Piedmont: Durham’s Little Treasure

IMAG0060On a recent visit to North Carolina for a conference, I was given the responsibility of finding a place for dinner. I encouraged suggestions but all I got was “no chains, no barbecue, no fast food.” A simple google search for “durham nc restaurants” gave me seven options to start with. I eliminated solo cuisine and ugly corporate websites, and then I found the Piedmont website.

You know you’re headed in the right direction when a restaurant changes the menu on a daily, weekly, or seasonal basis. Their website is simple but the menu made me smile when I noticed the cheese course offered both goat and cow’s milk cheese.

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I called and made reservations for four…forgetting to include myself. When we realized we’d be late, I called and changed the reservation by thirty minutes. It wasn’t until we were on the way to dinner that I remembered there were five of us. We called to change the number of diners and they had to bump us to a later time. That’s a good sign – it means other people like to eat there.  When we arrived we sat outside on the little benches and waited our turn. They graciously offered us water several times and never forgot we were out there. I’ve got big love for good customer service – and Piedmont delivered over, and over again.

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The decor at Piedmont is simple, yet elegant. The tables are nicely spaced to give diners plenty of room for conversation and privacy. We didn’t meet the chef, but with a little research I was able to determine the chef/owner is Andy McGowan.

Once again, I find myself using the word “simple” to describe another aspect of Piedmont. The menu: Cheese course, 1st course, 2nd course, Etceteras, and Dessert. We asked our waiter to explain the menu rules, and he assured us we could order as much or as little as we wanted in no particular order. I love options.

From the cheese menu, we ordered all three cheese selections to share. The cheese came with almonds, figs poached in red wine, and a lovely raisin bread with a tight crumb. In addition, we ordered the housemade charcuterie selection to share: country pâté & chicken liver mousse with pickled vegetables, dijon & grilled bread. We darn near licked the plate.IMAG0061

For the main dish we divided and conquered. I went for the housemade Italian sausage with creamy polenta, braised greens & tomato jus. Laura and Jo both ordered giant-sized pork chops covered with lovely peaches (pictured at right). Jo’s Dad selected the chicken, and Chelsea went for a lovely salad with a side of pomme frîtes with aïoli.

If I lived anywhere near Durham, I would find my way to Piedmont as often as possible. You’ll find them at 410 Foster Street, just down the street from the Marriott hotel and Bull Durham stadium. They serve dinner Wednesday through Monday and brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Dress is casual. Check out the menu on the website and call Piedmont and make your reservation today at 919.683.1213 and tell them Lucy sent you.

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