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North Carolina-Raleigh-Durham

bridal brunch or luncheon on a Friday downtown Durham

Hello Durham ladies!
I am planning to host a gathering a few of the special women in the brides life for a little to-do before the wedding.  I am planning from out of state with no familiarity of Durham area, so I desperatly need your help!
here are the criteria:
*Friday and—the earlier in the day the better, since we also have a rehersal barbecue that night. Curious if I could get brunch anywhere???
 
*Seeking a pretty place we could sit and talk/ celebrate the bride for a while and not be a complete annoyance to waitstaff who need to turn a lot of tables.

*It doesn't need to be a private room (but that could be nice) but some places have enough space or different areas, patios, what ever so we wouldn't feel "in the way".

*It doesn't need to be "traditional" the bride like all sorts of international food and culture.
 
*Food wise something yummy and rather light and not too terribly pricey would be great.Smile salads, sandwiches, or possibly brunchy stuff?

Thank you so much for your suggestions!

Re: bridal brunch or luncheon on a Friday downtown Durham

  • I would recommend reposting this on the main NC board is it gets more traffic than this board does :)
    While Im in the Raleigh area, I'm not familiar with Durham. Wish I could help :)
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  • Look at the Weathervane in Chapel Hill. It's the restaurant/party side of A Southern Season.  I'd also suggest looking into the King's Daughter's Inn, which is in Durham. Gorgeous!
  • So you have a few options - you could rent a venue and get a caterer -- no tables to turn. The King's Daughters Inn would be on that list, I think. The Durham Arts Council building downtown is available for renting too -- the two story glass pavilion is where we'll have our ceremony in a couple weeks. They have a full catering kitchen, and you can engage whatever caterer you want for whatever kind of food you want, at whatever time you want. (Assuming it's available the day you'd need it.)

    If you're really thinking more restaurant-ish, there aren't that many options open for breakfast on a weekday. It also depends on how many people you're having and what you actually want to eat. Elmo's Diner on 9th St. serves breakfast all day, every day, so you could have a very "brunch" feeling there. I don't think you could get mimosas though. (they have beer and wine, but I don't think they make anything else.) They don't take reservations, but you could call and talk to a manager about whether there might be a time frame that would work well for a leisurely large party. The front part of the restaurant could easily be arranged to fit a party of 25 or more, I'd think. They are very busy at breakfast and they start to fill up again around 11:45, but if you occupied the space from, say, 10am - 11:45, that might work. They do normally turn tables over fast (it's a very popular spot), but they are also quite pleasant when I sit and chat for quite some time. 

    Vin Rouge is right across the street from Elmo's (in the Ninth St. area), but I'm not even sure they're open for lunch on weekdays. They have a good brunch on the weekends, as does Watts Grocery on Broad St, just a couple blocks away from Elmo's. But I don't think Watts opens before 11:30 on weekdays. It has a fairly small space, but it does have a bar, so depending on the size of your group, you might eat lunch and then retire to the bar.

    On a Friday, you'll have a lot more luck with lunches. You can look up the websites for the places I mention here to find out more details.  Revolution restaurant in downtown Durham is "pretty" in a modern kind of way, but I don't know that they are open for lunch. Nana's restaurant isn't in downtown, but it's just a few miles away - they have a private room that might be of interest. I've not been there mostly because it's pricey, but it's very good. I don't know that I'd call Pop's restaurant "pretty", but they have a private area that seats 15 or so that might work for your group. Depending on the time of year, they would be open for lunch on Friday. More casual but tasty and with an excellent beer list is Tyler's Taproom in the American Tobacco Complex near downtown (I love their blackened slamon salad, and others I go with always get their fish tacos). They have LOTS of seating (indoors and out) and for a weekday lunch probably don't turn over the whole restaurant, so you wouldn't be in the way. They have a private room that seats 45 or so, but parties of other sizes could likely be accommodated in a variety of places in or out. 

    Not near downtown is a restaurant called City Beverage that has a fabulously tacky tiki decor in their main seating area, a 50s diner vibe in the original restaurant, and a large outdoor seating area as well. It's in a shopping center on Hope Valley Road near the Woodcroft neighborhood -- I'd guess maybe 7 or 8 miles from downtown. Again, yummy casual food (two different kinds of fish tacos here!) and a tremendous beer list.

    That's all that's coming to mind at the moment, although you might want to look at Vita and Parizade -- they're run by the same person, with Vita more casual and Parizade slightly fancier. I don't think Vita is all that crowded at lunch time, and they have lots of outdoor seating, including one covered spot that I've seen lots of large-ish groups (~20 people maybe?). Excellent martinis (if you go, get the flirtini at least once!). My bachelorette party of about 14 people is there this weekend (I'm a sit around and chat with friends person, and we'll be occupying space for some time, starting at 6 pm). Again, no brunch on a weekday, but they're both open for lunch. Parizade has a couple private rooms, but they're kind of board-room-y. These aren't downtown, they're in the ninth st. area.

