406 S Driver St, Durham 27703
1.8 miles from downtown Durham
Hours: Closed Monday, Tue – Fri 7am – 7 pm; Sat & Sun 8am – 3pm
The Vibe: Charming, old-worldly, purposeful, cozy
Friday, November 8, 2019 @ 11:09 AM
A bright, crisp fall day outside and it’s warm and cozy with a freshly baked fragrance filling this single room coffee and bake shop in Old East Durham. This place reminds me of my northeastern, New England roots. Locals conversing, reading the newspaper (New York Times left behind for the next person), taking their time.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
The first thing that strikes you about the East Durham Bake Shop upon entering is the baked-goods aroma!
The second thing that you can’t miss, because they won’t let you, is their heartfelt “hello” when you walk in the door.
It’s a sincere welcome to this quaint coffee shop in one of Durham’s more genuine communities. The largest and most densely populated of Durham’s neighborhoods, East Durham evolved from farmsteads of the mid-19th century to textile mills and cotton manufacturing factories of the early 1900s.
The café is not very full right now, it’s mid-afternoon. The cafe consists of a large open space, with the bakery area occupying almost half. From anywhere in the shop, you can watch the staff working–making coffee drinks, dough, and other baking activities. There are 5 two-tops at the front of the shop that run along bench seating along on Driver St. Adjacent to this seating area, there are 2 more two-tops and a long table that seats 10. There is outside seating on a low deck that adjoins the building.
Inside, except for the bakery, you’d think you were in an old-worldly living room. It’s bright, light, and comfortable, with a large map of the world on the wall above a soft, flower-patterned couch, and a window nook seat that you can stretch fully out in. It has a family room feel – the type of place where you’d see people playing a board game. Jazz classics from the 40s and 50s sung by Julie London, Madeleine Peyroux, Sarah Vaughan, Nina Simone and the like also take you back in time. The old building features exposed brick walls with tile and cement floors.
One person is reading The New Yorker. Young couples, a mother and daughter, two small-business owners, a family of three, come and go. East Durham Bake Shop is purposeful, and everything is done in a meaningful way.
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