm particularly surprised there isn't something like that in Chapel Hill, given the density of the child population there. I can't say that I really need to see more kid-friendly stuff in downtown Durham. Between the food trucks, the cupcake bars, the burgers and pizza, and The Parlour (not to mention the skateboard park, the bull statue, etc.) I already have plenty of stuff to do downtown with my kids. I'm more interested in having stuff to do when I have a babysitter at this point.

                                          1. re: bbqme
                                            b
                                            burgeoningfoodie Jul 15, 2013 06:48 AM

                                            Oy is that the restaurants aren't family friendly or that our society doesn't know how to raise its kids to eat better and behave better in such locations?

                                            I do understand what you are saying but that is why the city is the city and the burbs are the burbs :-) As far as pizza that is family friendly.. Mellow Mushroom is family friendly. The pizza isn't spectacular but it isn't bad either.

                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                              b
                                              bbqme Jul 15, 2013 07:06 AM

                                              Do you have kids?

                                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                LulusMom Jul 15, 2013 08:20 AM

                                                Hold the phone there burgeoning. As someone who grew up in a city (IN a city) and who has brought up her daughter from birth to act acceptably in restaurants, I don't quite get your point. Do you think only restaurants in the burbs should be willing to let kids feel comfortable? You think kids deserve only "burbs-worthy" (whatever that might mean) food?

                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                  b
                                                  burgeoningfoodie Jul 15, 2013 09:52 AM

                                                  No I don't have kids... yet. No I was saying that the their a difference in feel between the burbs and a city and the likelihood of finding Type A restaurant in one place is probably higher than it would be in the other. I also was making the observation that it seems like in other parts of the world that society has reared its children to either act differently in public court and/or eating out is a different event. This brought up the question as to whether we are complaining about restaurants needing to cater toward children in a certain area vs. it being our jobs as parents to create more socially adept children (within a childs means) and ones that are more open to eating something other than tater tots and mac and cheese. How kid friendly can a place in Durham be with limited space? That is the challenge. And several places in many suburbs have great food.. I'm saying the space and why people come downtown doesn't necessarily facilitate making a kid friendly place.

                                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                    b
                                                    buttercup3 Jul 15, 2013 10:13 AM

                                                    I don't think "kid Friendly" means children get to run free. My kids behave when we go out, or we leave and yes it is the parents job to make sure they do-I know many parents who do not sadly. Kid friendly is whether there is 1 changing table in a bathroom. That they have 1 highchair that could actually reach the table. That they have staff that will help/modify a dish so a kid will eat it. Not even that they have to have a kids menu. (Which to me is no different than someone with a food allergy or vegetarian requesting something changed) And that the staff and other patrons do not make you feel like an A hole for coming in in the first place.

                                                    1. re: buttercup3
                                                      b
                                                      burgeoningfoodie Jul 15, 2013 10:27 AM

                                                      Oh okay well then yeah that makes sense. I don't know anything about the high chair situation as the people we eat with that have kids either don't need them or the kids are at home. Interesting note about the lack of a changing table. I'm iffy on them altering dishes so that a child will eat them.. the difference is that food allergy and vegetarian changing something is that if they were to eat a certain item it would make them ill.

                                                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                        b
                                                        buttercup3 Jul 15, 2013 10:49 AM

                                                        True, but there is also a part about being gracious and a part of the service industry. If as I grown up I ask for dressing on the side-should be ok right? So if my kid wants the pasta dish but not the pepper and onion? It should be ok right? ANd my whole point with this whole thing has been that I think there is plenty of room for all kinds of places. I like to have grown up places to go to on date night too. But the other 29 nights a month, kid friendly is nice if we get to go out.

                                                        1. re: buttercup3
                                                          b
                                                          burgeoningfoodie Jul 15, 2013 11:25 AM

                                                          Right but really the whole point of this post is of the Pizza place coming to town in a place that already has enough pizza places that should suit everyone's tastes and about how restaurant spaces could be used to bring something different to the area with a type of cuisine that isn't in walking distance of something similar.

                                                          On a similar note, I don't know where The Roxy is but it is being replaced by a restaurant from Triangle Brewing Company (I think that)..

                                                        2. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                          meatn3 Jul 25, 2013 06:39 AM

                                                          " I don't know anything about the high chair situation as the people we eat with that have kids either don't need them or the kids are at home. "

                                                          The lack of kid friendliness may be why you have observed this...There are so many issues to deal with when trying to do anything with a little one. Many people just give up trying for a while. A restaurant which doesn't have a changing table, usable high chair, etc. either has serious space issues or is making a not so subtle point.

