2.7 miles from downtown Durham, “Major” the bull
2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., Durham 27707
Hours: Mon Closed, Tue-Thur 8AM to 9:30PM, Fri-Sat 8AM to 10PM, Sun 9AM to 5PM
The Vibe: European, distinctive, sophisticated, intellectual
Wednesday, October 9, 2019 @ 2:58 PM
A beautiful autumn day here in Durham – 72 degrees, sunny, and dry (with very low humidity). I’m sitting in Guglehupf’s ample outdoor patio. Green trees and potted plants, red and beige table umbrellas, and a collage that adorns the café’s exterior make the space resplendent with color. Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, accompanied by the gurgling fountain, provides the backdrop. The patio itself must seat at least 50. There are 20 or so people here now drinking German draft beer and coffee (as well as another 3 inside on the first floor and about 10 on the inside second floor). Great vibe and splendid experience today (except for the fact that I couldn’t find a rack to lock my bike).
Thursday March 21, 2019 @ 2:03 PM
Guglhupf is one of a kind. Starting with its name, Guglhupf . . . how do you pronounce that and what does it mean? . . . to its architecturally unique building.
A guglhupf, roughly pronounced “google-huf”, is a yeast-based cake, traditionally baked in a distinctive circular Bundt mold. It is sometimes referred to as a hat cake, that is popular in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and other countries of Central Europe.
Guglhupf’s main building is also distinctive and, on the inside, appears circular. Guglhupf has a bakery adjacent to the main cafe building, and the bakery bears separate mention. It is a European-styled, walk-in, walk-out bake shop. It features delicious artisan bread, pastries and other baked goods. Some Bull City (and beyond) establishments feature Guglhupf as their baked goods supplier–it is a sign of quality and deliciousness.
Guglhupf rightly describes itself as an artisan bakery, café and biergarten, and formally calls itself “Guglhupf Bakery & Patisserie” (a patisserie is a type of French or Belgian bakery that specializes in pastries and sweets, as well as a term for these types of food). But it’s not your traditional Hofbräuhaus. This 21-year-old Durham destination prides itself in being innovative in design and cuisine. The café emphasizing local ingredients while staying true to its southern German roots, celebrating the “progressive, modern aspects of their heritage.”
Guglhupf’s café features distinctive architecture and design inside and out. The building highlights metal, dark wood, and concrete. Inside, muted browns and oranges, lit by paper globe and cascading chandelier-lights.
The service counter greets you upon entering through two large glass doors. A large chalkboard lists the day’s food specials, including soups. And a display case features patisseries from the bakery, should you want a post-meal treat or something to accompany your coffee. If you intend to sit anywhere other than the bar, you will need to order all food and drink (including pastries) at the service counter.
Pro tip: if you choose to sit at the new, uniquely beautiful, custom-designed bar, you can get full service of food, wine, craft cocktails and coffee, skipping waiting in line at the service counter. In addition to bar seating, the first floor has several two- and four-top tables.
Up the center staircase (this wide staircase is encircled by even wider flooring ) is a second floor with ample seating for singles, twos, and groups. Today the atmosphere upstairs is thriving. Twenty-nine people occupy the space and there’s still room to spare (not including a side room that can be sectioned off which seats at least 12). All the seating is two-top. These tables are sturdy: thick wood tables edged in steel, some of which have been pushed together to seat four people. A relaxing playlist of cello music pipes through in the background. These songs that remind me of a movie soundtracks and make me think of The Shape of Water.
Guglhupf, as its name and heritage suggest, has a European feel. Even the patrons seem to have a foreign flair. On the way in I met a woman from Germany who works at North Carolina Central University. And, I have German friends who feel at home here. Most people today are grazing, finishing lunch, having a conversation or working over a coffee.
The entire café is conducive to lingering and working and talking. The outside seating area is a spacious oasis garden patio. It has a few dozen tables with red umbrellas, walled-in planters, and fountains and sculptures. No one is outside today. The weather is too cold. But, the patio is ideal during fairer weather for hanging out, eating, and drinking.
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