One of my unexpectedly favorite things on Endangered Durham has been the Mystery Photo - you all have blown me away with your identification skills. I decided to put together a fun mystery / scavenger hunt to celebrate the launch of Open Durham that combines two of my favorite things: food and history.
For a 'foodie town,' there is remarkably little written history of Durham's old restaurants - while we've branched into a culinary diversity that wasn't available in mid-20th century Durham, there aren't any more restaurants per square mile in Durham than there were in the 1950s - a quick perusal of a 1960 city directory yields a surprisingly long list of eating establishments - most of which had disappeared by the 1970s.
In an effort to get us in touch with our culinary roots, I'm putting you to the test; for the next two weeks, beginning Monday 10/3, I'll be releasing clues every day on here, Facebook, and Twitter to see if you can find the restaurant. The places will be marked with an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper that looks like the above. You can use the QR code or the web address on the sheet of paper to see the entry on the new Open Durham site.
On October 15th, the hunt will be complete - email me your full list of guesses by the end of that weekend. On October 22, I'll lead a tour of the places, tentatively at 2pm, and tentatively with some local chef(s) offering their thoughts on the historic food (not food past the due date) of Durham. Everyone who comes will get an Open Durham button, and those who got every answer right will get an ExtraSpecialOpenDurham Button as well to show off their superior Durham knowledge.
My hope is that, as the hunt progresses, people will gather stories about the restaurants for the day of the tour. If you have a friend or a relative who knows something about it, or ate at the restaurant, bring them, or bring their story. We'll collect the info to be a part of Open Durham, and thus part of our historical record. The week between end-of-building hunt and the tour is so everyone will know all of the answers and be able to get around to visit their mom or uncle or neighbor and convince them to come and share their stories, or simply to convey it for them when you come.
I think and hope this will be a lot of fun, and that we'll all learn a lot about Durham's food history. I hope you enjoy it!