                                                    2. re: LulusMom
                                                      v
                                                      veganhater Jul 18, 2013 09:45 PM

                                                      Agreed. I also would like to point out a couple restaurants in NYC that would contradict BF's burbs vs. city statement. Landmarc is a good restaurant that also caters to kids smack in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world. Big city food along side cereal and cotton candy for kids. Chocolate by the Bald Man is another great kid friendly restaurant that's not anywhere near the burbs. Both places give you the option to have interesting food with some novelty items for the kids. In the city.

                                                      I personally find Toro to be very kid friendly. Firstly, they serve pizza in a relatively casual setting. Kids tend to like pizza. They also have Abita root beer and Pellagrino fruit spritzers, along with an open wood burning oven which our kids love to watch in action. We've had multiple visits with multiple kids and the staff has always been very accommodating. No tablecloths, somewhat loud atmosphere, and pizza makes this a go to spot when dining with children in downtown Durham.

                                                      1. re: veganhater
                                                        LulusMom Jul 19, 2013 02:31 AM

                                                        Chocolate by the Bald Man is such a great name. And yeah, I've taken Lulu out to eat at some very good places in NYC and never had a problem. Not every place is going to be right for a kid mostly because of the pacing of the meal, but there is plenty of city food for a kid. Speaking of such things, have you made your family trip to Paris yet, and how did it turn out? If you haven't gone yet, I'll tell you that the place that I haven't been able to get out of my mind (for a variety of reasons) is Josephine Chez Dumonet. I hope you made/make it there.

                                                        Durhamois, sorry to have had this turn into a where can kids eat conversation. I very much agree with your original premise - variety in downtown Durham would be very much appreciated.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom
                                                          b
                                                          burgeoningfoodie Jul 19, 2013 06:44 AM

                                                          Max Brenner is the Chocolate by the Bald man restaurant. Its good that I made the statement that I did so that people can offer differing opinions and now I know about Lupa being kid friendly along with Landmarc.

                                                          I do think that it comes down to the type of child you have and age of child. But also your statement doesn't really contradict mine because there is not such thing as a Burb when it comes to NYC.

                                                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                            LulusMom Jul 19, 2013 07:59 AM

                                                            I was actually talking about DC, but point taken. And there is definitely such a thing as a burb in DC.

                                                            I can remember Lulu at 5 months old sitting in Balthazar in NYC chewing on her feet while we drank champagne and ate oysters. Lovely family moment.

                                                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                              r
                                                              rockycat Jul 19, 2013 08:39 AM

                                                              And yes, there very much *is* such a thing as a burb when it comes to NYC. Have you ever lived there?

                                                              1. re: rockycat
                                                                b
                                                                burgeoningfoodie Jul 22, 2013 12:13 PM

                                                                Nope but been plenty. There are suburbs to Manhattan. I guess the Bronx and Staten Island are more burbs like than Manhattan, Queens and Brooklyn.

                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                                  carolinadawg Jul 22, 2013 04:01 PM

                                                                  Actually, it's more like Nassau and Westchester Counties, SW Connecticut and NE New Jersey.

                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                    b
                                                                    burgeoningfoodie Jul 23, 2013 09:01 AM

                                                                    Then it isn't NYC is it?

                                                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                                      carolinadawg Jul 23, 2013 09:05 AM

                                                                      They are the NYC suburbs. Its not a matter of "city limits", its a matter of location, land uses, commuting patterns, etc.

                                                                      1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                        b
                                                                        burgeoningfoodie Jul 23, 2013 09:09 AM

                                                                        Well I'm thinking like here you have Downtown Raleigh and and you have Raleigh Suburbs, you have down town durham and you have durham burbs.. you have downtown chapel hill and you have...... carrboro? So I'm coming at it from that frame of thought. I'm not looking at different cities that act as a suburb to a different borough.

                                                                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                                          carolinadawg Jul 23, 2013 09:14 AM

                                                                          Very large metropolitan areas are different from small to midsize cities like Raleigh and Durham.

                                                                          1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                            LulusMom Jul 23, 2013 10:58 AM

                                                                            Very much so. There are "burbs" in Chapel Hill.

                                                                          2. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                                            c
                                                                            chazzer Jul 23, 2013 11:12 AM

                                                                            I always thought of my neighborhood in queens to be very burb like. I can say the same thing about other neighborhoods in Brooklyn, the Bronx and Staten Island.

