In the spirit of the American diner, but tailored to modern tastes and flair, Jack Tar & the Colonel’s Daughter opened Tuesday on the ground floor of the Unscripted Hotel in downtown Durham.
This is the third restaurant from the owners of Pizzeria Toro and fine dining bistro Littler, Gray Brooks, his wife, Cara Stacy, and business partner Jay Owens.
As any diner would, Jack Tar will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week, serving the same menu all day.
Breakfast items range from biscuits and gravy to smoked salmon eggs Benedict, pancakes, omelettes and grain bowls. Sandwiches include a “turducken” sausage, a fried oyster banh mi, a lord-have-mercy pastrami cheese steak.
The snack game features fried sage leaves with anchovy aioli, lamb meatball sliders and a poutine. Larger plates are led by Szechuan peppercorn hot chicken, joining two hemispheres of spice around fried chicken.
“It’s kind of a beast of a menu, running the entire thing all day long,” Brooks said. “That’s sort of the point of a diner, though, being able to have a cheeseburger at seven in the morning, or an omelette at eleven at night.”
The dining room features sleek wood and large windows looking out to the heart of downtown. The kitchen is out in the open, a diner prerequisite a la the Waffle House, surrounded by high swivel chairs.
Brooks said the restaurant will start with nightly dinner specials and add weekend brunch options in a few weeks. Durham chef David Alworth will be in charge of the kitchen, joining Jack Tar after eight years at Guglhupf.
Jack Tar will bake its own bread, from the buns of its double cheeseburger, to sweet Hawaiian rolls served with diner.
“We love the fact that when you get toast, you can know that is arrived here as a bag of flour,” Brooks said.
Jack Tar, at 202 Corcoran St., joins the Pour Taproom, a bar with self-pouring taps next door, on the first floor of the sleek hotel. The restaurant provided small plates this summer when the bar opened.
On the other side of the building, Neomonde Deli is opening its first Durham location.
Drew Jackson; 919-829-4707; @jdrewjackson