Primal Food & Spirits
202 West N.C. Hwy. 54
Durham, NC 27713Neighborhood:
AmericanPrice: $30 and under
Primal Food & Spirits
- Dining Style: Casual Elegant
- Website: http://www.primalfoodandspirits.com/
- Phone: (919) 248-3000
- Hours of Operation:
Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday : 5:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m Sunday: 5:00 p.m. - 9:00pm Sunday Brunch: 11-2 p.m.
- Payment Options: AMEX,Diners Club,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
- Cuisine: American
- Executive Chef: Tim Lyons
- Dress Code: Casual Dress
- Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
- Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Happy Hour, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Private Room, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access
- Private Party Facilities: Private Dining available for your event.
- Private Party Contact: Adam Greene 9192483000
- Special Events: Happy hour at the bar every night 5-7 p.m $4-$7 apps.
every wednesday at the bar 1/2 off cool-water oysters/ $5 prosecco on draft
A word from Primal Food & Spirits
Farm to fork, locally sourced, Wood-fired, Gluten Free.Continued
Foodspotting photosSee all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
- Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
- Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
- Diners' Choice WinnerAmerican
Primal Food & Spirits - Best Restaurants in Durham ›
Primal Food & Spirits reviews from OpenTable diners
99 reviews since July 27, 2014
- Ambiance3.9Noise LevelModerate
fit for foodies (73)neighborhood gem (43)good for groups (30)special occasion (20)great for outdoor dining (15)hot spot (13)romantic (12)notable wine list (11)kid-friendly (8)great for brunch (7)vibrant bar scene (3)great for lunch (2)late-night find (2)Show More
- Gluten freeTomMVIPDined on 11/21/2014Our overall impression is that the food is good but odd for the burger to have only gluten free option. The ambience is literally and figuratively cold. Hard surfaces everywhere in a strip mall makes it feel like a converted Chick fil a.
- Good food but, too noisyHushpuppyDined on 11/15/2014Four of us had dinner and we enjoyed our food. Only problem was the restaurant is too noisy. This made it hard to carry on a conversation with our friends. It would be great if they added some noise reducing surfaces like carpet or ceiling tiles. No fun when you go to dinner with friends and feel like your shouting all night to be heard.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- RJRJVIPDined on 11/14/2014Food was very good. Space looks great after renovation. Good variety on the menu.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- a hidden gemlalaDined on 11/7/2014From the outside it doesn't exactly catch you eye unless you're looking for it, but once inside it is amazing. Fantastic meals and inventive drinks. This is a regular spot for me now!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Primal WaitJuddVIPDined on 11/1/2014We had not been here before and found specifically using Open Table. We arrived 10-15 minutes before reservation and seated right away; the host was welcoming. Taken to the back room adjacent to the kitechen-not as appealing as the main dining room. The server's family was at an adjacent table and he kept going over and kissing his baby while he was working which was kind of wierd. I think he must have been preoccupied since our drink and meal order were lost. We received drinks about 35 minutes after we arrived and our first course about one hour after we arrived. When they realized the error, they did comp us a free deviled egg appetizer and gave us an extra round of drinks on the house after we politely complained about the wait.Special Features:
- Terrific Gluten-Free Restaurant!drmanonDined on 10/28/2014How great is it for a celiac to be able to order a basket of bread and butter before their meal!! The food and service were excellent. I went with my daughter for my birthday. We had the octopus and bacon wrapped dates for appetizers (with the bread basket, of course) and a glass of Prosecco on tap. the Prosecco was okay, but not as fizzy as out of a fresh bottle. We both ordered Beef Short Ribs and shared a side of brussel sprouts and a sweet potato - all were very tasty and melt in your mouth tender, the only complaint about those is I was wanting some sauce with it and nothing was offered. For dessert we split a coconut ice cream and poached pear. We left very full and happy and will certainly go back, perhaps to try brunch.Special Features:
- Great for celiac sufferersBlueLadyDined on 10/25/2014Wonderful to order from menu with no limits. Extremely noisy. Server was nice but a bit slow to begin with. No choice in menu for vegans.I would recommend this to a friend.
