Dependable Erection

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pizza

Kevin has the details on the soon to be open status of yet another high end restaurant in the downtown, this one called Eno, which, following the Chez Panisse model, will serve only locally grown and organically produced fare.

Fine.

It's not as if we have an abundance of restaurants going after that market.

But Frank Zappa, who i think about a lot these days, said, "You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."

Translating that to cities and downtowns, well, yeah, Durham has a beer, and we may soon have another one, if the rumors i keep hearing bear any fruit. But at the very least, downtown needs a pizza place. And Mellow Mushroom doesn't count. That's a restaurant that happens to serve pizza. I'm talking about the kind of place that you can walk up to (the best ones have take out windows that open on the street, so you don't even have to go in) and order a slice and a coke, and sit down at the nearest bench to eat and watch the people around you. The closest thing Durham has to that is on Ninth St., where there's also a somewhat equivalent falafel shop.

And the pizza place doesn't necessarily have to sell pizza. Falafel, noodles, soup, or tacos would also count. The bottom line criteria is that you've got to be able to carry it in one hand, with your drink in another, order, pay and receive your food in a single transaction, and eat it in a public space within 100 feet of where you bought it. You can't be a real downtown unless you have a pizza place and public square. It helps if you have a baseball team and some statues, but at the very least, you need a pizza place.

UPDATE: The Pizza map

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14 Comments:

  • Barry -- I've heard this theme from you.

    So I've decided what we're going to do.

    Let's open a walk-up pizza place... in the heart of Duke Park! You can come by and grab a slice. Or, of course, in the name of urban convenience, just drive through.

    Perfect plan, no?

    By Blogger Kevin, at 10:54 AM  

  • Dude, haven't you been reading Gary's blog lately?

    King's. It's all about King's. It wasn't a pizza place, it was a hot dog/sandwich place, but it served the same function. If you're going to open a place, that's where you start.

    (I know that's only marginally downtown, but still...)

    By Blogger Michael Bacon, at 11:07 AM  

  • i am, alas, too busy making a living in my chosen field to risk my fortune in the restaurant biz, but i'd gladly support a pizza place that was in walking distance of my house.

    as it turns out, though, the best locations for these kinds of lunch establishments are where people actually work. and that means downtown.

    we were at CCB Plaza last night listening to one of the many free shows that Parks and Rec is putting on this summer. when LocoPops closed for the night (at 5:45!) the only place on the Plaza to get anything to eat or drink was Blue coffee.

    Think about that.

    As it turns out, i've eaten dinner in downtown 3 nights so far this week, without once making it to Brightleaf, and only having a beer at Tyler's for a co-worker's farewell event. I think my opinion on this has some validity. There's plenty of places to eat downtown (or there will be by this time next year) to take your parents. Where do you take your kids?

    I couldn't believe the number of rug rats running around the CCB plaza last night. I'll bet there were 40 or more kids there between the ages of 12 months and 5 years. Is there a single place downtown for those parents to grab a bite to eat when the show ended at 8pm? After Dos Perros and Eno and whatever else is currently planned downtown, will there be a place that fits that need?

    Not that i'm aware of.

    By Blogger Barry, at 11:13 AM  

  • i can see King's or something like it thriving in the old Ballpark area after all the renovations are complete and the other empty buildings there are housing something.

    Unless a small sandwich shop ends up getting priced out of the neighborhood.

    When i worked on 49th street in Manhattan, walking up to Central Park for lunch on a nice day was doable. That's about 12-14 blocks, or a bit over half a mile. Probably as far as the CCB Plaza to King's. you could grab a sandwich and eat your lunch at Durham Central Park. That would work for me.

    By Blogger Barry, at 11:21 AM  

  • Would be cool for Satisfaction to open a little satellite venture around CCB Plaza. A small, no-muss, no-fuss, place to buy a soda and a slice or two.

    As you said Barry, no need to futz with a dining area either.

    By Blogger Durham Bull Pen, at 11:39 AM  

  • feckin' A.

    add to that, a windo to walk up to, a sweet strong shot of caribbean expresso and some fried stuffed item, and you're officially an urban eating joint.

    By Blogger Vera, at 12:44 PM  

  • Does the city allow carts? I've seen ice cream carts rolling home after being somewhere and the Locopops cart (but I don't think on public property).

    By Blogger Valerie at We Love Durham, at 2:45 PM  

  • Ha!

    The Google map Barry linked to picked up the post on Endangered Durham about Annamaria's (Bat's). So if we can actually navigate using that map, we can go back in time and haev a pizza & a beer at Bat's.

    That is so cool. :)

    By Blogger Joseph H., at 6:14 PM  

  • There were a couple hotdog carts last summer, one by the courthouse and one at the corner of Corcoran and Main. We haven't seen them this year though, but we don't mind because Parrish Street Grill's taste better.

    By Blogger Emily, at 7:32 PM  

  • what about pop's backdoor? Pizza, REALLY REALLY good pizza. It's not inside the loop but I'd call it downtown at the very least.

    By Blogger Seth, at 7:07 AM  

  • This being the New Durham (TM), we'll probably be able to get a $12 slice of pizza downtown really soon.

    There's a new hot dog cart at the corner of Angier & Driver, and rumors are that the owners may be unleashing a small fleet of carts on the rest of the city soon.

    Downtown really needs some carts. Or a taco truck...

    By Blogger hovercraft, at 3:52 PM  

  • I spotted the hot dog carts around the courthouse the other day. One was on E Main Street in front of the courthouse and another was on the corner of N Mangum and E Chapel Hill by the firehouse construction site.

    Today I had a hot ham and cheese from the Parrish Street Grill which was okay, but nothing to write home about.

    The cheeseburger I got there last week was fabulous, however. Truly one of the best cheeseburgers I've had in quite some time. And it was under $5!

    They don't do pizza, but it is a downtown, walk-up, home-made quick food joint.

    But we need pizza!

    --Jamie Gruener

    By Blogger Jamie, at 2:02 AM  

  • Keep fighting the good fight -- we need a pizza joint or some other suitable street food. Even a hot dog / taco truck would suffice, provided it was in the same place with some reasonable amount of certainty (i.e., when there are tons of kids crawling around, as you point out).

    I submit that what we really need is some type of Waffle House type establishment (like the old Steak & Egg on Main St.). Keep it low-rent enough to keep out the yuppies, yet greasy enough to attract the bail bondsmen and recently incarcerated (not to mention the occasional intrepid undergrad). About halfway between the jail and the new bus station would be the sweet spot.

    By Blogger dcrollins, at 12:03 PM  

  • I just had some awesome* pizza. It was a little six-inch personal pizza from...Dunkin Donuts!

    I picked up breakfast in the drive-through this morning, and the manager was giving out sample pizzas, because "people don't realize we have pizza!"

    *Awesome, relative to my lunch yesterday, which was some strawberry shortbread cookies from the office vending machine. Awesome, in that it was free. Awesome, if the only pizza I had ever eaten in my life was Bagel Bites.

    By Blogger toastie, at 1:22 PM  

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