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When foodies collide: Doughman, Taste of Durham square off this weekend

What's that they say? It's hard to have too much of a good thing?

Well, if you put food in that category, it would seem this is the weekend to indulge. Not one, but two food events are making their way to the Bull City this weekend.

First up is an event that mixes quantity with quality: The DoughMan, a so-called "self-propelled culinary tour of Durham," described as a cross between a triathlon and a competitive eating event. Yes, proving the annual Raleigh Krispy Kreme run isn't masochistic enough -- now you get to engorge on food and then add swimming and biking to your running routine!

The race starts at Foster's Market, where each four-person team's first racer downs a Foster's breakfast before biking to Nosh. Racer 2 in this restaurant relay eats a sandwich and side there and runs to Luther's, off Ninth St. After Racer 3 downs a chili dog and hushpuppies there, it's off to Duke's Central Campus pool for a swim (no cramps, please!), freeing up Racer 4 to speed from there to Dain's on Ninth, down a load of bacon cheese fries, and run -- stomach contents hopefully intact -- to Locopops downtown.

All four team members then meet at the 'Pops and down some paletas before racing as a team down to the Farmer's Market finish line.

Of course, the best thing about the whole event is its cause: Seeds, the terrific Durham-based community gardening non-profit, and in particular their Durham Inner-city Gardeners program. The event is sponsored by the participating restaurants, Parker & Otis, and Duke University.

Registration is closed, so it's too late to add your team into the mix this inaugural year. If you want to watch the outcome, it looks like your best bet may be to hang around Locopops and the Farmer's Market in the 10-11ish timeframe.

Also up for Saturday: the fourth-annual Taste of Durham, which returns to its peripheral position at the Imperial Center down in the southeastern corner of the county. According to press reports, the festival last year drew 18,000 visitors to its significantly more spacious location after relocating from Brightleaf Square.

The Giorgios Hospitality Group of restaurants again features prominently in the list of participating restaurants this year, bringing George's Garage, Parizade and Vita cuisine to the table. The terrific seafood restaurant Blu will also be there, as will the Mo'ville version of Nikos Taverna, Bombay Grille, Pomodoro, the Texas Roadhouse -- still Durham's priciest eats north of I-85! -- and Papa Mojo's Roadhouse.

They'll be joined by a number of chains with local presence, including the Honeybaked Ham Co., Cold Stone Creamery, and The Melting Pot. Along with, intriguingly, the Weeping Radish, now an Outer Banks establishment, but at one time a pioneering Durham brewpub. Speaking of which, there'll be wine and beer tasting tents, along with live music throughout the day.

The festival runs from 11am until 7pm at the Imperial Center just off I-40 at Page Rd. Admission is $6 day-of-festival; kids under 12 get in free; you'll need to buy $1 coins, too, to try samples of the food and beer/wine.

The H-S reports that The Community Chest, the non-profit spearheading the annual event, may add a Taste of the Triangle version of the annual happening next year.


Durham Bull Pen

I'm not going to something called "A Taste of DURHAM" that they hold in the parking lot of an RTP hotel.

Maybe that's just me.

If they bring it back to our newly renovated downtown / Brightleaf Square / See Say Be Plaza, then I'll definitely attend. 'Til then, meh.


I would strongly prefer they rename it Taste of RTP and be done with it.


How much you wanna bet that the DoughMan quadrathlon shows up on this site in the next 10 days:


Best thing about SEEDS: their campaign to allow chickens to be kept within the city of Durham (Raleigh and Charlotte allow it).

Pets or meat?


I'm gonna go subject myself to this horrific, asphalt, suburban spectacle. (The Brightleaf version was mostly in a parking lot, too). I'm assuming there will be some sort of fried cheese and multiple variations of meat-on-a-stick. What's not to like?


We went for the second year in a row. It was much cooler temperature wise this year and there was a nice breeze. Seeing people go out on stretchers with heatstroke last year wasn't a huge selling point on the festival...