- decentDurhamDinerDined on 10/25/2014The waiter was pleasant and attentive. The kitchen was slow. Appetizers were small and expensive - one and a half deviled eggs, really? Six slices, tops, of gluten-free bread and a smidgen of herbed butter, $6 if I remember correctly. Main dishes were well prepared and tasty when they finally came, and good sized. Side dishes, including a vegetable or potatoes, are ordered separately and expensive. $4-$5 for fries, which were basically one potato cut into large wedges and roasted. Farm-to-table is more expensive and worth it, I get that, but including a veggie choice with the main dish would give a better sense of value to the diner. No coke/pepsi products, which is fine, but how about iced tea? For diabetics, a sugar-free soda?Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- A lot of expectationNatansiegel2Dined on 10/24/2014Heard many good things about primal but honestly my brisket and wild rice pilaf were SOOO bland it was extremely disappointed. The appetizers though were really good... Arepas and the dates.Special Features:
- hungryincarrboroDined on 10/21/2014Excellent gluten free restaurant. I had 3 appetizers all were very good, the bacon wrapped dates and small salad were amazing. My friend tried the Kale cocktail, which she loved and wants to recreate at home. Interior design was very nice, clean, simple and welcoming. I have several gluten-free friends and we will be back here soon. The menu is well rounded, portions were above average. Happy to have this new choice in dining options.Special Features:
- Hopefully they'll get there83bluedevilDined on 10/19/2014A primal/paleo restaurant is a great idea. However, it would be much more fair at this point to call Primal Food a gluten-free restaurant, not a primal restaurant. Not that there isn't plenty of food on the menu that's primal -- there is. But the addition of lots of corn and rice in many dishes undermines the primal branding. There are certainly gray areas in labeling foods as primal, but adding grains is not one of them (see Mark's Daily Apple for details). However, there was plenty to order that was entirely grain-free. We tried the bone marrow and the pork belly appetizers, both of which were excellent. However, the entrees were not nearly as good, and the food took FOREVER (well over an hour) even early on Sunday p.m. Needs work.
- great choiceOwenDined on 10/18/2014So happy to see another option for farm to table dining. Great dishes all around. Definitely will be back.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great meal with friendspenguin74Dined on 10/12/2014The butternut squash soup and grilled romaine were outstanding. The chocolate torte was a bit dry, but the french press coffee was excellent. We all enjoyed our entrees (short ribs, salmon, veggie lasagne). Nice atmosphere. We'll be back.Special Features:
- Not quite there yetFoodindurhamDined on 10/10/2014Steak tasted and looked like it had been microwaved. $6.00 for bread is excessive. Long wait for cocktails and food. Appetizers were great.Special Features:
- First time, but not the lastloveBullCitydiningDined on 10/8/2014My wife and I went there for our fourth anniversary. The staff were friendly and took good care of us (they did NOT know it was or anniversary). The food was delicious and the available spirits were impressive. I will say that service was a comfortable pace. We weren't in hurry which was a good thing. Not sure if this is regular or just happened this particular evening. Overall, my wife and I enjoyed ourselves and will be back at some point in time. A very pleasant southern Durham dining experience.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Have to try more!RussoDined on 10/5/2014Definitely enjoyed brunch here with some friends. The food was good, and service was professional. Wasn't sure what to expect when we booked here, but happy we did. Will be returning to give some more items on the menu a shot. Looking forward to seeing it become a well known gem in the neighborhood.Special Features:
- Enjoyable dinner experiencelgmahDined on 10/1/2014Third trip to Primal, and best experience yet. Wednesday night (bar only) has an Oyster and Bubbles special... half off oysters on the half shell, and $5 Prosecco drafts. We had both. Tasty. We shared a grilled romaine salad that had a greek yogurt dressing, bacon that tasted candied, and the romaine was cooked perfectly. For dinner, I had the vegetable lasagna, because a friend recommended it. She did not steer me wrong. It was soooo good. My husband had the tri tip steak with a side of mushrooms. He said it was great. The past 2 times, we felt the food was pretty good, but a bit overpriced for the portion sizes. This time, we thought the food was excellent, and appropriate pricing for the amount of food. Truly a great experience!Special Features:
