Durham does not lack delicious food – you can find everything from superb coffee to brunch to food trucks without ever having to stray far off campus. It’s easy to settle into a pattern, never branching out from your favorite spots. But Durham wouldn’t be a foodie town if its restaurant scene was static, and in the last few months, a host of innovative, fun, and needed restaurants have opened up downtown. Here are nine of the newest spots you need to check out in Durham.

1. Bar Brunello

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Opened: September 2016

Bar Brunello offers a limited, but delicious menu of savory and sweet small plates, but the real star is the impressive selection of wine: sparkling, white, red, rosé, and even orange

2. Motto

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Opened: August 2016

Motto serves up truly innovative “New American” cuisine. The menu is varied and delightful, with dishes like “Shellfish Campechana” and “Freekeh Risotto.” Stop in for a date night.

3. The Bagel Bar

Photo courtesy of The Bagel Bar

Opened: August 2016

The Bagel Bar, a Chapel Hill original, prides itself on serving up authentic, New York-style bagel sandwiches – from breakfast and lunch creations to open faced melts. While Alpine Bagel, usurped by ABP, is all but extinct in the collective Duke student body's memory, The Bagel Bar fills a much-needed hole (pun intended) in the Durham food scene and in our nostalgic stomachs.

4. Littler

Opened: June 2016

With space for just 36 diners, Littler is a perfectly intimate date-night restaurant in downtown Durham. Located in Monuts' previous location, it's the second restaurant from chef Gray Brooks (the owner-chef of Pizzeria Toro) and it serves just dinner. The menu is divided into four sections: raw, snack, supper, and vegetables, and Littler knocks each out of the park. 

5. Mothers & Sons Trattoria

Opened: June 2016

Since Lucia’s has closed to make way for Motto, Mother & Sons is now your go-to restaurant for Italian in downtown Durham. Like at the neighboring (and sister) restaurant, Mateo, you’re encouraged to pass your plates with fellow diners and get a sample of the many salads, pastas, and entrees. Definitely order one of the specials – the radiatori with fava bean and pea shoot pesto rivaled some of the pasta I had in Italy.

6. Thai55

Irene Kim

Opened: June 2016

While it's a bit of a trek off campus, Thai55 is casual and affordable – the perfect spot for a weekday lunch or a quick grab-and-go dinner. 

7. Lucky's Delicatessan

Opened: June 2016

Durham boasts plenty of unique sandwich shops, but this is the first true deli in the downtown area. Serving a mix of sandwiches, prepared salads, and soups, Lucky’s also functions as a full-service deli. Try the pastrami on rye and don’t forget an extra side of house-made pickles.

8. City Barbeque

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Opened: May 2016

Durham does not lack good barbeque – between Picnic, The Pit, The Original Q Shack and half a dozen other joints, the city has smoked meats and fried sides covered. City, an out-of-town interloper, has multiple locations in four states, so they must be doing something right. Stop in to see if they can usurp your go-to barbecue place.

9. Rise Biscuits & Donuts

Opened: March 2016

I know Monuts has a special place in your heart (and stomach), but Rise is worth a visit. A North Carolina franchise that’s rapidly expanding, Rise opened a location in Durham last semester. Their selection of donuts is divided up into “Old School,” “New School,” and “Our School,” the last varying daily from location to location. The biscuits are equally delicious – a southern staple done right.

Add these to your Durham Bucket List, find a friend with a car, and go check out the newest restaurants in the Bull City.