Anyway, it was not too different from last year. Most of the same restaurants were there, the beer was cold, and the crowd seemed to be having fun. We were only there about 90 minutes but the music was excellent especially Seth Walker (

All in all it was good family fun - I don't really care where it is held.

The one gripe I do have is that given all the awesome restaurants in Durham, its weird to see how few actually participate. Same thing goes for local artsy/craftsy types.


Agree completely with Masshole. BTW when people from Durham start claiming the Park...People from Raleigh will stop trying to steal like the STAC committee and many others. As long as its in the city limits, its the Taste of Durham!

It outgrew Brightleaf Square. Now I think a Taste of Downtown Durham would be nice at Brightleaf but nobody is stepping up to the plate. Soooooooooooooo...Taste of Durham at Imperial Center it is...


This obsession with having Taste of Durham downtown doesn't take into account that it is a privately organized event. The city can block off a bunch of streets for its own events, but I doubt that they would do the same for a private one. The reason why the organizers placed it at the Imperial Center is because they could not find a venue large enough downtown. If anyone can suggest a large enough place that is available, I'm sure the organizers will be happy to consider it.

I was there and I did not see fried cheese or meat on a stick as poorly informed Toastie says (maybe he is confusing Taste of Durham with the state fair). There were real locally-owned Durham restaurants there and the food I tried was very good. I found new restaurants like Pomodoro that I'm going to visit in the future.

My main reason for attending the event, however, was the music. Three great acts performed there, Cuban Jose Conde, bluesman Seth Walker and Afrobeat band Afromotive. Frankly, I'd like to see more world music downtown and less singer-songwriters.


I know the difference between The Taste of Durham and the State Fair, Angel. I thought I had had some delicious fried cheese wedge and meat-on-stick two years ago in Brightleaf. None this year. (I didn't expect giant turkey legs and fried Snickers bars). The meat balls and Greek chicken I had yesterday were great...and would've been easier to eat had they been on a stick, since seating was difficult to come by to properly use a fork and knife. I didn't mean to mock the The Taste.

I think the venue was fine. Parking was easy to find. Food was good. Music was good. Granted, the parking lots of RTP corporate parks aren't what flash through my mind when I think of Durham, either.


Can someone explain to me the whole non-profit side to this. How can you be a non-profit and the only thing you do is hold a festival each year? It didn't outgrow
Brightleaf Square, just wasn't utilized correctly. Just curious..............


Taste of Durham is a project of "The Community Chest" which is a charitable organization in Durham, and proceeds are also donated to other non-profits including, according to the ToD website, TROSA.


A question that is continually brought up amongst my friends and through eavesdropping on conversation during the Taste is..."Why don't they just charge one flat fee for entrance and get rid of the token system? They would probably still do tickets for the alcohol...I guess."

I think the beer festival operates this way and everybody seems to be happy...vendors included.


Just wanted to add some information about where the Money goes. Number one is back the the restaurants that participate. They recieve a large percentage of the revenue that they bring in for that day.

Also, I talked with one of the organizers, and the move from Brightleaf was not only size of location but Logisitics of setting-up a large scale event (At Brightleaf set-up could not begin until 12am the night before because the parking lot was used by the brighleaf patrons, and bright leaf was not willing to compromise). So I can see how they need to make decisions based on whats best for the continuation of the festival. I would love to see it come back into downtown, and have the city give more support.

Kevin Davis

Frank -- Thanks for taking the time to write in about the festival and the logistics. Perhaps Kim and her staff might consider taking a look at the Golden Belt complex next year? They're working on a configuration that affords a large on-site event space, in a courtyard-style wraparound approach between the buildings. There's also ample on-site parking, I would think.

Alternatively, has the City been supportive (or been approached) about possibly using the DAP, as the World Beer Festival does? Or American Tobacco, which has on-site parking decks?

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