Recent Restaurant Closures in Durham – Oldfields and Bistro21


bistro21Those of you who eat out regularly in Durham may have noticed that two long-established restaurants have recently disappeared from the foodie scene. Terry Laybourne’s Bistro 21 at Aykley Heads was closed suddenly in October. The lease on the restaurant had been up for sale for several months and some of the staff had found work elsewhere. This then put pressure on the restaurant to deliver the same quality food. It was decided that the restaurant was better off closing than letting this happen.

The second high-profile closure has been Oldfields Eating House at the bottom of Claypath. Oldfields closed it’s doors on 31st December 2015 after trading in the location for 13 years. In this case the closure has been caused by the seemingly inexorable expansion of ‘student accommodation’. Student Castle want to build 311 studios and 24 “cluster flats” at 18-29 Claypath. This involves the demolition of several buildings and Oldfields restaurant, Kwik Fit, Durham City Snooker Club and Warm Sanctuary are all affected.

This blog is shocked and surprised that this has happened, but it seems that the march of the University in Durham is now starting to displace other enterprises from the City Centre. Although the development is going to be run independently from the University itself, it seems nowhere is safe now when it comes to housing students. Everywhere you look, buildings are being bought and converted. The County Hospital, the Three Tuns Hotel, the Durham Light Infantryman in Gilesgate, the old Nevilles Cross WMC, even the new proposed Millburngate development is said to have a student accommodation layer on top!

claypathconsultationOldfield’s Restaurant owner Bill Oldfield was quoted in October saying: “We’ve only recently found out about the scheme and the change of ownership of our building. The developers have only just made contact with us and we’ve currently no plans to end our protected lease which has eight years to run. So unless the developers approach us with mutually agreeable solutions, as far as we’re concerned it’s business as usual into the future and reports of our restaurant building being demolished are rather premature.”

Well obviously he was made an offer he couldn’t refuse, but is this really a suitable place for even more student accommodation? What do you think?

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Durham NC – Our twin city


Durham North Carolina

As we have written on this foodie blog and watched our visitors come and go, it’s hard to ignore that quite a few are coming to visit from the US because there’s another Durham Food and Drink scene – it’s in North Carolina in the USA! According to our man in the know, Durham NC is called the Tastiest Town in the South. Durham NC has more than 700 restaurants (a few more than our Durham), of which more than 50 have been recognised by their regional or national media.

durham north carolina, tastiest town in the south

Durham NC is increasingly recognized for its colony of nationally acclaimed chefs. There are dozens of restaurants that have earned national or regional acclaim. Many specialize in the adaptation and evolution of regional neo-American (Southern) cooking, but Asian, French, German, Jamaican, and Mediterranean styles are represented as well. Durham NC is also home to several restaurants well-known for North Carolina barbecue. In Durham, you can get both the Eastern North Carolina style (with chopped pork and a clear sauce of vinegar, pepper, and salt) and the Western North Carolina style (with chopped or sliced pork with a red sauce that includes ketchup and sugar, along with the other ingredients).

Also similar to Durham UK, Durham North Carolina is the county seat of Durham County. The city is many times bigger than little Durham UK, with a population of around 245,00 people in the July 2013 census. It has a humid, subtropical climate, with about 2.5 times as much rainfall as Durham UK, and big thunderstorms are common in summer. Durham NC is 130 miles from the Atlantic coast. It was founded in 1823 when it established a post office. The railroad arrived in 1853.

For those interested, here’s a guide to Durham North Carolina.

“Everyone who wants to be is welcomed in Durham. People who live here do so by definitive and deliberate choice and are staunch defenders of the place they adopt as their own. Durham is a place where new things are always happening, and it’s also where people can be who they are with gusto. We’re looking forward to you coming to check it out.

In 2012, Durham, NC was named the “Most Tolerant City in the US” by The Daily Beast/Newsweek. Durham is home to both the 10-day-long North Carolina Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the NC Pride Parade. Establishments in Durham describe themselves in a variety of ways, including “queer positive,” and they have stickers on the door declaring them as “straight friendly.” It’s an open and friendly place with a large gay community that is fully integrated.”

Like Durham UK, Durham North Carolina has one of the top rated universities (Duke University) in the country. One of Durham’s college town areas is located along several blocks of Ninth Street, with funky shops, celebrated bars, fine dining restaurants, and numerous coffee shops.

durham north carolina photo

Have any of you been to Durham NC, our twin city? Let us know what it was like. Maybe we can go one day?

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