Small Plates Crawl

Bringing people together around food and bringing restaurants together—that’s what it’s all about!

Every Thursday, restaurants and bars in the downtown Durham Loop come together to create the Small Plates Crawl. 

Each participating restaurant and bar features something special around small plates, though the exact format differs from place to place. Some venues highlight a special small plate, others offer discounts and some provide pairings from their bar. 

Participating Restaurants:

Come out on Thursday nights and move from place to place, walking through the downtown loop and sampling different small plates. Instead of having to choose among all the excellent options in the downtown loop, you now have a perfect excuse to say, ‘Yes, and.’ Visit your favorite spot, and try somewhere new, all in the same night!

Why was the crawl created?

The Small Plates Crawl was born out of a growing need from Durham’s downtown restaurants that have struggled to draw guests for dining in amidst a sharp decline in business due to concerns over Omicron, winter storms and the seasonal cold that reduces demand for outdoor dining. 

Downtown restaurant owners, chefs and managers have raised the alarm recently about how little time they have left if business doesn’t turn around quickly. In a recent meeting with elected officials, a number of local business owners made it clear that they’ll run out of funding within months and will be forced to shut their doors forever if something doesn’t change fast. The closures would result in hundreds of local jobs lost, many of which are held by Durham residents. 

The Small Plates Crawl is one way businesses seek to address the urgent need. The event will draw diners downtown and encourage them to get comfortable with dining in again. 

Several participating businesses have pointed out that vaccinations, anti-viral medications, testing and clear CDC guidelines all provide a level of protection against COVID-19 that our community didn’t have in 2020. Many of the participating businesses have been safely serving dine-in guests since 2020. They are confident they can continue to do so amidst the new variants, especially given Durham’s high vaccination rate. A number of the participating restaurants and bars also require proof of vaccination for dining in. 

Diners are encouraged to follow #smallplatesdowntowndurham on Instagram to learn more about the Small Plates Crawl and keep up with the weekly offerings. 

For more information or further comment about the Small Plates Crawl, contact Elizabeth Turnbull at [email protected] or Don Fisher at [email protected]