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About
Curbside, Patio & inside cafe Service! Award Winning, local family owned, restaurant is focused on Hot, healthy, homemade & Local fare. The Refectory Cafe® was Duke University's first "Green Cafe" established in 2005, best food on campus 7 Years in a row and winner of Duke University's Environmental Leadership Award (4 times!). The Refectory Cafe "on the Boulevard" opened September 2012 and continues the tradition of great homemade soups, fresh local produce, eggs, local line-caught fish, and simply amazing desserts. Vegan, vegetarian, Gluten Free, Raw or Plant Based The Refectory Cafe caters to all dietary preferences. Open for Breakfast, lunch, dinner & brunch! Locally made bread; Crabcakes,
PRICE RANGE
$5 - $29
Special Diets
Vegan Options, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Drinks
CUISINES
Seafood, Healthy, American, Contemporary
FEATURES
Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Free off-street parking, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Street Parking, Wine and Beer, Accepts Credit Cards, Table Service, Gift Cards Available
Reviews (372)
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85
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4
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LanguageEnglish
Traveler rating
246
85
23
13
4
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Reviewed 3 weeks ago

This is one of the best restaurants I've been to in a while! Unbelievable menu with fresh, local ingredients. We were a party of 8 and every item ordered was absolutely delicious. Our server Anthony was fantastic. There was no way to not have dessert...with a ton of options. Prices are incredibly fair...$5 for a beautiful side salad or homemade soup! Cute place. Definitely deserves all the honors it has received.More

Date of visit: May 2024
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded 2 weeks ago

Thank you Darlene! We appreciate the 5-STAR review and the details!..We LOVE our chefs, Pastry Chef Rosa is remarkably talented. So happy you decided to try dessert too! Chef Jake is a master of flavor and fresh local ingredients. We look forward to serving you...More

Reviewed 3 weeks ago

This was my second time to eat here, first with lady friends and because I liked it so much I went back with my adult daughter for a belated Mother's Day brunch on a Sunday. The food is great! I had the shrimp and grits...both time because it was so good!! My daughter had the leek soup and Avocado toast and found it delicious. The restaurant is informal. You order at the counter and it is brought to your table after preparation. The staff check to see if you need anything after you are served. It is my new favorite place!More

Date of visit: May 2024
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 4 weeks ago via mobile

Our second visit. Underwhelming facility but overwhelming service and food. Desserts are spectacular. Slow cooked short ribs were exceptionally tender. The service was professional. Well attended. We arrived after our DPAC matinee. Just about empty. Bustling by the time we left. Clearly a lot of...pride in their restaurant. Definitely returning soon.More

Date of visit: May 2024
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed May 12, 2024 via mobile

We had a large family lunch here after graduation. We had a wonderful time. The food, service and ambiance was great. It’s a cute little cafe that accommodated us well. We will definitely return when we are in the area!

Date of visit: May 2024
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded May 14, 2024

Thanks so much! It was a busy graduation/Mother's Day and the staff put everything they had into making it special for everyone. Your fabulous review is greatly appreciated. We look forward to serving you again next time you are in town. Gratefully, Laura

Reviewed May 7, 2024

Not “out of this world” food but has a nice menu selection; I would give the place another try even though the signature salad with grilled shrimp was only “pretty good”. Dessert case looked amazing but did not have dessert. Staff interaction was excellent but...it’s mainly a self-service, order at the counter type production. Nice atmosphere.More

Date of visit: May 2024
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed April 14, 2024

This was my first visit but my two friends had dined here before and really liked it. We ordered at the counter. They loved the quiche and ordered it. I ordered shrimp and grits which I absolutely loved. Best shrimp and grits I've ever eaten!...The cafe was busy and we had a wait for the food to be brought to our table, but we were not in a hurry and had a very relaxing visit before, during and after the meal. I am looking forward to returning with my husband for a dinner.More

Date of visit: April 2024
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Reviewed April 8, 2024 via mobile

Overall, everything our table ordered was pretty good, with the exception of the pico avocado toast. It was really pretty lame. Looked like leftover guacamole from the night before smeared on toast, with nothing to improve the presentation. I wouldn’t recommend it. The huevos rancheros...were more like a tostada, with crispy tortillas, but very tasty. Saw another couple get upset when their reserved table was taken when they went up to order.More

Date of visit: March 2024
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2024

Hello Michelle I am very sorry your avocado toast did not meet expectations. I will say that the guacamole is made fresh daily so I am not sure what happened with your toast. In any case I hope that you said something to your server...More

Reviewed April 6, 2024 via mobile

Delightful. Broad & interesting menu choices. Enjoyed the cauliflower piccata & award winning dahl. Pleasant servers. Casual refectory. Can see the desserts on a platter or in the case before ordering.

Date of visit: April 2024
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This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded April 8, 2024

Thank you Valerie! We are delighted that you were so pleased with your meal and the service. We look forward to serving you again very soon. Thank you for the 5-STARS!

