Nov 13 2012

Best Restaurants, Dining near the DPAC in Durham, Part III- American Tobacco Center

The DPAC at Night, Foodalicious Follies

Best dining deals and restaurants around the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) is one of my most popular posts but I focused on restaurants that were a bit out of the way because things can get VERY busy right near DPAC.  But I’d be remiss to not mention some decent spots that are closer by and at or around the American Tobacco Campus (ATC).  Just be warned that you’ll likely need a reservation and things may get crazy busy when you hit up these spots before a show!


Front of Tobacco Road Sports in Durham, Foodalicious FolliesBar at Tobacco Road Sports in Durham, Foodalicious Follies
One newer option that puts you steps away from the DPAC entrance is the lovely, Tobacco Road Sports Cafe. Yes, they’ve got tons of televisions. Yes, they serve pitchers of beer. But Tobacco Road Sports barely qualifies as a sports bar given its upscale decor, full bar and solid service, check out my full review here.  Love their nachos, sliders and frizzled chicken, Tobacco Road Sports delivers plus pub and bar food.  A large dining space, bar and patio means you’ve got plenty of seating options.  But you’ll need ALL the space here because this place can get insanely busy.  After you’re done, take a leisurely short stroll past the fountain over to DPAC, you can’t be any closer than Tobacco Road Sports…


Front of L'Uva Enoteca in Durham, Foodalicious Follies

L’Uva Enoteca is another new restaurant that recently opened up in the American Tobacco Center.  Owned by the same people as Revolution, it’s a small, chic Italian eatery focused on upscale, seasonal ingredients in a minimalistic style.  While the dining room is a bit tight, they’ve got a nice, patio in the back which would be great if the weather cooperates.  Just make sure to let them know you’ve got a show to make if you want to have dinner here.  My last visit here included a nice bruschetta and short rib over cheese grits and it was all nice and well-executed.  I like the place for a casual but dressy date but just wasn’t blown away by the food.  But L’Uva Enoteca is probably your best spot for a more upscale meal really close to DPAC.


Inside of Tyler's Taproom in Durham, Foodalicious FolliesBacon popcorn at Tyler's Taproom in Durham, Foodalicious Follies

Further down in the American Tobacco Center is Tyler’s Taproom.  You’ll see their busy sidewalk patio and know you’ve found the place.  Tyler’s specializes in solid pub food along with a great selection of beers, They’ve got locations in Carrboro, Raleigh and Apex in addition to this Durham spot so they know what they’re doing.  While I haven’t had a full meal here yet, I’ve done some snacks and beers along with food at other locations. Their Carolina nachos and cheese-fries are to die for which is appropriate since they may stop your heart.  Tyler’s is known for their great selection of micro-brews, don’t miss out on all the great local choices.  Their garlic fries are a can’t miss but the bacon-parmesan popcorn just wasn’t that impressive.  Just be aware that the place can get really loud with the open space and brick walls, not a great spot for a romantic or quiet meal.


So there are some decent spots right near DPAC (highlighted in blue on the map) but understand that everyone going to a show will probably have their eyes on these restaurants.  They all can get really jammed and I’d hate to have a loud rushed meal before a fun night at the DPAC because that’s not how I want to get things started.  For some other dining options, check out my DPAC posts below.  But i’ll definitely be back to add to this list, bon appetit DPAC visitors!


Best Restaurant and Dining Deals around the DPAC in Durham, Part I (Walk to DPAC, Mangum Street)

Best Restaurant and Dining Deals around the DPAC in Durham, Part II (Walk to DPAC, Five Points)

Best Restaurant and Dining Deals around the DPAC in Durham, Part III (Closest to DPAC, American Tobacco Center)

Best Restaurant and Dining Deals around the DPAC in Durham, Part IV (Short drive)

Best Bars and Cocktails Around the DPAC in Durham


Best Restaurants and Dining Around the DPAC, Part III
Tobacco Road Sports (American, Bar Food)
L’Uva Enoteca  (Italian)
Tyler’s Taproom  (American, Bar Food)



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  1. Burgeoningfoodie

    Out of the restaurants in your 2nd group of Durham dining spots.. I would probably only go to L’Uva Enoteca. I’ve found the food and service at both Tylers and Tobacco road to be nothing more than pub food and lackadaisical. I would prefer to dine at the restaurants in your other list, but L’Uva, Tylers and Tabacco road are closer. However, when Vivace opens up in the building they are constructing, that should be a good place to go and equally close. Given Durham’s relative compactness, areas towards Brightleaf would also be good.. Chamas, Pops, Lilly’s Pizza, Mateos, Dames and the newer Pizzeria Toro could also be considered. Look forward to what I’m sure will be a 3 part of this series.

    1. Ron Wen

      Hey BurgeoningFoodie! Yeah, that’s why the first list was created, I’m more interested in a relaxed and decent dinner over trying to get as close as possible to DPAC. Tobacco Road and ATC are just too close and it’s hard to have a good dining experience there, pre-show. Tends to be really frenetic and hectic. Pops is about as far as I’ll go in terms of range. Given a lot of women will wear heels for a night out at the theatre, 4 – 5 blocks is a reasonable limit in terms of distance. But thanks for checking out the posting…

  2. Ron Wen

    Oh and interested to see what Vivace-Durham is like, Mateo is definitely on my ToEat list, I heard it’s awesome and authentic…

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