- Excellent New FindOpenTable Diner Since 2005VIPDined on 9/28/2014Truly loved having dinner here and went back for the Sunday brunch and took two friends along. We all loved the food, the service and the atmosphere. Love the fact that restaurant is completely gluten free as well - and offers gluten free options that you would never know are gluten free. Truly a great addition to this part of DurhamSpecial Features:
- Good foodNeuroMitchVIPDined on 9/27/2014Even though I am not a particular fan of the gluten free craze (except for those with a medical gluten intolerance) the food and presentation are excellent. Friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Plenty of options for many palates. This was our second time at the restaurant.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Average foodJazzyDined on 9/21/2014My husband is Paleo and we came to Primal to celebrate his birthday. We both really wanted to like this restaurant - however because of rushed food service and mediocre food (that come at fine dining prices) - we cannot recommend this place! Appetizer: I ordered the deviled eggs - they obviously were prepared well ahead of time as they were dry and crusty! Eric ordered a salad which he loved Mains: I ordered the chicken balsamic thighs - again they were steamed or cooked ahead of time and then flash grilled - the texture was mushy. Eric ordered a steak - it was fine. However all of our side dishes were cold or room temperature! Desserts: by far the stand out - we both ordered chocolate torte which was divine.Special Features:
- Great for Gluten FreeGreatfoodjunkieDined on 9/20/2014Really good Gluten Free selections... very congenial service, even though a bit slow. Crab Cakes/Slaw were a delight and well worth the wait!! Great selection of wines, GF beers and ciders. We will return!!Special Features:
- A Keeper!TravelerDined on 9/17/2014The minute you walk in and see the stacks of wood,smell the wood smoke - you know you are in for a very interesting experience. The wait staff was very personable, knowledgeable, and attentive. The wine list was very interesting and many wines were new to me - I never knew that Austria produced a Savignon Blanc! We both ordered the grilled romaine salad - it was good, but the presentation could have used more finesse. I ordered the short ribs which were rich and succulent. My friend ordered the tri tips; they were full of flavor but just a little too chewy for our taste. We shared a wonderful raspberry sorbet which was smooth and velvety. Primal lived up to its Durham Magazine review and I would definitely go back again.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Growing PainsDominicDined on 9/16/2014Great concept - Gluten Free- love the idea. However Primal needs to work on how the food is cooked and the service needs to be improved. Only in business 2 months so I would say they are doing good but room for improvement. Owner needs to be a bit more lively/enthusiastic with his customers.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Growing PainscladavDined on 9/12/2014Primal is a new restaurant that feels new. It's ambitions are high but it's delivery is awkward. The food was ambitious and fell a bit short. The crab cake appetizer was a bit heavy though the slaw accompanying it was light and delightful. The wood grilled pork chop was perfectly cooked yet lacked seasoning to give it some needed pizazz. The cabbage and bacon was just watery and boring. Fine food, not great. As a diner suffering from Celiac Disease, I totally appreciate the gluten free approach. However Primal should not be considered or judged as a gluten free eatery but rather as a fine restaurant that happens not to serve gluten. We'll return in a few months to see if it matures well.Special Features:
- LoudMWFlidDined on 9/6/2014Just really really loud. Just really really loud. Just really really loud.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great eveningnancyDined on 9/4/2014Live in the Hope Valley area & dine out once or twice a week.Trying to brand out to new restaurants. We made a list of new Durham restaurants and Primal was among them. Invited friends from Chapel Hill ( they know the best restaurants in the Triangle are in Durham) to join us. While they were skeptical about a gluten-free menu, we convinced them it would be a gastronomic adventure. Food and service were excellent & have already recommended to others. Great to have so many restaurants in Durham and nice that not to have to in the direction of downtown to reach them all. We will be back to Primal and will continue to recommend to others. HV and Woodcroft residents - consider Primal your neighborhood restaurant.