Anne Niemann, owner of Bull Street Gourmet & Market in Durham, NC has done something few have done before: bring classic New York-style food to the South. Equal parts Yankee and Southerner, Niemann opened up Bull Street Gourmet & Market after moving to Durham and longing for a welcoming place to get a great cup of joe and a healthy, fresh meal.
"When designing Bull Street, I wanted to create a welcoming environment where everyone would feel at home," Niemann says. "Our walls are covered with photos of our two families; my husband is one of 11 children, so between our two families, we have 38 nieces and nephews. The ladies' room walls have framed photos of all the girls in the family and the men's room has, you guessed it, photos of the boys."
The welcoming environment comes across through more than just photos on the walls, however. Niemann equipped her restaurant with different styles of seating, including a picnic-style farm table, banquettes with cushion seating and big pillows, café tables that can be pushed together or kept separate, counter seating, and a lounge with a couch and chairs, giving more of the feeling of a friend's home than of a restaurant.
Niemann has adopted a family-style ideology not only for her décor, but also for her food. She insists that people should know where their food comes from, even listing the farms they use and what they purchase from each farm on the restaurant's website. The company website explains that the restaurant was founded "on the goal of using local foods and turning them into menu items our customers will love!"
The menu is exactly the length right for a locally owned and operated restaurant that relies on regional goods. Each menu item is simple, not overwhelmed with ingredients, and keeps the style and flavors fresh but bold. Niemann says popular dishes include their Avocado Toast with your choice of bread with avocado spread on top and cracked red pepper, all topped with a fried egg! If you have more of a sweet tooth try their gooey and decadent butter cake. This menu doesn't hold back from pleasing the masses: from breakfasts ranging from light to heavy, to gluten free baked goods and vegetarian dishes, Bull Street Gourmet & Market has something for everyone.
The market side of the shop carries wine, nut butters, james, honey, jarred vegetables, cheeses, toffee, dog treats, soaps and lotions, to name just a few. To top it all off, Niemann offers "heat & eat dinners" that patrons can pick up to go and have dinner on their table for their families in minutes.
This New York-Southern girl has brought a lighter side to the South. Niemann's establishment unites two notoriously delicious regions in one place. If you're in the Charleston area, visit their sister store on 120 King Street to try some of his signature items such as the Bull Street Chicken Salad and the Turkey and Brie sandwich (sold at both locations).
"You may think [these] two 'breeds' are diametrically opposed, but New Yorkers love a good cup of coffee, a good deli sandwich, a friendly place where everyone knows your name," Niemann says. "While Southerners might prefer sweet tea to coffee, and pimento cheese or chicken salad to a deli sandwich, both definitely like a cozy neighborhood place where everyone knows your name and where you'll likely bump into friends and neighbors. Marry these two things together and you get Bull Street Gourmet & Market!"