Out by Route 55 in Durham you’ll find a small cafe and catering business named True Flavors! I had heard a bit of buzz about it through my network but there wasn’t a ton of visibility given its part catering business and has limited hours (closes at 2:30pm in general). But I really wanted to check it out and took a special trip out there for a work lunch which was well worth the effort. (7/11/21 Note: True Flavors is currently running two additional menus: Debbie Lou’s Biscuits and Street Grinders for online ordering and take-out only)
If you’re looking for True Flavors just be aware that it’s in a back corner of a quiet plaza, we stumbled on it nearly accidentally while getting lost! Big red signage in front, inside True Flavors has a nice open feel with a lot of sunshine and green for brightness. The place is busy already at noon time, I suspect they do more of a breakfast/early lunch type crowd here. There’s plenty of space to stretch out in and we get seated in a back corner with a friendly and enthusiastic waitress. But don’t miss the single seats by the kitchen where all the action happens!
Since we’re short on time, we put in our orders quickly for the Hot Bird chicken sandwich and a bacon-bourbon meatloaf that I had been stalking for a while! Yeah, I was checking out their menu for the last month or so and nothing would sway me from my plan. The food comes out REALLY quickly, in less that 10 minutes and closer to 5 which is great if you’re pressed for time. And it looks really impressive overall.
My meatloaf is hard to see under the gravy, bacon and greens but it’s sitting on some mashies along with some green beans! It’s a large portion for lunch but not close to the Hayes Barton Cafe which will coma you. I take a bite and it’s good, excellent meatloaf texture but not as much flavor in the meat. Taken as a whole with the mashies and beans it’s a good meal but fell a bit short on the flavor side for me. But at home I usually do a Cajun meatloaf which is loaded with peppers and spices so maybe my taste buds are tuned differently.
My table-mate’s TFD hot bird sandwich looks fantastic! A fried chicken breast with spicy sauce on brioche along with a wonderful stack of beer-battered onion rings, I’m a bit jealous of his choice but what the heck, maybe next time. Service through-out lunch is great and tempting, she asks about dessert but I’d actually like to be conscious back at the office this afternoon. So we head out of True Flavors, stuffed and happy, back to work! In the end, I think I may have picked the wrong lunch item but overall I think True Flavors is doing a good job and presenting a nice twist on diner food in a more gourmet setting. And yes, I’ll need to get back for visit two to understand how good this place is and you can bet I’m getting those onion rings!