                                                                            1. re: chazzer
                                                                              b
                                                                              burgeoningfoodie Jul 23, 2013 01:19 PM

                                                                              The is my idea of what they are. In either case, I wasn't meaning to start and argument. It is just how I saw things in relationship to the ratio of kid friendly and non kid friendly places... yeah... something like that.

                                                                              In any case, bring on something different for Durham.. if there were a large enough community bring on something like Baohaus or Golden Steamer.

                                                              2. re: LulusMom
                                                                v
                                                                veganhater Jul 20, 2013 05:07 AM

                                                                I get to stay at home so others in my family can enjoy Paris. I'll pass that along, and I've already included it on my original list. Thanks.

                                                                I'm pretty confident NYC has the largest sprawl of suburbia in the country, but with respect to the op, I'll get back on topic. Another downtown pizza option, while not a bad thing as long as Toro continues to succeed, is somewhat disappointing. Lots of concepts seem more appealing to me. In no particular order, regional French or Italian (something like Lupa, which is a decidedly Roman eatery), Thai (tell me I'm missing a hidden gem. A Thai friend in the area says not), southwestern American (more Mesa grill than tex-mex), Venezuelan (killer arepas and good beer sounds cheap and fun), Peruvian (ceviche and pisco sours), Jewish deli (I miss real pastrami), Austrian (under-appreciated cuisine), Australian (just kidding). I could go on, but y'all weigh in. Maybe someone will listen.

                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                  v
                                                                  veganhater Jul 20, 2013 05:15 AM

                                                                  Forgot to mention a replacement of some kind for the void left by magnolia grill

                                                                  1. re: veganhater
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                                                                    TerryG Jul 20, 2013 07:55 AM

                                                                    And a casual Moroccan. Had high hopes for Babylon in downtown Raleigh but it disappoints.

                                                                2. re: veganhater
                                                                  d
                                                                  D R C Jul 19, 2013 04:44 AM

                                                                  It isn't what I wrote but it's exactly what I was thinking, veganhater! At least from a foodie standpoint it's hard for me to imagine more kid-friendly.

                                                                  In NYC if you want to eat at a Thomas Keller place that's fairly kid-friendly and don't want to spend 300 bucks for the kids meal, Bouchon Bakery overlooking Columbus Circle was pretty cool. The kids can play with stuff at the Samsung store across the mall while you wait for your table. No reservations needed when we went, just stop by on your way back from the natural history museum and Central Park.

                                                                  Lulusmom, in terms of adult restaurant timing, we hand our kids an ipad and an iphone and collect them when the next course arrives...even better if the place has wifi so they can play Minecraft together :-). Our kids are odd though, last time we went out to a nice place without them (Mandolin) they gave us a hard time for two weeks for not taking them.

                                                                  Paris, VH? I've wanted to eat at Pierre Gagnaire for years...wonder how the kids would do there.

                                                                  1. re: D R C
                                                                    r
                                                                    rockycat Jul 19, 2013 05:00 AM

                                                                    Every kid is different, as is every parent. We had out kid at Batali's Lupa in NYC a few times when she was 8 and everyone had great meals. I regret holding off on taking her to Magnolia Grill but I was concerned about her ability to sit through so long a meal. We ended up going the last month they were open and boy, did I ever hear it about not taking her sooner.

                                                                    I've yet to have any problems from staff or other diners because we were eating with a child. I know Lulu knows how to behave in restaurants, as I'm sure do the children of many other hounds. That's because we teach them how to behave. I can't speak for other kids or other parents.

                                                                    1. re: rockycat
                                                                      LulusMom Jul 19, 2013 05:44 AM

                                                                      Lupa is a *great* place to take kids in NYC without giving up on food quality one single bit.

                                                                      And yes, every kid is different.

                                                            2. re: bbqme
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                                                              PGDinDurham Jul 20, 2013 01:53 PM

                                                              Don't forget the Mellow Mushroom!

                                                              1. re: PGDinDurham
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                                                                veganhater Jul 21, 2013 06:12 AM

                                                                I've been trying to ever since my first visit

                                                                1. re: veganhater
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                                                                  bbqme Jul 22, 2013 10:02 PM

                                                                  HA, Oh it's not that bad! I like the whole wheatiness of their crust, I just prefer a much thinner crust.

                                                            3. re: buttercup3
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                                                              burgeoningfoodie Jul 15, 2013 06:43 AM

                                                              Likes are biases. You have Toro, Mellow Mushroom, you have Lilly's and you have satisfaction. Whether you like the crust or not makes no different to me and whether there is a pizza place that the majority of people in the town like. All I'm saying is that for a downtown that is relatively small. You don't need more than 2 of any one type of restaurant and I'm discounting fast food because well chow hound (at least in smaller cities) shouldn't even bring up fast food unless it offers something unique.

