<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1605080686399164&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Durham Hidden Gems You Should Discover

Posted by Discover Durham Staff on Nov 30, 2018 11:43:19 AM

It's not hard to find top-notch food, entertainment, and retail in Durham. But if you're looking for the hidden gems – tucked away eateries with a loyal following of regulars – you'll have to dig a little deeper. Explore unique Durham districts and unfamiliar retail and entertainment spots to expand your Bull City culinary horizons!

We read comments from Durham's loyal Facebook fans and Bull City Reddit users to learn their favorite secret-spot restaurants. Locals pitched in with the recommendations listed below.

Browse our convenient Google map of all of these locations.  

Estimated read time: 5 minutes

The Atomic Fern

This bar is not for those wishing to indulge in 'sports ball' watching. More for the gamers (board and otherwise), as well as local craft beer connoisseurs, this is a hangout hideout you should explore soon.


Banh's Cuisine

This cash-only, cozy restaurant on Ninth Street offers fresh flavors from Vietnam and China. 


Benson Nursery

This Durham retailer of quality locally grown trees and shrubs since 1998 is right off of Guess Road and home to hand spun wreaths and delightful foliage.

Benson Nursery


Bull City Craft

A beautiful world of fine art supplies, kid's crafts, unique gifts, and items by local artists awaits you near Southpoint, with a lounge for classes, parties, and drop-in craft projects for the family to enjoy.

Bull City Craft


Bull City Running Co.

If you've been wondering where to get that 'RUN DRM' swag, you've come to the right place. Voted best running store in the Triangle by Indy Week, this retailer is 'dedicated to building a community of runners and walkers'.

Bull City Running Co.


The Carrack Modern Art

This zero-commission art space seeks to empower local artists to forge productive cultural and socio-economic ties with their community through professional exhibit and performance opportunities.


Chicken Hut

Located on Fayetteville Street, this cash-only, 60-year-old soul food restaurant is known for its mouthwatering fried chicken. You can also find barbecue, collards, and more Southern staples depending on the day of the week.


Dulce Cafe and Gelato

Located in south Durham at Sutton Station, this delectable spot earned this Yelp review: "Oh. My. God. So delicious. Why did I wait so long?? Their BLAT (bacon lettuce AVOCADO sandwich) is to die for. Their cobb salad? Perfection. All of their breakfast items also look amazing. And their portion sizes are VERY generous. Nothing to complain about here."

Dulce Cafe and Gelato


El Chapin

Tucked away in a strip mall, El Chapin serves inexpensive Guatemalan food and doubles as a small grocery.


For Garden's Sake

Do you like feeding crackers to alpacas and goats? Do you enjoy wandering about pristine, expansive spaces filled with ceramics, succulents and perennials? Make plans to discover this incredible retreat.

For Gardens Sake


The French Corner Bakery

In a nondescript shopping center north of Highway 85, The French Corner Bakery "makes the real deal Parisian-style breads and pastries," according to Reddit user FlowersForMegatron. 


Home Plate Restaurant 

Open since 1995, Home Plate Restaurant serves cafeteria-style Southern cooking with a variety of entrees and sides.


Johnson Family Barbecue 

You'll find Eastern Carolina barbecue off the beaten track at this hole-in-the-wall joint. They smoke their meat over hickory wood for up to 10 hours and make all desserts and sides from scratch.


La Cacerola Cafe and Restaurante

A Honduran restaurant near the Walltown neighborhood. "We take everyone we know to La Cacerola," wrote Reddit user Smokeahontas. "Get the guacamole and the pickled vegetables!"


The Mad Popper

Durham's local gourmet popcorn shop pops fresh popcorn daily and covers it in over 40 different flavors ranging from sweet to deliciously savory.

The Mad Popper-1


Mediterranean Grill and Grocery

The falafel will melt in your mouth here. Tucked away in the Parkwood neighborhood since 2014, this spot is owned by three men who are committed to made-from-scratch gyros, baklava, and other Mediterranean delicacies.



Melo Trattoria & Tapas

Italian cuisine with Spanish influences tucked away in a strip mall. You'll find classics like Bolognese and spaghetti alla puttanesca, along with a globally inspired tapas menu.


Refinements Consignment Shop

Filled with statement jewelry and timeless pieces for an affordable price, this shop is filled wall to wall with gems you won't find anywhere else.

Refinements Consignment



Indian cuisine with live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Gluten-free and vegan dishes are available, and Sitar offers a lunch buffet daily.

Thai Spoon 

Tucked away in a shopping center, Thai Spoon serves classic Thai dishes. "So good, food is made to order, prices are reasonable," wrote Facebook user Liz Stabenow.

You might be thinking at this point, "Where do I even begin?" Luckily for you, the good news is that you can't go wrong with any of these choices.

Topics: Food & Drink, Events, Retail

Subscribe to Email Updates


When people wish someone a great trip, they say “Bon Voyage.” We want you to have a great trip to Durham, the Bull City – so Bull Voyage!

Read on for everything you need to know about events and things to do in Durham, NC. Check back regularly for new photos, lists, and guides, so you can explore Durham like a local.

Do you have a tip or comment? You can reach us at blog@durham-cvb.com

Visit us in Downtown Durham

Durham Visitor Info Center
212 W Main St #101
Durham, NC 27701

Trending Posts

Posts by Topic

see all