Durham Food Hall serves crunchwraps, oysters & more. Keep track of the vendors here

·5 min read

The newest of the major Triangle food halls, the Durham Food Hall has launched a roster of some of the most creative and delicious small restaurant projects.

Built in the Liberty Warehouse Apartments near Durham’s Central Park, the food hall is years in the making, first announced in 2018 and eventually opening in 2020. Managed by longtime project leader Adair Mueller, the food hall is now owned by MDO Holdings, which also owns BB’s Crispy Chicken.

In three years, there have been multiple vendor shakeups. Here are the restaurants you’ll find now.

What restaurants are in the Durham Food Hall?

Ex-Voto: The owners of Raleigh Mexican restaurants Centro and Gallo Pelon looked to bring idealized tacos to Durham, using heirloom corn to make specialty tortillas. Then a global pandemic upended those plans. Angela Salamanca and Marshall Davis pivoted to burritos and Ex-Voto thrived as one of the food hall’s most popular vendors. Now, Ex-Voto is best known for fancy Crunchwraps, a gourmet take on Taco Bell’s famous hexagon shaped tortilla bomb. These are filled with rotisserie chicken or braised short ribs and sealed with hoop cheese, jalapenos (if you dare) and a not-insignificant amount of love.

Everything Bagels: Named for the gold standard for bagel fans, Everything Bagels seems also to be named for the belief that literally anything could be or should be on a bagel. Here, you’ll find the classic bagel sandwiches, made with varieties like everything, poppy and plain. But Everything Bagels specializes in flavors you’ve never imagined in the bagel world. You’ll find black lime and sea salt, seaweed everything and togarashi sesame, which is one of the most popular sellers. Spreads and cream cheeses include lemon, miso and rosemary, kimchi and a spicy pepper patch. The strong Asian influence extends to sandwiches as well, including chicken katsu and a breakfast banh mi, plus a perfected smoked whitefish salad and a lox with kimchi.

Napoli Pizza: This pizza brand started in Carrboro as a mobile pizza oven food truck and its pies are regarded as some of the very best in the Triangle. Once established in the food hall, Everything Bagels owner Jen Kremer took over this pizza oven next to her bagel shop and carried on that stellar reputation. The intensely hot wood burning oven turns out pizzas in moments, with bubbling cheese and blistered, airy crusts. You know they’ve got those good curled peps, but also innovative pizzas like apricot glaze and spicy soppressata, one with locally foraged mushrooms and a bright margherita. Sweets fans will find delicate and richly flavored gelato.

Corner Yaki: The newest vendor at the Durham Food Hall, owner Jen Kremer and chef Ray Williams continue their partnership with their third spot. Tucked in the corner of the food hall, near their pizzeria and bagel shop, Corner Yaki specializes in dumplings, ramen and bao buns. In creating this menu, Williams said he added the kinds of dishes he craves all the time. On the buns you’ll find pork belly, karaage and fake crab, in the dumplings you’ll likely want to try the mapo tofu or the short ribs with mustard greens or crisp and clean chicken and ginger. Ramen fans will find chicken-based broth with roasted pork, or a miso with mushrooms and crispy tofu. Corner Yaki is likely the most unexpected spot for french fries, but you might find your new favorite snack here, dusted with dashi powder.

Corner Yaki, a new ramen and dumpling shop, will open in the Durham Food Hall, from owner Jen Kremer, left, and chef Ray Williams.
Corner Yaki, a new ramen and dumpling shop, will open in the Durham Food Hall, from owner Jen Kremer, left, and chef Ray Williams.

Mango Indian Grill: One of the newest vendors at the food hall, Mango is the sister concept of Chapel Hill’s Cholanad Restaurant & Bar, specializing in South Indian cuisine. There are curries like tikka masala, saag paneer and coconut marinated Chettinad curry. On the snack side, Mango serves tandor baked chicken wings and fried samosas and the incredibly popular chicken 65.

Locals Oyster Bar: Raleigh’s Locals Seafood has built a reputation for bringing the coast’s best fish to the Triangle. With the Oyster Bar, Locals offers diners a tour of the coast’s bounty, including pristine oysters that change week to week, light and crispy fish sandwiches and sweet and creamy shrimp rolls. Building on the popularity of Nashville Hot Chicken, Locals serves one of the most outlandishly delicious sandwiches in the Triangle: a surfboard-sized piece of fried fish, tossed in spicy oil and served on comically inadequate yet perfectly toasted bread. If diners are in a hurry or are considering cooking at home, a bed of ice and a nearby cooler have fresh fish ready to prepare and snacks like smoked fish dip that you might struggle to not devour in the car.

Little Barb’s: Last summer, this sweets and cake shop opened on the top level of the food hall. Little Barb’s is the creation of Barbara Nigro, who left a medical career behind to pursue her baking side hustle. In the bakery counter you might find gourmet pop tarts and cheesecakes on a stick, aka “Cakesicles,” plus creme brulee bars and perfect chocolate chip cookies.

Marshall Davis works at Ex-Voto Cocina Nixtamal located in the Durham Food Hall on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. The restaurant has shifted to Burrito Bodega as a temporary takeout pop-up during the pandemic.
Marshall Davis works at Ex-Voto Cocina Nixtamal located in the Durham Food Hall on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. The restaurant has shifted to Burrito Bodega as a temporary takeout pop-up during the pandemic.

Milklab: The latest location in this growing Triangle boba empire, Milklab opened in the food hall in early 2023. Fans of boba will find the familiar menu of milk teas, plus cap teas with cream cheese, bright fruit teas and a half dozen matcha lattes.

Liturgy Beverage Co.: This coffee shop was created with barista competitions in mind, so your lattes and macchiatos will come out perfected. Liturgy often brews and serves Wake Forest’s acclaimed Black & White beans, but also regularly rotates in- out-of-town specialty coffees from world class roasters across the country. Saturday mornings you’ll find a gaggle of folks from the farmer’s market ordering crafted drinks, but on weekdays, Liturgy hosts a peaceful spot to focus on work or reading or simply a great cup of coffee. The pastry counter is stocked with Oxford’s Strong Arm Bakery, so think of it as a way to skip that much longer Saturday line if you just want a slice of apple cake, which you probably do.

The food hall is 530 Foster St. in downtown Durham.

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