I’ve written about life in a college town before, but did I mention that I didn’t move to Durham until after I graduated from the University of New Hampshire? When we first moved to Durham, we had our doubts – living in downtown Durham as an adult is weird. And, as it turns out, downright lovely. When the students leave in the spring, the quiet is peaceful and soothing, but in the fall, we’re happy to welcome them – and the fun, inspiring energy they bring – back to town.
Back in April, I wrote about one of our favorite things about Durham, its walkability, but I realized I haven’t spent nearly enough time talking about all the other reasons we love Durham, like the dozens of restaurants and coffee shops. We have a lot of favorites – my husband goes to The Juicery so often they gave him a free smoothie as a “thank you” and the folks at The Works Bakery and Café have my order memorized.
Hop + Grind is another one that is quickly climbing to the top of our list. Let’s start with the décor, which is an eclectic blend of vintage pieces, street signs and graffiti, and retro video games with some metal farm animals thrown in – it’s weird, it’s cool, and we dig it.
We wouldn’t keep going back if the food wasn’t mind-blowing, which of course it is, Hop + Grind is the brainchild of the head chef from The Tuckaway Tavern and Butchery in Raymond. The burgers at Hop + Grind are best described as wild. Unique recipes with bold, fresh flavors, and, it isn’t just beef – the burgers begin with a base of ground meat (beef, chicken, or pork) with flavors mixed right into the “grind”.
For example, the Hot Chick (my personal favorite) has blue cheese, onion, and hot sauce mixed right into the ground chicken. The fries are good, not that I am picky about fries, but I am picky about ketchup and theirs is worth writing about. For me, the best part is that the burgers come with, not a pickle, but a pickled green tomato! My husband isn’t a fan, but I am more than happy to eat his, too.
Finally, let’s not forget the beer! The bar at Hop + Grind serves difficult-to-find New Hampshire brews, so be prepared to try something you’ve never heard of. If you’re not a beer drinker, they also make their own homemade soda in interesting flavors like Raspberry Ricky, Ginger Mule, and Blueberry Mojito or a Malt (I recommend the Apple Crisp Malt, but to be fair, it’s the only one I’ve ever tried).
So, when the downtown eateries are full to the brim with college students, make your way to Hop + Grind where the vibe is a little more mature and the food is ridiculously mouth-watering.