This Friday's "favorite" is not one specific spot, but rather an area in Durham. If you were to do a drive by, you wouldn't have any reason to guess that it's one of my Durham favorites.
Hope Valley Square, located on Shannon Road, near the 15-501 Target, can best be described, appearance wise, as a strip mall. There are no retail stores, though, but I'm not really sure what you call a strip of businesses, located in one long, continuous building, that really isn't a mall. A gigantic post office is plopped in the middle of the strip, and the businesses face out to a big, ugly parking lot. So what is it that I like about this area??
What I Love:
- THE RESTAURANTS - Hope Valley Square is home to some of my favorite quick, cheap eats in town, Only Burger and Pop's Backdoor Pizza, as well as Rick's Diner (which I have yet to try). A fourth restaurant, Bull Street Gourment & Market, has recently opened. I haven't been yet, but have read that it's a market and restaurant, serving breakfast and lunch.
- THE FROZEN YOGURT - Crazing an after dinner treat? Tutti Frutti is an inexpensive, self serve frozen yogurt shop. I love that I can walk there after my burger or pizza.
- THE LOCATION - Ok, I wish it was closer to my house...and walking distance, BUT, it is located across the street from the Southwest branch of the Durham County Library. This makes for a convenient breakfast (eager to try Bull Street's Nutella/Strawberry Croissant), lunch or treat stop before or after book browsing/story time.
- THE FAMILY/PET FRIENDLINESS - If you visit Hope Valley Square, be prepared for kids. Lots and lots of kids. The restaurants serve kid friendly food, and Pop's even has a kid's play area. The outdoor seating at the restaurants also welcomes dogs. I've brought Cooper a few times and even had wait staff bring us bowls of water for him.
- THE OUTDOOR GRASS AREA - This is by no means the nicest outdoor dining area that you'll find in Durham, but I do like the grassy area of picnic tables, located across the parking lot from the strip. Take your food or fro-yo to go, and dine on the grass. The kids and pets can be loud and move around. This is also a good option when the restaurants are crowded.
The Down Side:
- POPULARITY - Many Durhamites like Hope Valley Square as much as I do. The restaurants aren't huge, and if the weather is too crummy for outdoor dining, it can be crowded.
- THE VIEW/AMBIANCE (or lack of) - I've already mentioned, this is a strip. Outdoor dining faces a very large parking lot.
710 Shannon Road, Durham, NC