Last Valentine’s Day I sat in my dorm room, ordered some Indian and fell asleep with greasy hair and bad breath by 9:00 pm. I was perfectly fine with that, honestly. Unfortunately, I have quickly realized that this type of “self-loathing behavior” (as my mother described it) is frowned upon. It’s truly a bummer.
This Valentine’s Day I am doing things differently. My lover (i.e. roommate) and I are exploring Durham. We’re starting with drinks at Oval Park Grille, then onto dinner at Pompieri Pizza, and we finish with dessert at Blue Corn Café. It will be a night filled with passion…for our food.
You should do the same. Duke Spoon is livening up your Valentine’s Day by offering 10% off your Valentine’s Day meal at any of these three restaurants. All you have to do is like our Facebook page and fill out this Google form. Once you do both, you will receive an email with a certificate that you will show to your waiter in order to receive the discount.
So, if you’re deciding between The Bachelor and Grey’s Anatomy re-runs (I promise I don’t judge you), turn that TV off. Grab a friend or a date, and check out these three “fresh” (as my Grammy would say) restaurants in Downtown Durham.
Tucked inside a historic fire house, Pompieri Pizza somehow exudes both modern and quaint. If you want to embrace the stereotype as a female college student, you can get the kale salad. Or, if you are feeling romantic, order the Prodigal Farm goat cheese to split between the two of you (nothing like a good piece of goat cheese to fire up that sexual tension). Girls, the white florian pizza will tell your date you’re both ~fun and flirty~. As an additional plus, their fish tanks serve as great conversation points—no need to fear about awkward pauses. It’s gourmet pizza, what other selling points do you need? Go Go Go.
Pro tip: They don’t take reservations, so arrive early.
Location: 102 City Hall Plaza, Durham, NC 27701
Hours of Operation: Closed Mondays; Tues – Thurs 11:12am- 10pm; Fri and Sat 11:12am-11pm; Sun 4:30pm-9pm
Blue Corn Cafe
This is for those of you who’ve been dating since high school. Your relationship is boring, and your friends refer to you as the “old married couple.” Come to Blue Corn Café to add some spice in your life (quite literally). This traditional, family-owned restaurant encompasses cuisine from Latin and South America—importing fresh flavors on a daily basis. Good for both your herbivore and carnivore, there is a surplus of meat, vegetarian and seafood dishes. Don’t let your date talk you out of ordering the Plantain Sampler. This fried godsend is worth it, even if your date “forgets” to call you next week. For those of you feeling frisky, there will be live music on Valentine’s Night as well.
Pro tip: Reservations recommended.
Location: 716 9th St, Durham, NC
Hours of Operation: Mon-Thu 11:30am-9pm; Fri-Sat 11:30am-9:30pm
Oval Park Grille
Oval Park Grille opened in 2013 and was just featured in Durham’s Magazine Foodie Issue. From epicurean fried oysters to duck liver mousse, be prepared for a gourmet experience. Worry not though, you can still order chicken wings (although I think they will be a step up from the ones you overate during the SuperBowl). Classic hipster Durham, Oval Park Grille collaborates with local partners utilizing sustainable ingredients—so you can justify your indulgence for the sake of a better cause. Both contemporary and warm, the ambiance is polished without being intimidatingly formal (i.e. perfect for half of the Duke population that has a “thing” but isn’t actually “dating”).
Pro tip: Make a reservation for Friday; Saturday is already booked. The discount still applies.
Location: 1116 Broad Street Durham, NC 27705
Hours of Operation: Mon-Fri: 5pm-11pm, Sat and Sun 11am-3pm; 5pm-11pm
Looking for other places to eat in Durham? Check out these articles.