Joey | Indy Week

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Re: “New restaurants and happenings

RE: Parker & Otis, A New Triangle Restaurant & Gourmet Store... Saturday morning, July 21st 2007, I enjoyed a lovely brunch outdoors. Where else can one do this in Durham! A couple friends had bragged on this nice morning spot downtown near Brightleaf and between Duke & Gregson (formerly Fowler's). I had an equally wonderful experience, and, highly recommend you you can read below in much detail (because it seems I have just practiced to become some kind of restaurant reviewer)! ============================================= Thank you Parker & Otis! Especially for the shade!!! First I ordered Special #5 at the counter. The staff person took my nickname, I perused part of the store, and the food was ready and on its way to be delivered before I had even found my seat (less than 10-minutes)! That is a miracle given some breakfast spots in the Triangle!!! I thoroughly enjoyed my scrambled eggs mixed with tasty cheese and asparagus (not dried out & not soupy, just perfectly moist). The meal included a side of perfectly toasted sourdough, and, fresh fruit that was actually edible and tasted delicious (not just a garnish, but, fresh grapes, strawberry sliced, and an orange section). This breakfast & re-fillable coffee put me at $9.06 total. Not bad, and, I think there were some lesser priced meals, but, I like my cheese for some protein. THE PANCAKES LOOKED OUT OF THIS WORLD!!! wow!!!!! Totally fresh, with toppings. The presentation was picturesque! Definitely going back for a pile of those!!! Breakfast items, overall, are excellently priced. There are a few that would total $6-7 w/drink, and, ideally I hope someday they might offer a hearty low-price option such as a hearty hash/2-eggs/toast, or, breakfast grilled cheese w/small bean soup). But, not sure if that is possible as I am not in the restaurant business (but certainly would get me there weekly!). The staff were VERY warm, kind, chilled out & offered quality customer service. The owner seemed particularly open to meeting folks who were milling about while simultaneously working AT LEAST as hard as the rest of the team; and, I appreciated the effort to get to know me as a potential REPEAT customer. Great customer service is especially noticeable to me as some restaurants ignore people (particularly women) eating on their own and treat couples or groups much better; I believed I was treated as outstanding in a field of my own as I will be when I bring my friends & loved ones!!! To note, as I had explored this familiar & formerly (much-missed) Fowler's stomping ground, I found a few new sites. For instance, I had noticed a Fabulous Photo of Otis in his dress whites! And, believe you will get a terrific chuckle when you check this & other new sites out for yourself! The specialty store area (duke street side) reminded me of Fowler's in that it carried many international foods, condiments, sauces, snacks that are high-end in price (and rarely found for less elsewhere), but..., I did notice an excellent fresh candy value in the middle of establishment that were affordable (as you can build your own bag). Be happily aware, CANDY IS LESS PRICEY THAN IT SEEMS (as long as you just get some to eat there). It runs $7.99 or 6.99lb (cant recall), but, I selected enough to nibble on for a lovely snack and it ONLY COST ME ABOUT $1.40 for some gummi-candies, licorice, and old fashioned sweets (all the same price so you can easily put into one scoop-your-own bag). Thankfully, for those in a hurry, they have nice SMALL theater-sized bags of pre-scooped candy to pick up (that are certainly less than a full pound). But getting back to the specialty store items ... the owner seemed open to suggestions about new items catering to my own international food tastes, and, the staff on that side were equally friendly and curious about my experience of the food and service. I appreciated the unobtrusive attention and have high hopes for this neighborhood establishment. There are a couple refrigerated sections. One with anti-pasta type items and another with fresh eggs, milk, and real ice cream with numerous & unique flavors are stocked from a family farm that does not use antibiotics or hormones. So, looking forward to trying those (saves me a trip to the grocer for these basics). They even had brochures of this farm business (which seems neighborly and supportive of north carolina businesses). Those stopping simply for a cold drink (with or without spirits) can find lots of chips and little bags of snacks all over the store. The inside and outside area felt spacious (not too crowded or cluttered). For those who need or want to stay cool, there are plenty of indoor tables on the Duke Street side, and, they even serve a glass of wine for $4.50. Speaking of spirits, the store's wine and beer selection was vast; and, apparently, you can build your own-6pak. That would be great for taste-testing unusual brands with a group of friends! On my way out I also picked up a bar of international chocolate that i would have had to pay more for elsewhere. They had lots of the quality kind the People's Pharmacy suggests (for flavenoids that assist in lowering blood pressure; see And, speaking of lowering blood pressure...all the staff I had met seemed down to earth and not arrogant. The brown tee-shirts they wear keep things simple (and have 1-2 words on them which almost makes me feel like life is simpler: local, eggs, beer, coffee, deviled eggs, et al). Several times I noticed employees helped one another in kind ways even while moving quickly to help customers. THAT is ALWAYS a great sign!!! How staff treat one another seems indicative of how they might also be treated, trained, and supported in doing their job!!! Both staff and customers seemed racially/ethnically diverse, and, those are the places I prefer to frequent since I am white and half my friends identify as Black from various countries, African American, Latino/a y Hispano/a, and of Asian descent. It really does matter that everyone feels welcome, respected, and can relax. In terms of coffee, I try to keep up on what is communally/globally supportive versus exploitive and noticed they carry their own brand plus the counter culture coffee (you can purchase packs to take home). Generally I am not a coffee drinker, but, did notice the staff this morning were particularly adept at those fancy coffee machines! Well, I am looking forward to next time meeting up with friends for a nice, pleasant and relaxing weekend time in either my shorts/jeans & tee, or some night after work in my own dress whites! Either way I will fit in and certainly have a good time! Best to you Parker & Otis!!!

Posted by Joey on 07/21/2007 at 4:56 PM

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