What it is: I've been hearing about Parker and Otis for a while now as a great new restaurant in downtown Durham. I kept meaning to head up there and check it out. Then, it recently was mentioned in an article in the NY Times, the article in which Durham was named #35 on a list of 41 places to go in 2011. I definitely couldn't stay away any longer!
On Saturday morning, I headed to Parker and Otis with my family. A few other people had the same idea as me, it was pretty crowded. We stood in line to get our food and then had a wait a few minutes for a table to open up. My husband and I both had sandwiches and a side of their pesto pasta salad, which was seriously the freshest pasta salad I had ever tasted! My son enjoyed a grilled cheese and a beautiful side of fruit. While we ate we peered around at all of our surroundings. Parker and Otis is one of those places with so many things to look at that you're not sure where to look next. It doubles as a shop as well as a restaurant and they have countless unique items to buy in every corner of the building. Needless to say, after we ate, we had to shop for a little while.
What we liked: I loved the atmosphere of the place, and the food was local, fresh, and delicious! Even though their food was creative and innovative, they still had a grilled cheese and fruit for my picky son to enjoy. They also have a wide array of items and food in the store. You can order breakfast or lunch, get a coffee from their coffee bar, or enjoy dessert or chocolates. You can also grab some candy from large candy bins set up in the center of the restaurant, or even pick out a nice bottle of wine. There's a little bit of everything at Parker and Otis. There are also quite a few options for seating including the main dining area, the coffee bar, and a large outdoor patio.
Oh, and don't forget the train station is right across the street. So, if you time your stop right, you can watch the train leave or come in to the station before you enjoy your great meal.
What we would change: The food was a bit more expensive than a typical lunch out for us and the sides cost extra. In addition, some aspects of the restaurant were not kid-friendly on a crowded Saturday morning. We had to wait for a table to open up, which can be tricky with a fidgeting toddler. Then, with the crowds, maneuvering the stroller was especially difficult. A table opened up, but we couldn't take it because simply couldn't get the stroller over there. My husband also noticed that they have lightweight chairs which our toddler almost tipped over several times. Fortunately, they did also have high chairs for another option if necessary.
Website and other important information:
Address: 112 S. Duke St, Durham, 27701
Phone Number: 919-683-3200
Hours: Open Mon-Thu,Sat 7:30am-7pm; Fri 7:30am-8pm; Sun 10am-3pm
1. My delicious pasta salad and sandwich
2. One of the shopping areas
3. A candy nook
4. The counter where you order