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“Would have been a 5, except for lousy bar service”
Review of Watts Grocery

Watts Grocery
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Ranked #46 of 819 Restaurants in Durham
Price range: US$20 - US$25
Cuisines: American, Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special Occasion Dining, Business meetings, Local cuisine, Bar Scene, Romantic
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Dinner, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Dining
Cross street: Club Blvd
Reviewed 28 August 2017

My wife and I went to this restaurant for dinner yesterday. We were seated promptly, and our server showed up quickly. My wife and I both ordered cocktails. It took FOREVER to get our drinks. At one point the server came over to take our order, and she said "I'm still waiting for your drinks", to which I replied "So are we" in a mildly annoyed tone. We waited and waited, and then our appetizer arrived. So did our drinks, finally. We were leisurely sharing an appetizer when our entrees arrived! The food came too fast, the drinks WAY too slow.

To be fair, once they arrived the drinks were excellent, as was the appetizer. My wife RAVED about her entree, the crabmeat-stuffed flounder. My steak was just OK -- a lot of gristle and kind of salty, but not terrible. On the basis of the food, I'd give this place a 5, but they need to hire a competent bartender, or ideally a second bartender, to improve their bar service.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank joerusnak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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21 - 25 of 295 reviews

Reviewed 13 August 2017

Probably fourth visit to Watts, so it is time I got around to writing a review. First time for brunch, which had a lot of great choices. Recommend the flying pepper bloody mary if you like pepper. The fried chicken on an open faced biscuit with sausage gravy was very good, and my wife enjoyed the fried shrimp cobb salad. Anna was an excellent waitress, and the staff was very friendly. We have enjoyed all of our visits.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Jim N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 July 2017

I've been here 3x and it's always been VERY delicious and fresh, locally sourced. a yummy twist on southern food. the menu is fairly small and rotates so check online before you go!

also it's about $60-70 for 2 people, which is a bit more than I am used to paying! If you can splurge a little, it's worth going to.

Thank Anasoma
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2017

I hadn't eaten at Watts Grocery in quite a number of years. It was a favorite when it first opened and then somehow got pushed off the list. And with all of the new restaurants opening downtown it is easy to forget about Watts Grocery. But you shouldn't. Watts Grocery delivers food that is just as good with less hype and much less pretention. And actually has its own parking lot.
The restaurant, as the name implies, was once a neighborhood grocery store. It is very much updated, but retains an intimate, homey feel. The front of the restaurant has a long comfortable upholstered bench that runs against one wall. There are a number of tables in the bar area, and a few tables outside on the front porch. There is a larger area in the back with more tables. I have only sat in the back area once, but didn't like it. The front seems cozier and livelier. It was very quiet on a Friday night in the summer. There were only a few of us in the restaurant so I can't judge the noise level. But my guess is that it isn't too bad.

There were five of us for dinner and everyone gave it a thumbs up. I didn't taste everything but there were some standout items for me. I ordered the Tea Brined Pork Tenderloin which was outstanding. I ordered it because one of my dining companions remembered it being good from five years ago -- and it is memorably good. I had the Seared Sesame Tuna as an appetizer that I would say was average. Not bad, but pretty much like every other seared tuna dish you've ever had. We ordered several additional sides to share. We had a fried shrimp/calamari/catfish appetizer that was fine. Solid but not amazing. We had the mac n' cheese and were divided in our opinion. It depends how you like your mac n' cheese. I like mine with crunch on top and on the dry side -- this one is rich and creamy. So not to my taste, but others loved it.
Finally we also had the Collard Greens which were really excellent. Lots of southern inspired restaurants serve collard greens and try as I might to like them, they often don't hit home with me, a transplanted Yankee. But these collards had a special sauce -- I don't mean that literally, but the flavoring was different, and they added some tomatoes. It was delicious. Highly recommend.
The service was friendly but could use some fine-tuning. The wait staff definitely did not have a real grasp of the menu. On the other hand she bent over backwards in dividing our bill down to who had what rather than a simple division of five. We were perfectly willing to go the simpler route but she volunteered to divide based on consumption which was unusual and appreciated.
I thought the cost of dinner was very reasonable given the quality. While Watts Grocery is out of the downtown orbit it shouldn't be out of yours. The chef says her restaurant aspires to be a neighborhood restaurant that others can call home -- and I think she has succeeded.

    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Holly R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 June 2017 via mobile

Delicious! Shrimp 'n grits and fried green tomato sandwich yumminess. Small menu but great southern food.

Thank mab7150
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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