Suffering from BLT burnout? Check out the sandwich alternatives and other light bites at these newcomers.
OK, so maybe the signature offering at Joe's Diner (2100 Angier Ave., Durham; 381-5110), which bills itself as "the home of the one-pound hot dog," isn't exactly a light bite. But the burgers are made with a sensible 6 ounces of beef, and the sliders are even more manageable. If you're in the mood for something offbeat, how about a pastrami burger? Or a salmon cake and egg sandwich, part of a breakfast offering that ranges from omelets to Belgian waffles and is served all day?
Joe's location in East Durham is a bit off the beaten path, but the eatery is worth seeking out as much for its interior decor as for its food. Owner Joseph Bushfan and his son, Macklin, restored the old Crabtree Pharmacy, preserving details such as the pressed tin ceiling, black and white ceramic tile floors and massive antique pharmaceutical display case. They installed a new marble top on the original counter and added snappy retro-look chrome counter stools. Fill your prescription for a case of the blahs Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In Morrisville, you'll find plenty of ways to cure what ails you at Peppers Market & Sandwich Shop (2107 Grace Park Drive ; 380-7002; www.peppersmrkt.com ).
Owners Jess and Missy Fowler pride themselves on scratch preparation of everything from the fresh roasted ham in the ham and bean soup to the bacon dressing on the spinach salad. That also includes the house-roasted turkey and homemade cranberry spread on the popular Thanksgiving Turkey sandwich, which is assembled on sage stuffing bread custom-baked for the restaurant by La Farm Bakery.
In the unlikely event that nothing on the extensive sandwich offering (which covers a varied spectrum from a grilled portobello sub to an open-faced extravaganza topped with slow-cooked pot roast made from an old family recipe), then you can create your own from a mix-and-match list. Or choose from an all-day breakfast offering that ranges from sausage and egg flatbread to Strawberry Blast smoothies. Peppers is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Maybe it isn't the sandwich itself that's the cause of your ennui, but the location.
In that case, you'll find relief in the small-town charm of Angier, where neighbors Tommy Swanson and James Burkhardt have teamed up to open a friendly little eatery, TJ's (333-E N. Raleigh St.; 331-2051). The menu is modest, but the burgers are hand-patted, the chili on the old-fashioned Southern red hot dogs is homemade, and the chicken wings are fresh, not frozen. No milkshakes, but it's a good bet Pepsi products are plentiful: Swanson works for the cola company by day.
TJ's is open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and it closes an hour later on Friday and Saturday nights.