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“A great new find in Durham”
Review of The Refectory Cafe

The Refectory Cafe
Ranked #13 of 780 Restaurants in Durham
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $5 - $25
Cuisines: Bar
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Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Dinner
Description: "Slow Food, Fast", this 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, it won best food on campus 7 Years in a row and Duke University's Environmental Leadership Award four 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, local grass-fed beef, chicken and simply amazing desserts. Vegan, vegetarian, Gluten Free, Raw or Plant Based The Refectory Cafe caters to all dietary preferences. Award winning VEGAN, GF DAL, Chili and soups; delicious panini on locally made bread; "breakfast of champions" with amazing grits, local eggs, biscuits, Tofu scrambles, baked oatmeal, local sausage and more; Delicious Dinners of Chicken Marsala, Surf & Turf, Lobster, Linguine with clams, Crabcakes, Slow-cooked short ribs, Blackened or Grilled Salmon, Vegan GF Tempeh, Indian DAL, soups, salads & more. Full bar, craft cocktails, martinis, fine wines and local beer with Table Service Evenings 5pm-9pm. Monday through Saturday. Excellent seafood, steaks, soups, salads, vegan & vegetarian fare. The award winning desserts are created on site and are simply fabulous! Reservations encouraged and available on-line.
Reviewed July 31, 2013

This is a wonderful restaurant. Very casual but excellent food. I had a lentil dish that was superb. Really great soups and all fresh ingredients. Really good desserts. They do catering as well and take out.

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Thank jfran
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura H, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded August 4, 2013

Thank you jfran! Having just opened last September we are thrilled with your "5-Star" review. Dedicated to providing our customers with all diets (Vegan, vegetarian, Gluten Free, Plant based or omnivore) it always makes our day to have such accolades as "really great soups" and all "fresh ingredients" appreciated and recognized. We look forward to serving you again. Thanks for sharing!

Laura

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Reviews (192)
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183 - 187 of 192 reviews

Reviewed July 29, 2013

The Refectory has a new location on 15-501 (Durham-Chapel Hill Rd). More parking!
The food is outstanding. Everything is made fresh from local sources. The desserts are all made from scratch too. They have several soups, including the much requested chicken and dumplings. They have a sample station to try any and all of them. I had the shrimp po'boy with choice of sides - homemade regular and sweet potato chips, kale salad, citrus salad, or berry salad. i tried both the chips and kale salad. Both were excellent. The shrimp were very large and tasty. I shared desserts - a no bake greek yogurt cheesecake and a blueberry pie. The cheesecake was delicious and creamy. I would definitely get it again! The blueberry pie filling was thick with mashed blueberries - no juice or filling. Not as sweet as most blueberry pies you are used to. The staff could not be any friendlier or helpful. Overall a great lunch.

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Thank SouthernVoice10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 27, 2013

The people running this place care about your experience, something rare for a place with such modest prices. The food is marvelous: baked oatmeal, fabulous paninis, spicey and delicious soup. I plan on sampling the entire menu and was pleased to see that this may be feasible since they are open for three meals/day. The brunch at the next table looked great- waffles with chicken and pancakes. Generous portions and beautifully prepared.

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Thank caplow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura H, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded August 4, 2013

"Wow" right back at you. Thank you caplow! This was a beautiful review which our staff is incredibly grateful for receiving. We love providing samples and always plan to "make your day" with a fabulous experience. Thank you for noticing AND for taking the time to share your experience. We love our customers and our staff. :-)

Laura

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Reviewed July 15, 2013

We happened to land here by accident using the Around Me app. I was interested in trying it since I am a vegetarian married to a carnivore. We were greeted inside with some delicious soup samples. The potato leek soup was very good and my husband ordered a bowl. I ordered a kale salad and we split the pappardelle pomodoro.

You order at the counter and they give you a number to put on the table, but the soup and salad went with us. Teh silverware is wrapped in festive cloth napkins and the tables are plentiful. There are also some picnic tables outside.

My husband slurped down the soup and I began on the salad. The kale salad, however, flavorful with a citrus (orange?) dressing and walnuts and dried cranberries, was full of grit. The first bite came with a crunch, so I chomped softly through it. I know kale is hard to get squeaky clean, but gritty salad is a real turn off.

The pomodoro came with grilled veggies on top and a hunk of garlic toast. The tomatoes were garlicky and good. The veggies grilled to absolute perfection. The pasta (fettuccini) was cooked perfectly and tasted homemadeWe really wanted to try one of the local beers, but we passed and shared a Vitamin Water Zero.

Our bill came to around $20. The bowl of soup was $5.75, the Papperdelle Pomodoro was $12 and enough to share if you just want a light dinner.

All in all, we enjoyed our dinner at The Refectory while we were visiting Durham.

Thank rickyred
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura H, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded August 4, 2013

Hello Rickyred. I love "happy accidents"! Fresh local veggies "grilled to perfection" - that is our goal - thank you for noticing. Our apologies on the Kale - it is one of our most popular dishes with fresh local Kale and a homemade Miso Ginger dressing. I wish we had "caught" that while you were dining.

We are thrilled that you enjoyed your meal an chose to share that experience. We hope we will have the opportunity to serve you again on your next return to Durham.

Thank you,
Laura

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Reviewed June 29, 2013 via mobile

Stopped for lunch before heading back to atl. The food is light. Fresh and well prepared. Service is friendly and helpful. Atmosphere was fun

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1  Thank Quantummottle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laura H, Owner at The Refectory Cafe, responded to this reviewResponded July 1, 2013

Thank you Atlanta! We are delighted that it was so easy to find us and that you considered your experience "Excellent" - we have a very dedicated hard working team of folks that make it their job to ensure that every visitor has a memorable experience.

Thank you for writing - our customers are our greatest asset!

Gratefully,
Laura

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