Dame’s Chicken and Waffles in Durham, NC

June 6, 2012

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Dame's Chicken and Waffles - Perhaps one of the best logos ever!

Here is the first in a series about *great* places to eat *even better* food in North Carolina. NC is my kinda state – lushly green and beautiful, friendly people with that beautiful Southern accent (the one my cousins, who live in NC, brought along on every summer visit out East….making this little New England girl curse her fate for not being born a Southern Belle….), fruits and vegetables that come in so much earlier than on the East Coast (huge, ripe peaches in May. May (!) for goodness sake!), sweet tea – with free refills – everywhere you turn, and deep, rich, down-home cooking at it’s best. Often with the Pig being the center of attention – which as you know, always makes me happy.

But at Dame’s it’s the Chicken and Waffles you come for. And you’d best come hungry. Have I mentioned how much I really like the portions in the South? I think it is literally impossible to come away from a plate of food served to you below the Mason-Dixon line, and to come away hungry. God, I love the South! *smile*

He kept watch over our car while we ate.

So, Saturday lunch, we headed into Durham to find Dame’s. The city was pretty quiet – until you got near Dame’s. It was a warm, sunny day and their outside tables were full. All the inside tables were full, too, so the hostess told us we could wait – probably about 15 minutes, or grab the last two seats at the bar. I saw a nice looking man sitting at the bar and it smelled incredible in there, so to the bar we went!

Full crowd on a Saturday morning!

Pretty details inside

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sat at the counter, next to a large man who was tucking into a sweet potato waffle and chicken wings. We struck up a conversation, his name is Brian Miller, a saxophone player…married, two girls, ages 7/8 and 3. Such a sweet man! Gave me some restaurant suggestions and told me about Prime Smokehouse in Raleigh – where he was playing that night….which will be covered in another post soon. When I asked him about the food here at Dame’s, he told me it was his first visit, but that so far the food was outstanding. Just what I was hoping to hear!

"Grey" Grits with Cheese and Eggs aka The Grits that changed my life!

I got the regular waffle with a fried chicken breast and their blueberry ‘signature schmeer’ on the side. My combo came with two eggs cooked to order and grits. I opted for cheese grits, which basically meant just a few shreds of orange cheese thrown on the top. The eggs and grits came out first – and oh my! – I had never seen grits like these before. Usually grits are a plain while clump….these were looser—they seemed to be flowing almost…and they were flecked with pepper and were almost grey in color. I *know* grey is not an appetizing color when talking about food….but whatever was in there grey-ing them up gave them such an incredible flavor….for the first time in my life, I could see what the fuss was about. I could now understand someone actually *craving* grits. They were that good.

My Chicken and Cinnamon-laced Waffle

The ‘regular’ waffle was very cinnamon-y (and I’m not a fan of cinnamon in my waffles or French toast) so I didn’t eat much of it, but I ate enough to know that if cinnamony waffles are you thing, you’d love this. Great texture, cooked just right….and a great counterpoint to the chicken which was juicy on the inside, but nicely crispy on the outside with some great seasonings in the coating.

"The Quilted Buttercup" What an adorable name!

Carolyn got The Quilted Buttercup ,which was a chicken breast sandwiched between two small sweet potato waffles with their maple-pecan schemer on the side. They give you maple syrup as well, of course. Of the available sides, Mac n Cheese, Grits (cheesy or not), small salad or fruit dish, Carolyn went for the fruit – and it was a bowl bright with watermelon and pineapple – all perfectly ripe.

Shrimp and Grits was a special that day and though we didn’t get it, our new friend Brian told us that he had it to start and that it was great.

While we ate we talked with Brian about all the good food and good music in the area. When he finished his meal, he wiped his mouth and then his brow and said “I feel a bit badly – this food was so good, I want to keep it all to myself you know?” And when I asked what he meant, he said that he was already thinking how his next time here he’ll have to bring his wife or his daughters with him and that will distract him from the food, which would be sad……but he know’s he’s going to have to do it because once they all know about this place they’re going to be on him to go every day.

When I suggested he keep it to himself for his post-barbershop lunch spot (which it was today, and why he was there alone, and for the first time)…he said, “I would but, this food was so good, I’m going to have to talk about it.”

I know what you mean, Brian, I know what you mean.

Dame’s Chicken & Waffles
317 West Main Street
Durham, NC 27701-3215
(919) 682-9235
www.dameschickenwaffles.com

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Filed Under: North Carolina, Restaurant, Travel

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