GRUB Durham boasts a casual diner trifecta: Friendly, fast service; made-from-scratch plates, some of which are family recipes; and true local flare. This is a spot that, having just opened at the end of July, already has its regulars.
“The community response has been amazing,” says General Manager Sy Davis. “We have been embraced by Durham as a whole, and the West End and Burch Avenue neighborhood has been so supportive of GRUB since its inception. We are so lucky to be a part of the revitalization of Durham and are proud to have received an Economic Incentive Grant from the City of Durham’s Office of Economic & Workforce Development for the building’s revitalization.”
Here’s a Tip!
The avoid the rushes, the best times to visit are mid-morning, 9:30-10:45 a.m.; later lunch, 1:30-3 p.m.; and early evening, 5-6 p.m., or after 7:45 p.m. Midweek is a little less crowded than the weekends. The lines aren’t as long, and you can always find a seat on the rooftop or covered patio! Also, try a signature GRUB margarita, Peruvian sangria or GRUB lassi.
The owners utilized plenty of Durham talent to create the modern, upscale diner look that still pays homage to the building’s original existence as a Pure Oil service station, including Architect Ellen Cassilly, Gateway Building Company, metal crafter Cassandra Gooding, as well as Bunker Design Collaborative out of Atlanta. “We wanted to echo the industrial gas station feel in using reclaimed wood from Reuse Warehouse, [which] can be found throughout the inside and rooftop bar,” Sy says. “Raleigh Denim is upholstered on the booths in the dining room, and the bathroom wallpaper, printed by Spoonflower, highlights buildings like the Pauli Murray house in Durham’s West End.”
When it comes to the ever-changing menu, there are a number of highlights, depending on your palate. If you’re a meat lover, try the beef brisket in the tacos and Cowgirl Bowl; the slow-smoked pork shoulder in The 1200; the Angus beef burgers, the Cubano and the TREYmendous; or the house-cured pastrami menu items like the hash bowl at breakfast and Maybelle’s Pastrami sandwich with a sweet-and-sour beet relish. For the barbecue fanatics, there’s smoked and slow-roasted barbecue ribs (you can get a full or half rack) and GRUB’s signature smoked barbecue wings. “We have an in-house smoker and a wood-fired grill, which we try to use for our dishes as much as possible,” Sy says.
The homemade biscuits are not to be missed either. Try the sweet potato biscuits – you can get any of the breakfast sandwiches on one – and the Best Bird biscuit, which features GRUB owner Wendy Woods’ Mama’s bread and butter pickles. “We want everyone, guests included, to feel like our family,” Sy says. “GRUB Durham embraces that type of a community and family-centric environment. When you feel like you’re at home, you’ll want to come back more often!”
The Southern restaurant updates its menu daily, featuring house- made morning pastries like cinnamon rolls, muffins, scones, tarts, doughnuts and doughnut holes, lunch specials, soups (including owner Wendy Woods’ family recipe for brunswick stew) and dinner blue plate specials. Plus rooftop bar and dining!
“Parking is definitely limited, but we hope that our guests will be encouraged to walk, bike (we have awesome bike racks), bus (there’s a stop right in front) and carpool to GRUB Durham,” says General Manager Sy Davis. “We have a limited amount of on-site parking, but the streets around us do have some on-street parking.”
About $5 to $15
Photography by Briana Brough