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Destination: Parker and Otis

Posted February 20, 2014

Parker and Otis, Durham

I know that I'm behind the times here as I write this about Parker and Otis, the restaurant and gift shop in downtown Durham.

It opened way back in 2007 and quickly developed a big following and earned accolades from all over. It's known for its breakfast and lunch items, which feature local ingredients, and eclectic store with everything from giant lollipops and packaged gourmet foods to a sizable toy selection.

There's really no good excuse for the fact that it took me until January to finally make it here. I have Jessica Greene of Bull City Craft to thank for encouraging me to get myself and my kids over there.

Here's the deal: If you haven't been, maybe you don't live in Durham or don't find yourself there very often, it's worth the trip for the food and the shop. And it is kid friendly. There's no special menu for kids but, with choices like grilled cheese, BLTs and ham sandwiches, there's something for most eaters.

Here's what my preschooler loved about it: Having a large Clifford the Big Red Dog stare at us while we ate our lunch.

Here's what my eight-year-old loved about it:  The salami and provolone panini with red onion and pepperoncini on sourdough, which she devoured.

Here's what I loved about it: All of it. Our sandwiches were delicious and reasonably priced at between $4.99 and $7.99 for a large sandwich and heaping portion of coleslaw. Service was great. And there were plenty of things to keep my kids interested in the toy section right next to our table while we waited for our food.

This is an order at the counter, take your seat to be served kind of place. My kids quickly found a table inside (there is outdoor seating too), strategically placed right next to that toy department. Here you'll find a really thoughtful selection of wonderful children's books, along with toys and games, many featuring favorite children's book characters. There was even a bench right next to it so you could sit and read a couple of the books while you wait for your food.

There wasn't much time for that by the time we got to our table. Our sandwiches - a cheese sandwich for the little one, the salami for the grade schooler and a turkey and mango chutney sandwich for me - came quickly. I saved half of my sandwich for my husband so he could taste the deliciousness.

Now, I think we're all ready to get over there for breakfast.

Parker & Otis, 112 S. Duke St., is open seven days a week. Check its website for hours, menus and other information. 

Go Ask Mom features places to take kids every Friday. For more, check our posts on park and playgrounds and Triangle family destinations.

5 Comments

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  • 68_dodge_polara Feb 24, 2014

    Fun place, they have GOOD local bands there a lot but no doubt it is expensive. Check it out and find out for your self.

  • DowntownGirl Feb 22, 2014

    Love this place!

  • raleighboy524 Feb 21, 2014

    Great food and great value for the money. My wife and I always share a sandwich and it's plenty for both of us. Has great places to sit outside in nice weather, under ceiling fans. We always enjoy going there and have done so many times over many years and have never been disappointed. Hired help is always very friendly. (Some people may remember Parker & Otis in its earlier incarnation as Fowler's, so it goes back way beyond 2007.)

  • John Dagenhart Feb 21, 2014
    user avatar

    XYLEM01 - You're entitled to your opinion, but I personally like the place. I've never been dissatisfied. I moved to Durham in 1978 and really appreciate what we have here.

  • xylem01 Feb 21, 2014

    AWFUL food and over priced merchandise!