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Dishin' Out Durham: Burgers and Fries and Fro-Yo, Oh My!

Dinner and dessert. It’s a simple concept, but it’s one that’s decidedly difficult to find on-campus…especially for fewer than ten dollars. Just think about it. What options do we have that leave us full and satisfied to the hilt with nutritive goodness? At Duke, finding a casual, affordable dining environment proves to be quite the ordeal. But the second we dare to step away from the Duke bubble and venture into the mysterious land of Durham, an entirely new gastronomical world opens up to us.

This weekend, some friends and I stumbled across Durham’s crown jewel of reasonably priced dinner and dessert: a juicy burger at Only Burger followed by fro-yo at Tutti Frutti. Housed in Shannon Place, a quaint shopping plaza enveloped by an endless maze of beautiful ivy, both Only Burger and Tutti Frutti are located just under four miles from West Campus. Make that a little over five from East.

As many restaurants around the Bull City are often wont to do, Only Burger started off as a food truck. In fact, the Only Burger food truck often frequents Duke’s Campus, especially during big events like sporting games and festivals like LDOC. Following the truck’s unstoppable success, owner Brian Bottger decided to expand his business by opening up a permanent location. And my how the people in the Triangle have loved it. In 2011, readers of the Independent Weekly voted Only Burger Best Burger in Durham County, Best Food Truck in the Triangle, and Best Fries in the Triangle.

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So it’s no secret that Only Burger is a local favorite. The restaurant’s tagline reads, “Only Burger…when only the best will do.” I asked employees what makes an Only Burger “the best.” The secret, it seems, lies in the high-end quality of the beef. Leaner than most, the meat used in the restaurant hails from the Piedmontese cattle breed of Montana. However, beef isn’t the only meat served at the restaurant. Only Burger knows its clientele, and offers scrumptious turkey and vegetarian burger options as well.

When I asked about the most popular items on the menu, employees wasted no time in mentioning the fries, which when cooked twice and seasoned with salt and pepper, provide the perfect complement for their burgers. Employees also highlighted their specials, like the Carolina Burger, which comes loaded with house made slaw and chili, and the Fried Green Tomato Burger, which boasts its namesake fried green tomato along with an egg and pimento cheese. Employees lamented the sad fate of students who rely on the food truck, as these signature items are unique to the restaurant.

My burger and order of fries rang in at six dollars. Six dollars. I cannot remember the last time I enjoyed the luxury of a wholesome meal (especially on-campus) for just six dollars. Customers can choose to add cheese and extra toppings to their burger at a minimal price ($0.50-$1), but each burger comes loaded with condiments, lettuce, tomato, and onion included in the price. That’s not a bad deal for college student operating on a budget. Not a bad deal at all.

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Once we finished dinner, my friends and I craved something sweet. So we ventured just a little ways down the shopping plaza to Tutti Frutti, a haven for self-serve frozen yogurt enthusiasts like ourselves. We were immediately struck by the variety of flavors available to us. Tutti Frutti offers over twenty flavors, even more if we count the rotating, seasonal favorites. From original tart to pumpkin pie and soy based, gluten free flavors, there is sure to be a flavor for everyone.

Just as my friends and I wandered into Tutti Frutti in search of something sweet, so do many other consumers who grab dinner at Only Burger. Tutti Frutti employees explained that their customers have trouble juggling their Only Burger beverage cups and their Tutti Frutti cups as they attempt to fill the latter with fro-yo and top it off with any combination of toppings. With the price for the frozen treat remaining a steadfast $0.44/lb regardless of fro-yo and topping selection, there is no telling what crazy, affordable concoctions consumers produce.

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All in all, dinner and dessert becomes simple, affordable, and relaxed at the eateries of Shannon Place. With no dearth of feel-good vibes and comfortable seating, both in and out-of-doors, Only Burger and Tutti Frutti promise consumers a deliciously affordable and simple night. Come here for a cozy date or just for a chill night with friends. But no matter what the purpose, Duke students are sure to encounter a good time and good eats at Only Burger and Tutti Frutti.

Only Burger Website:

Tutti Frutti Website:

Directions from West Campus to Shannon Place:














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