The European-inspired coffeehouse, creperie and cocktail bar based in downtown Graham opens a second location at American Tobacco Campus on July 28
By Hannah Lee
The corner of the Diamond View III building at American Tobacco Campus has gone through many iterations, including a putt-putt pop-up, a barbecue restaurant and a bar/wing spot.
Now, it’s going to be home to Durham’s first and only crepe-focused restaurant. After signing the lease nearly a year and a half ago, Press Coffee and Crepes opens its second North Carolina location on Wednesday, July 28, adjacent to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.
The 3,100-square-foot space will be open for weekday breakfast and lunch and weekend brunch, with a menu boasting European-inspired coffees, crepes, salads, sandwiches and craft cocktails.
“We’re riffing on this very European item, but we’re not pretending to be this precious French bistro creperie,” co-owner Jason Cox says. “If you look at our crepes, you’ll see they’re meals. They’re not snacks. They’re Carolina-sized. Our very first menu item I signed off on [at our first location] was a country ham, hoop cheese, potatoes crepe.”
Jason and co-owner Brett DeVries, the culinary mastermind behind the operation, wanted to make sure they stayed true to their Southern roots with every dish on the menu, including the aforementioned Country Hash breakfast crepe, one of 20 crepe options that customers can find at the new Durham location.
It all started as “a one-off, fun little side project,” Jason says. Brett had never made a crepe in his life, even with decades of restaurant experience under his belt. It was something foreign to the Burlington native. But even with the uncertainty of the unknown, the duo converted a Hardens General Store in an 1850s building into their restaurant, sparking a revitalization of downtown Graham. Folks sometimes drive from as far away as Atlanta just to get a taste of the hype.
That indicated to the business partners that they needed to open a second location. Durham and its revitalized American Tobacco Campus was a perfect fit. So Jason, the developer that he is, converted the space once covered in murals into a mid-century modern eatery with ’50s Italian vibes. He hopes the end result – an open, airy, all-day café with espresso, cocktail and seated crepe bars – attracts folks from all walks life, whether it’s a nearby worker popping in for a to-go coffee and La Farm Bakery croissant or colleagues taking an afternoon meeting that inevitably involves a glass of wine.
“We’re not here for a short term,” Jason says. “We’re here for the long run.”
Press Coffee and Crepes is located at 359 Blackwell St. and will be open Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-6 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Press Coffee and Crepes will also offer space for special events, plus on- and off-site catering.
Jason’s Top 3 Picks at Press Coffee and Crepes:
Berries & Cream
The light, not-too-sugary cold crepe off the sweet menu features a fresh berries mix, topped with housemade whipped cream and powdered sugar.
Chick & The Pig
“It will probably never leave our menu,” Jason says. “It’s what a Carolina boy would pick for a crepe.” The savory crepe features chicken, applewood smoked bacon, North Carolina smoked ham, Swiss cheese and baby spinach with brew pub mustard.
El Mojo (only available on weekends)
It’s basically Tater Tots smashed down into a waffle topped with pico de gallo, avocado, housemade spicy mojo sauce and lime. We definitely recommend adding the eggs. It’s a whole breakfast plopped down on carb heaven – how can you say no?