looking good in the neighborhood


    At the risk of sounding like a lackey for the Durham Chamber of Commerce, I want to talk about our great neighborhood. Our street is actually on the border between three neighborhoods – Old West Durham (where we actually reside), Watts-Hillandale, and Walltown. Our local weekly newspaper, The Independent, publishes a list of The Best of the Triangle. Here is everything that made the list that is within walking distance (I’m talking three or four blocks here) of our house.

    Best of the Triangle: 2008 Readers’ Choice winners
    The Independent Weekly, June 2008

    Best local bookstores
    The Regulator (finalist) — awesome
    Nice Price Books (finalist)

    Best hair salon in Durham County
    Funky Monkey (finalist) – Ginger’s place

    Best jewelry store in Durham County

    The Bicycle Chain
    Best bike shop

    Best store to buy eyewear

    The Music Loft (finalist)
    Best place to buy music gear

    Dogstar Tattoo (finalist)
    Best tattoo studio
    Best place to get pierced

    Whole Foods
    Best retail cheese selection
    Best green business
    Best place to people watch (finalist)
    Best outdoor dining in Durham County
    Best business lunch
    Best salad
    Best comfort food (finalist)
    Best brunch/breakfast (finalist)
    Best bagel (finalist)

    Sam’s Quik Shop
    Best retail beer selection(finalist)

    Ninth Street Dance
    Best dance studio

    White Star Laundry & Cleaners (finalist)
    Best dry cleaner

    Mad Hatter’s Bakeshopamazing
    Best birthday cakes(finalist)
    Best desserts (finalist)
    Best bakery (finalist)

    Best chef in Durham County
    Ben Barker @ Magnolia Grill
    Amy Tornquist @ Watts Grocery (finalist) —my chef!
    Tim Lyons @ Blu Seafood (finalist)

    Watts Grocerymy restaurant!
    Best new restaurant in Durham County
    Best waitstaff in Durham County (tie)

    Blu Seafood & Bar
    Best waitstaff in Durham County (finalist)
    Best Caribbean cuisine (finalist)

    Magnolia Grill
    Best waitstaff in Durham County (finalist)

    Cosmic Cantina
    Best super cheap meal
    Best meal after 10 p.m. (finalist)

    Elmo’s DinerGinger’s fave
    Best children’s menu
    Best waitstaff in Durham County (tie)
    Best comfort food (finalist)
    Best brunch/breakfast (finalist)

    Bruegger’s Bagels
    Best bagel

    Best desserts (finalist)

    Dain’s PlaceI can vouch for all of these
    Best burger in Durham County
    Best neighborhood bar in Durham County (finalist)
    Best place to watch televised ACC in Durham County (finalist)
    Best bar food in Durham County (finalist)

    Vin Rouge
    Best French cuisine (finalist)

    Blue Corn Café
    Best Mexican/Latin American cuisine in Durham County (finalist)

    Dale’s Indian Cuisine
    Best Indian cuisine (finalist)

    The Green Room
    even Ella can go in
    Best place to shoot pool

    From burgers to bicycles, tattoos to tiramisu, with all kinds of ethnic food, coffee shops, an old school pool hall, and a great pub with a great burger, all I can say is I love where I live.


    P. S. — There’s a new recipe.


    1. OMG, The Magnolia Grill I think is the old Mayolas. You’re too young to have known this place–smoky pizza place where the kids from Duke went to dance, eat pizza and make out. I went back for a reunion and it had transformed itself from what I remembered into an upscale restaurant.

    2. Having actually partaken of the food at Watts Grocery, I can say that yes, indeed, it’s really good. Friendly waitstaff, although our waiter seemed a bit perplexed at why a bedraggled woman with five hungry, frumpy children would interpret a drive to Florida to eat there, rather than, say, McDonalds.

      But he served us with a smile.

      Congrats on stumbling into a very cool place, indeed.

    3. I think one of the things I like the most about you and Ginger is you hopped right in and took Durham in your hands and made it yours. I remember Ginger saying, “I found a place I want to go for a hair cut, it’s called the ‘funky monkey!'” I love that!

    4. Oh man, I am so SICK of the damn suburbs. awful. It’s easy to get sucked into the vortex of cheap and crappy living out here. then your kids are in school and don’t want to move and you’re in debt and the next thing you know, this is your life.

      can I come visit? After the kids leave home. if they ever do. 😉

    5. Hi, Milton. I’ve been reading your blog for a long time (food and religion, what’s more fun) and was excited that you’d moved to Durham. I’m even more excited that you’re living in and loving OWD. Maybe we’ll pass on 9th St some day and I’ll say hi.

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