Reviewed March 25, 2024

The Refectory Cafe is, without a doubt, the best dining experience I’ve encountered this side of the Mississippi River. The staff redefines hospitality with their friendliness and attention to detail, making every visit memorable. But let’s talk about the food - it’s nothing short of...a culinary revelation. The chef is a culinary artist, crafting dishes that are both innovative and delicious, making the most of Durham’s rich gastronomic scene. Whether you’re a local or just passing through, missing out on this gem would be a serious oversight.More

Date of visit: March 2024
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded March 27, 2024

Thank you very much! We are delighted that you continue to love your experiences with The Refectory Cafe. We sincerely appreciate the Shoutout and the 5-STARS! The entire staff works diligently to make your visit a joy. Gratefully, Laura

Reviewed March 20, 2024

My husband and I were in Durham, NC for a business trip and had dinner here the first night...and loved it so much we returned two nights later for dinner again. The menu is very innovative with great choices and very fair prices. I had...the mahi mahi both nights as it was that good! All the dishes are beautifully prepared and taste even better than they look. Highly recommended. We wish there was a branch of this restaurant back in CT. We would be their faithful customers!More

Date of visit: March 2024
Helpful?
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Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded March 24, 2024

Thank you SPJCM, we are thrilled that you were so pleased you returned. We wish we could be in CT to serve you! :-) Alas, you will have to return to our beautiful paradise of Durham, NC. It was lovely meeting you and serving you...More

Reviewed March 16, 2024 via mobile

My husband and I stopped in for brunch one Saturday when in Durham. We decided on the Refectory Cafe based on the Trip Advisor reviews. So happy we did! The location was convenient and staff were awesome. Dairy free, gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian…they have...you covered. I ordered the huevos rancheros with a side of white potato fries and my husband had the chicken and waffles. Both were delicious! We also had the cappuccino cheesecake and a vegan chocolate chip cookie to round it out. We definitely will be back!More

Date of visit: March 2024
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded March 24, 2024

Thank you 2BARES. We love being able to accommodate different dietary requirements in a convenient location (our own parking!) and a truly amazing group of folks that work at The Refectory. We look forward to serving you again soon. Laura

Reviewed January 1, 2024 via mobile

Had a delicious brunch of Huevos Rancheros with slow cooked short ribs at Refectory Cafe. Eggs were cooked perfectly - yolks runny and whites done. The short rib meat was so tender. Loved the crunchiness of the tortilla shell. The woman who took the order...was so nice. I highly recommend!More

Date of visit: December 2023
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2024

Thank you MAP1080! What a terrific start to the New Year. We are delighted that you were so pleased. Happy New Year!

Reviewed December 30, 2023

Magnificent restaurant not too far from downtown and close to shopping. I had the shrimp and grits, which were absolutely delicious. My girlfriend had a burger, which also exceeded expectations. Would highly recommend as a great lunch spot.

Date of visit: December 2023
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2024

Thank you Andy! We sincerely appreciate the 5-Star review. Happy New Year!

Reviewed August 15, 2023

Over and Beyond! Had extra special service today. Mia recognized me with my elderly mother, remembered we loved iced tea and brought it to our table before we had even placed our order. My mom is 95 and she needed that little of energy on...an overly hot summer day. Lunch as always was great and served promptly! We also got a visit from Laura, the owner, always gracious and welcoming! We love our weekly visits to The Refectory!More

Date of visit: August 2023
Helpful?1  
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded August 17, 2023

Thank you Kate & Ann (the mom :-) ), We appreciate your weekly visits AND the great shoutout. Thanks very much!! Laura

Reviewed July 19, 2023

We hosted a bridal luncheon for our niece last month (6/23) at the Refectory Cafe for about 30 women. It was wonderful. They closed the cafe and catered everything, making it very easy for me. Geri and Laura and staff took excellent care of us....The food was delicious and the drinks/cocktails really fun. We all had a blast and could not have been better cared for. Highly recommend this cafe for special events as well as every day dining.More

Date of visit: June 2023
Helpful?
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Laura Hall, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded July 22, 2023

Thank you for the fabulous 5-STARS - we loved your group. You were so organized and a pleasure to work with and serve. Our staff loved the event as much as you did! Thanks for being amazing guests and for sharing your thoughts on-line. We...More

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Questions & Answers
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sssssophs
August 3, 2017|
AnswerShow all 7 answers
Response from achef | Reviewed this property |
Yes you need to make reservations for dinner and I have no idea about calories.
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Angela U
March 3, 2016|
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Response from Laura H | Property representative |
Hello, We are one mile from Duke's Main (West) Campus. You can download all of our menus from the website which you may click to from Tripadvisor. We are not able to attach the link to this response. Dinner is... More
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THE REFECTORY CAFE, Durham - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about The Refectory Cafe

Yes, The Refectory Cafe offers takeout services.

The Refectory Cafe is rated accordingly in the following categories by Tripadvisor travelers:
  • Food: 4.5
  • Service: 4.5
  • Value: 4.5
  • Atmosphere: 4