Respite Cafe: Durham's newest living room | Now Serving | Indy Week
Pin It

Respite Cafe: Durham's newest living room 

Courtney Brown, a self-proclaimed displaced Floridian and caffeine lover, waited patiently for the perfect location to open a coffee shop. As a Duke alumnus, Brown was familiar with downtown Durham and knew the Brightleaf shopping district needed one.

The Respite Cafe is scheduled to open this month.

"Without knowing anything about the building's history, I knew I loved its character well before I took over the lease," Brown says. "As I learned more about the building and its history, I grew to feel more and more that it was a great fit."

Constructed in 1929, the building still contains reminders of its past, such as the Studebaker decal that has been affixed to the facade for more 50 years. Brown wants to continue the building's character and charm on the inside.

"It's going to have a 1920s vibe with a modern touch. I'm trying to keep as much of the original parts of the building as possible," Brown says, pointing to the vintage black and white checkerboard floors.

The cafe features products from local vendors, including Cafe Prost, a mobile bakery specializing in German pretzels, and Whoopie Squares, a gourmet snack shop based in Durham.

"It's really all about helping the local economy," Brown says.

What Brown says distinguishes Respite from other Durham cafes is its selection of 15–20 loose-leaf teas, including white, green, black mate and chai.

While Starbucks is raising its prices, Respite is aiming to be competitively priced. The typical cost of a specialty drink and pastry will be $5.

In addition to its food, coffee and teas, Respite is also a gathering place, a living room for the community, Brown says. "We are going to have games, private rooms, and comfy couches. I want a visit here to be a comfortable break from your day where you can be a part of the community."

Saltz is an intern at the Independent Weekly.

Related Locations

More by Alison Saltz


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Now Serving

Twitter Activity


We are a Greek family from Dallas who know good Greek food when we see it and are accustomed to …

by Taso on Kipos Greek Taverna (Orange County)

Don't waste your $$ here. Horrible service, mediocre food. From what we heard - kitchen turnover is the issue due …

by Ibaguru on Piedmont Restaurant (Durham County)

Most Read

Most Recent Comments

My colleagues were needing Tenant Data Rental Application some time ago and used a website that hosts lots of fillable …

by crystallineberry1 on Carpe Durham blog trying every non-chain restaurant in town (Now Serving)

Fantastic ideas ! BTW , if your business is wanting a 2001 CAR TDS-11 , my company edited a fillable …

by Paul David on Food trucks circling the wagons in Raleigh (Now Serving)

The dumpling is called a "momo," not mono. : ) Auto-correct did that to me too just now.

Shweta …

by Prudence Prune on Bread and Nepali cuisine (Now Serving)

"RTP/Cary/Morrisville/Durham googolplex"
Misuse of the word googolplex. …

by UsuallyThere on This is how you roll (Now Serving)

Yes, Chow for Choice is on May 20th for all restaurants except Panciuto which is May 21.

by Mitchell Price on Celebrate strawberries (Now Serving)

© 2018 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation