August/September 2023: The Food, Drink & Arts Issue

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Autumnal breezes start to gently rustle the leaves as we bid a bittersweet farewell to the lazy days of summer and welcome the changing colors of fall. Just as nature transitions, so does our city’s vibrant food and drink scene. What better way to embrace the upcoming season than with a delightful array of local lattes from some of our newest coffee shops? Or taking advantage of the final few months of patio weather by dining alfresco? And let’s spend time with our loved ones at some of our restaurants that specialize in hosting large groups and feature craveable, shareable plates before the busy school year starts back up. Find all our suggestions beginning on page 58.

We encourage you to stay in the loop and never miss a culinary beat! Keep your taste buds tingling and your excitement levels high by following @durhammag on Instagram, where we serve up the latest updates on the Bull City’s most enticing food and drink offerings, hidden culinary treasures and not-to-be-missed events.

This publication is also our 11th annual arts issue – a celebration of creativity, imagination and the power of art to inspire and connect us all. Discover talented DJs, makers, musicians and more beginning on page 38, and start planning for a busy arts season with can’t-miss concerts, exhibits, dance performances – you name it! – starting on page 53.

So, as we trade our sun hats for cozy scarves, let’s embrace the joy of Durham’s extraordinary food, drink and arts scene – as these pages show, there’s something for every epicurean explorer and aesthete in our beautiful city. – Executive Editor Amanda MacLaren


14 The Big Picture
Staff photographer John Michael Simpson captures a sweet spread of fall flavors

58 Perfect Patios
Delight in drinks and dishes alfresco

64 Lovely Lattes
Four new cafes shake up the coffee scene

68 Fantastic Feasts and Where to Find Them
Bring your group to these restaurants specializing in shareables and large parties

72 The Whiskey Whisperer
Meet Che Ramos, bourbon connoisseur and history buff

76 Having a Grand Ol’ Time
This dessert-devouring duo traverses the Bull City in search of its most scrumptious treats


38 Put Your Records On
Groove with a few of the Bull City’s most talented DJs

46 Neon Nights
A glass bender works to preserve an endangered art form while offering a dazzling date idea

48 Speaking Volumes
Meet poet, cultural organizer and educator Dasan Ahanu and his lengthy list of contributions to the Durham arts scene

52 Miller the Illustrator
Meet an easygoing tween with an eye for design and a love of animals

54 Striking the Right Chord
This band of acoustic brothers rocks The Blue Note Grill every Friday


95 Biz Briefs

98 Creative Businesses Overcome Challenges and Drive Economic Growth
Innovative approaches and collaborative efforts support the local arts and retail scene while fostering community engagement


28 Falling for Randolph County
Must-try autumnal experiences in the ‘Heart of North Carolina’

34 Nature’s Calling
The Eno River State Park celebrates its 50th anniversary thanks to grassroots heroes, stewards and visitors who respect and advocate for this community gem

80 Something Old, Something New
Contemporary touches and timeless treasures meld effortlessly in this Watts-Hillandale home

90 Don’t Stop Retrievin’
Dogs and owners alike enjoy afternoons of camaraderie and competition with Bull City Toss and Fetch

92 Pet Projects
A guide to area vets, animal hospitals, groomers, boarders, pet sitters and trainers


8 Letter from the Editor

10 Go.See.Do.
Our top picks to end a sizzling summer

22 Noted.
What we’ve heard around our city …

102 Engagement & Wedding


16 Triangle Media Partners’ Women of Achievement luncheon

17 Exchange Club of Greater Durham’s Durham Blues & Brews Festival

18 Animal Protection Society of Durham’s Walk for the Animals


27 Adopt a Pet
Meet two sweet pups looking for their forever home!

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