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.