136 East Chapel Hill Street, Durham
It's easy to complain about runaway real estate costs in Durham and meals that cannot be bought for less than $20. But it's even easier, and much more satisfying, to call in an order to Ninth Street Bakery, an anchor of downtown Durham since the early nineties—when the very idea of having an anchor in downtown Durham seemed like a sad joke. Ninth Street is a production bakery, yes, shipping loaves of three-seed or seven-grain across much of the state most every day. But the options in its storefront cafe constitute one of downtown's most overlooked treasures. By morning, you can have a perfectly savory Asiago scone or an indulgent blueberry cream cheese Danish; by lunch, sandwiches, salads, and specials that shift from curries to potato-topped pizzas get you in and out of the door fast and for close to nothing. Linger a bit: Ari Berenbaum, a former employee who has owned the spot since 2013, always has primo soul or dub cranking from the corner speakers.