                                                            4. b
                                                              burgeoningfoodie Jul 12, 2013 07:27 AM

                                                              Revolution does good Italian. I'm not saying they are Italian but that is the chefs background and the pastas are made in house.

                                                              1. b
                                                                burgeoningfoodie Jul 12, 2013 07:24 AM

                                                                I said the same thing when they posted this. Cause what Durham needs is more pizza. Actually there is NO place that needs another pizza joint.. maybe Chapel Hill needs a wood fired pizza place but Durham has plenty of good/decent pizza options. It is too bad no one has the knowledge or ingenuity to open a ramen shop, yakitori bar, noodle bar or something like that. I'm not one to wish people bad luck, but I really do hope it bottoms up so that others will get the message that what I think most Durhamite want is diversity. It's not like you have to go far to either Lilly's, Toro, or the place in Brightleaf.. Satisfaction is it? Come on Durham.. be a little creative? Bring back a vegetarian place or something unique.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie
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                                                                  ToothTooth Jul 12, 2013 07:32 AM

                                                                  Yeah, speaking of casual veg places, I'd like to have something like Raleigh's Remedy Diner or Fiction Kitchen in Durham.

                                                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                                    LulusMom Jul 12, 2013 08:57 AM

                                                                    Speaking of vegetarian, is Butternut Squash still open in Chapel Hill? Such an odd location that I never notice or think of it.

                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
                                                                      t
                                                                      ToothTooth Jul 12, 2013 09:27 AM

                                                                      According to Triangle Food Guy, Butternut Squash closed:

                                                                      http://trianglefoodguy.blogspot.com/2...

                                                                      I guess Sage Cafe is still an option for veg dining in CH, but I've never been. I've been meaning to go there for quite some time.

                                                                      1. re: ToothTooth
                                                                        LulusMom Jul 12, 2013 10:31 AM

                                                                        Same here. I think of it when it isn't convenient or when my husband says "absolutely not" to the idea of vegetarian.

                                                                        Thanks for the info on Butternut Squash. I really think that location is a killer.

                                                                        1. re: ToothTooth
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                                                                          burgeoningfoodie Jul 12, 2013 12:46 PM

                                                                          And good riddance. That place was horrid. I never experienced Another Thyme when it was open but it was there for long enough that it must have been decent at best. There aren't many strictly vegetarian restaurants in the area but having one in each city would be nice. I mean it IS possible to eat vegetarian at many places but still. Sage is good but cramped and a bit pricey.

                                                                      2. re: burgeoningfoodie
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                                                                        durhamois Jul 12, 2013 07:02 PM

                                                                        Burgeoningfoodie I LOVE your ideas for a noodle shop, yakitori bar, or something along those lines.

                                                                        I adore Revolution, and I eat there all the time. I wouldn't classify it as an Italian restaurant though. I haven't been back to L'Uva in quite some time, so I should probably give it another shot. If they had a liquor license, I'd probably get back there a lot sooner ;-)

                                                                      3. d
                                                                        dinersaurus Jul 11, 2013 11:56 AM

                                                                        I agree. Downtown Durham does not need another quality, wood-fired pizza joint.

                                                                        Please send it to Raleigh. We can use it. :)

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: dinersaurus
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                                                                          Tom from Raleigh Jul 11, 2013 03:31 PM

                                                                          Send Carrboro the Korean Fried chicken place across from NCSU and then we can talk...

                                                                          1. re: Tom from Raleigh
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                                                                            bbqme Jul 11, 2013 11:16 PM

                                                                            Is it that much better than Korchipi in Chapel Hill?

                                                                            1. re: Tom from Raleigh
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                                                                              dinersaurus Jul 12, 2013 05:51 AM

                                                                              No deal. We'll send you a Bonefish Grill and half a dozen frozen yogurt places with faux Scandinavian names though.

                                                                              1. re: dinersaurus
                                                                                meatn3 Jul 25, 2013 06:17 AM

                                                                                I think we can afford to be generous and send them Tilted Kilt too...

                                                                          2. LulusMom Jul 11, 2013 02:08 AM

                                                                            Totally agree. As for Italian fine dining the last report I read on Piedmont was pretty dismal. Has anyone been back? It has been years for me. It was a good place in the beginning and it's a shame it isn't still.