    Some places I don't know much about, but they are in downtown proper: Dain's Chicken & Waffles (I've heard great things, never been); Toast (never been); Bull McCabe's (YUMMY! irish pub feel, busy at lunch for good reason).

    If anything else comes to mind, I'll let you know. I'll try to remember to check back on this thread to see if you have any other questions. Good luck!
  • So you have a few options - you could rent a venue and get a caterer -- no tables to turn. The King's Daughters Inn would be on that list, I think. The Durham Arts Council building downtown is available for renting too -- the two story glass pavilion is where we'll have our ceremony in a couple weeks. They have a full catering kitchen, and you can engage whatever caterer you want for whatever kind of food you want, at whatever time you want. (Assuming it's available the day you'd need it.)

    If you're really thinking more restaurant-ish, there aren't that many options open for breakfast on a weekday. It also depends on how many people you're having and what you actually want to eat. Elmo's Diner on 9th St. serves breakfast all day, every day, so you could have a very "brunch" feeling there. I don't think you could get mimosas though. (they have beer and wine, but I don't think they make anything else.) They don't take reservations, but you could call and talk to a manager about whether there might be a time frame that would work well for a leisurely large party. The front part of the restaurant could easily be arranged to fit a party of 25 or more, I'd think. They are very busy at breakfast and they start to fill up again around 11:45, but if you occupied the space from, say, 10am - 11:45, that might work. They do normally turn tables over fast (it's a very popular spot), but they are also quite pleasant when I sit and chat for quite some time. 

    Vin Rouge is right across the street from Elmo's (in the Ninth St. area), but I'm not even sure they're open for lunch on weekdays. They have a good brunch on the weekends, as does Watts Grocery on Broad St, just a couple blocks away from Elmo's. But I don't think Watts opens before 11:30 on weekdays. It has a fairly small space, but it does have a bar, so depending on the size of your group, you might eat lunch and then retire to the bar.

    On a Friday, you'll have a lot more luck with lunches. You can look up the websites for the places I mention here to find out more details.  Revolution restaurant in downtown Durham is "pretty" in a modern kind of way, but I don't know that they are open for lunch. Nana's restaurant isn't in downtown, but it's just a few miles away - they have a private room that might be of interest. I've not been there mostly because it's pricey, but it's very good. I don't know that I'd call Pop's restaurant "pretty", but they have a private area that seats 15 or so that might work for your group. Depending on the time of year, they would be open for lunch on Friday. More casual but tasty and with an excellent beer list is Tyler's Taproom in the American Tobacco Complex near downtown (I love their blackened slamon salad, and others I go with always get their fish tacos). They have LOTS of seating (indoors and out) and for a weekday lunch probably don't turn over the whole restaurant, so you wouldn't be in the way. They have a private room that seats 45 or so, but parties of other sizes could likely be accommodated in a variety of places in or out. 

    Not near downtown is a restaurant called City Beverage that has a fabulously tacky tiki decor in their main seating area, a 50s diner vibe in the original restaurant, and a large outdoor seating area as well. It's in a shopping center on Hope Valley Road near the Woodcroft neighborhood -- I'd guess maybe 7 or 8 miles from downtown. Again, yummy casual food (two different kinds of fish tacos here!) and a tremendous beer list.

    That's all that's coming to mind at the moment, although you might want to look at Vita and Parizade -- they're run by the same person, with Vita more casual and Parizade slightly fancier. I don't think Vita is all that crowded at lunch time, and they have lots of outdoor seating, including one covered spot that I've seen lots of large-ish groups (~20 people maybe?). Excellent martinis (if you go, get the flirtini at least once!). My bachelorette party of about 14 people is there this weekend (I'm a sit around and chat with friends person, and we'll be occupying space for some time, starting at 6 pm). Again, no brunch on a weekday, but they're both open for lunch. Parizade has a couple private rooms, but they're kind of board-room-y. These aren't downtown, they're in the ninth st. area.

    Some places I don't know much about, but they are in downtown proper: Dain's Chicken & Waffles (I've heard great things, never been); Toast (never been); Bull McCabe's (YUMMY! irish pub feel, busy at lunch for good reason).

    If anything else comes to mind, I'll let you know. I'll try to remember to check back on this thread to see if you have any other questions. Good luck!
  • Not sure if you're still looking, but I think Guglhupf might fit the bill. It's about 15 minutes from downtown with great indoor and outdoor seating, a small bakery and great food.
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