Scratch | Dish | Indy Week
Pin It


You may have heard that Phoebe Lawless makes pies. The owner of Durham's Scratch expanded from a farmers market stall and pie delivery service to a bricks-and-mortar café in the spring. And she has been splashed across the media all year. From Bon Appétit to The New York Times, the national food press has declared Scratch the bakery of the future, and Lawless the high priestess of pie. Fortunately, Scratch has endured the hype without losing any of its soul. The pies—a rich brown-butter pecan, a salty-gooey North Carolina peanut, a Shaker lemon with bittersweet slices of whole preserved lemons—are just as good as ever ($14–$20 for whole pies; $3.50–$5 per slice). And they've been joined by an ever-expanding menu of breakfast and lunch offerings.

The café itself, an airy, sun-splashed spot on downtown Durham's pedestrian-only Orange Street, has a bit of a Scandinavian minimalist vibe: exposed brick and primary colors, a long glass-fronted counter, a blackboard menu, molded plastic chairs. In the morning, diners sip espresso ($2) and eat plates of butter-lacquered biscuits with jam, gooey golden sorghum buns ($1) and massive, sugar-powdered donutmuffins ($2; yes, they're exactly what they sound like).

The lunch menu, Scratch's most underrated strength, features a well-edited handful of sandwiches, empanadas, flatbread pizzas and salads. Standouts include a Brussels sprout-and-bacon crostata ($15), a roasted veggie focaccia ($7) and an eggplant roll-up ($6.50) that is a marvel of textures—charred eggplant, crisp, astringent greens, creamy walnut pesto. Lawless recently added a weekend brunch menu—with homemade biscuits and farm eggs galore.

Time-strapped bakers, take note: Scratch has just come out with its holiday menu. Expecting guests? Pick up a chestnut cream pie, or an heirloom apple pie with walnut streusel, or a Louisiana Meyer lemon tart. There are also cakes aplenty ($20–$50), all bearing Lawless' signature combination of classic Southern and local/ seasonal/ foodie flair: Fullsteam stout gingerbread, fresh coconut with divinity icing, walnut and candied ginger crumb. Don't delay: Christmas orders must be made 72 hours in advance.

Related Locations


Subscribe to this thread:

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 Dish

Twitter Activity


Your description of the Spotted Dog is close, but not quite right.

You said: "After half an hour of …

by Participant Observer on A Cynic's Guide to Date Nights For Every Bump in the Road (Dish)

Most Read

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…

Most Recent Comments

Your description of the Spotted Dog is close, but not quite right.

You said: "After half an hour of …

by Participant Observer on A Cynic's Guide to Date Nights For Every Bump in the Road (Dish)

Love the suggestions for going out with yourself. When I lived in Atlanta, it was never an issue for a …

by Barbara 2 on Dates Don’t Have to Involve Another Person. In Fact, Some of the Best Ones Don’t (Dish)

Fun story but not quite accurate. …

by Lane McColl on A brief history of pimento cheese (Dish)

Waraji, yes....I can't believe Sushi Blues and Cow Fish made the list. Harris Teeter has better sushi that these both …

by Michael Anderson on The best sushi in the Triangle (Dish)

© 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