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: LulusMom
                                                                              carolinadawg Jul 11, 2013 05:08 AM

                                                                              Piedmont is Italian?

                                                                              1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                                LulusMom Jul 11, 2013 06:29 AM

                                                                                Yes. Unless they have changed it. Have you heard that it is no longer Italian? I'd love any new info on the place. Such a shame that it went downhill so fast. Named for the region of Italy that is at the foot of the mountains (pied = foot; mont = mountain).

                                                                                Edit: just looked up their menu - looks like they no longer *are* especially Italian. No pasta section, nothing that screamed Italian to me. But it did used to be.

                                                                                1. re: LulusMom
                                                                                  carolinadawg Jul 11, 2013 06:48 AM

                                                                                  I always thought they got the name from the area of the Southeastern US called the Piedmont (which did come from the Italian area). I've never been, so I guess I never paid much attention, but the name always suggested NC to me, as opposed to Italy. In any event, per their website, they are "Contemporary American, seasonally focused and ingredient driven. Our menu changes daily based on what is currently available.". Did they really totally change concept at some point?

                                                                                  Edit: It appears the place changed owners in 2009, and perhaps went from Italian to its current format at that time. Interesting how the same name can fit two different concepts!

                                                                                  1. re: carolinadawg
                                                                                    LulusMom Jul 11, 2013 07:22 AM

                                                                                    I definitely think they were playing on the fact that they used local products to make Italian food in the beginning and that is why they picked that name. And yes, they were definitely very Italian then, but obviously not any more. Glad your question got me to look it up and find out they've changed.

                                                                            2. b
                                                                              bbqme Jul 10, 2013 11:39 PM

                                                                              Totally agree! Durham could use another good, wood-fired pizza joint but why put it downtown where there's already Pizzeria Toro? As to an Italian restaurant downtown I think L'Uva is really good!

                                                                              16 Replies
                                                                              1. re: bbqme
                                                                                k
                                                                                ksbee Jul 11, 2013 11:49 AM

                                                                                +1 - L'Uva has been very good the times I have been. Fresh, in-house made pastas with great sauces/ragu.

                                                                                1. re: bbqme
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                                                                                  bbqme Jul 11, 2013 11:18 PM

                                                                                  Oh, and Pop's is pretty good as well. I've enjoyed their gnocchi.

                                                                                  1. re: bbqme
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                                                                                    jnwall Jul 23, 2013 06:04 AM

                                                                                    I agree about L'Uva. Best Italian restaurant in the Triangle.

                                                                                    Piedmont never was strictly Italian, although they used to have enough pasta dishes on the menu to eat an Italian-style dinner if one chose well.

                                                                                    (Italian-style = antipasti + pasta course + meat course)

                                                                                    1. re: bbqme
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                                                                                      chazzer Jul 24, 2013 06:26 PM

                                                                                      Just ate pizza at Pizzeria Toro for the first time and I for one will welcome a new Pizzeria close by.

                                                                                      1. re: chazzer
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                                                                                        veganhater Jul 24, 2013 08:37 PM

                                                                                        Bummer. What left you underwhelmed? My only issue, and it's minor, has been with the non-pizza dishes being pricey for their size. I wasn't looking for more food, just a little expensive for a small appetizer of raw vegetables, for example. I could see some not loving the blistered crust as much as I do, but the texture and toppings of the pizza's are top notch. The beverage program and service are also very strong for a pizza joint. This is based on multiple visits.

                                                                                        1. re: veganhater
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                                                                                          chazzer Jul 25, 2013 05:06 AM

                                                                                          There were four of us, the crust on the pizzas ranged from tan to burnt black. My pizza was half under seasoned and the other half over seasoned, like when he sprinkled the salt he put all of it on just half the pie.

                                                                                          All of us complained that the pizzas were bland and tasteless. Comparing it to places like Sally's or Pepe's in New Haven, Totonno's in Brooklyn, or Osteria Vetri in Philadelphia, it is not that good.

                                                                                          The place is style over substance, and it is uncomfortable and overly loud, Plus when I pay over $14 per 12-inch pizza I don't want to sit next to strangers like I am in a slice joint.

                                                                                          And note to waitress - if you are going to be condescending and nose in the air, learn how to pronounce Gianduia correctly.

                                                                                          1. re: chazzer
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                                                                                            veganhater Jul 25, 2013 06:11 AM

                                                                                            Not a normal night as far as the pizza's are concerned. I've never had a bland pie there. I have had a couple that bordered on having too much char.

                                                                                            1. re: chazzer
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                                                                                              burgeoningfoodie Jul 25, 2013 06:32 AM

                                                                                              Same as Gianduja? Just never seen is spelled that way. See its too bad appetizing never really stuck around (hell deli's, the good ones, are a dime a dozen) and so that would have been a good use of the location that pompieri is going but I'd still jump for a good ramen/yakitori outpost. It may scream hipster but I think it would work.

                                                                                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie
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                                                                                                chazzer Jul 25, 2013 08:22 AM

                                                                                                Same as, alternative spelling

                                                                                                http://dallasfood.org/2011/01/giandui...

                                                                                                for more details

                                                                                              2. re: chazzer
                                                                                                LulusMom Jul 25, 2013 06:46 AM

                                                                                                Huh. Just took my picky out of town relatives there for dinner a couple of nights ago and it was a big hit. Four different pizzas (the mushroom, the anchovy, the sausage and the potato) and everyone liked what they tried. My only complaint is that I found the tomato sauce on my anchovy a little too sweet - no one else at the table could understand what I was talking about and thought it was spicy (I *like* spicy). My pizza was probably the most cooked, closest to charred, but not in any way a problem for my tastes, but I realize everyone has different taste on stuff like that. We had 3 starter salads to share and were especially taken with the fresh corn with truffles. The kohlrabi and celery was also very nice and refreshing. The place was packed early and very loud, but fun. Tons of kids there. I'd say the potato pizza with bagna cauda was my favorite - sounds weird but is so wonderful.

                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom
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                                                                                                  rockycat Jul 25, 2013 07:49 AM

                                                                                                  Was the mushroom pizza the one with creminis? I had that one and the only flavor there - and I mean only - was the salt sprinkled on at the end. I also had a problem with how scant the mushrooms were, especially since you can get them for $5/lb. retail at HT. Not exactly a budget-buster for the restaurant.
                                                                                                  I also tried the arugula pie and the only discernible flavor there was the arugula. Other ingredients were present by visual confirmation only.
                                                                                                  There were times during the meal that the smell of burning crust was getting overwhelming. I've never experienced that in any coal- or wood-burning pizza restaurant.
                                                                                                  Maybe it was a truly off night, but 4 of us, aged mid 50's through early 20's all had the same reactions. Given the relatively high prices for what we got, the truly blah food, and how many other good restaurants are in walking distance, I'm just not feeling any compulsion to give them a second chance. Just my opinion.

                                                                                                  1. re: rockycat
                                                                                                    LulusMom Jul 25, 2013 10:21 AM

                                                                                                    Yes, the creminis, and we all really loved the mushroom flavor and the cheese. Didn't notice salt, but I do think there was something I had a bite of that maybe had more salt on it than any other bite of food there (and it wasn't the anchovy).

                                                                                                    As for over-cooking the crust, if one has the time to do it, I'd send it back and say exactly why. They may not realize they're losing customers because of it. Again, I didn't have this problem, and I wouldn't have really been able to send back this particular time, but I'd be PO'd too if my food came out burnt. We've eaten there 3 times and really liked it each time.

                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom
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                                                                                                      burgeoningfoodie Jul 25, 2013 11:28 AM

                                                                                                      The only pizza I have ever had in this area that came out burnt (and without time to return it in this case) was Lilly's and that only happened once out of the 3-4 times I've been.

                                                                                                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                                                                                        LulusMom Jul 25, 2013 12:07 PM

                                                                                                        I've never been to Lily's. I wouldnt' want a burnt crust, so I understand the complaints about this.

                                                                                              3. re: veganhater
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                                                                                                D R C Jul 27, 2013 08:43 AM

                                                                                                Veganhater, you mentioned the sides. We've had a couple of misses from the Antipasti section but are just about always impressed with the salads, which I think can be at the level of the best restaurants in the area...strong focus on local, seasonal, and flavorful. For example a guy who brings wood for the oven also brought a huge tree fungus which made its way serendipitously into the salads for a few days. So pizza for the kids with whatever they want from the salads and sides we're eating :-).

                                                                                                I've seen a couple of pizzas come out beyond blistered out of maybe 15 or 20 we've had there, so it happens, but not often for us. I do think the wine markups are too high.

                                                                                              4. re: chazzer
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                                                                                                durhamois Jul 24, 2013 08:56 PM

                                                                                                I would not hold my breath for Pompieri pizzas being better quality than Toro's. It's not like Bull City Burger is that outstanding. If it were, I might be more enthusiastic.

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