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Deb LoBiondoDeanDebSaysDined on 8/31/2014Primal is an excellent addition to the Durham food scene. All gluten free food is a wonderful concept with a fresh unique flavor. The hickory and oak wood fire heating adds another special element. From the mixed green salad with spiced almonds and shaved coconut to the savory salmon special with a roasted bacon-tomato topping was outstanding! Finished with a flourless chocolate torte and fresh peach sorbet with presse coffee made the dining experience complete. I look forward to trying brunch!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- excellent findOpenTable Diner Since 2014Dined on 8/30/2014We had a great meal. The food was all excellent, especially the bacon wrapped dates. It was wonderful to know the kitchen was truly gluten-free. My husband was able to order anything and not worry about being "glutenized.". My only minor complaint was that the service was a bit slow, especially considering the restaurant wasn't very busy.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- TheOpenTablePoetVIPDined on 8/24/2014Primal serves food gluten free, which is not a problem for me. But expert execution, that's worth attribution, makes us return just about weekly.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Working out the kinksBCinBCDined on 8/24/2014We had brunch on their first day serving brunch. I love everything this restaurant stands for and I will definitely be returning. This particular morning, the food generally came out to the table cold, so although the flavor and presentation were great, temp not so good. I always give new restaurants some time to work out the kinks so I would not avoid this place at any cost!! I absolutely LOVE the fact that I can look at a menu and know that I can eat anything on it! This is a gluten-free restaurant, the first that I have every heard of so they get lots of wiggle room from me!! Prices at this moment are extremely reasonable.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Awesome 100% gluten-free restaurantGFdinerDined on 8/24/2014Primal will not disappoint. This was about my fourth time there. We went for their first Sunday brunch. There was a great selection of items for brunch. Everything we had was delicious!Special Features:
- Wonderful Experience!!OpenTable Diner Since 2012Dined on 8/23/2014It was so nice to not have to think about what had gluten in it or not! The food was AMAZING! Also- the Shisho Mojito was very different and delicious. The only thing I was disappointed by was that we made a note on the reservation that it was my birthday but they did not mention it. We will definitely be back!!!Special Features:
- Allergy FriendlyFoodLadyDined on 8/23/2014My girls are allergic to gluten, dairy & soy. What a delight for them to be able to eat almost everything....and it was great too. They were able to eat the bread and cake...so exciting for them. very pricey, would like to make this our to go to restaurant, but can't at these pricesSpecial Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Wonderful meal!lovingfreedomVIPDined on 8/23/2014We loved the grass fed burgers and the GF bun was so tasty. The sauteed kale was a bit spicy and delicious. To top it all off, we loved the house made berry sorbet.Special Features:
- Amazing Food!paulaDined on 8/22/2014This is a great, urban farm to table restaurant. The interior is very urban renewal with tables made from reclaimed wood, cement floors, and cords of cut wood as decoration. The wait staff is very friendly and attentive. This is a casual restaurant where even the staff wears t-shirts and jeans. The food is simply amazing, but be prepared as fresh cooked takes a few minutes longer to get to your table. It's definitely worth the wait. Every bite was a bit of heaven. Best crab cakes I've ever had. The heirloom tomato and watermelon salad should not be missed. The flourless chocolate cake for dessert made me moan in appreciation.Special Features:
- South Durham Foodies rejoice!GrumpyVIPDined on 8/22/2014At last, you don't have to venture up 147 to enjoy a non-chain, locally-sourced meal fitting of a NY Times review. We'll be back!Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great FindlanikailivingDined on 8/21/2014Primal is located at the end of a strip center. Wonderful concept, combining farm to table with gluten-free. I loved being able to order anything on the menu without asking lots of questions. Everything we tried was fabulous. Deviled Eggs, Pork belly confit and crabcakes for starters; We ate the swordfish special, the tri tip and the short ribs. Everything was well-seasoned, interesting and cooked to perfection. For dessert we had the flourless chocolate torte, coconut ice cream and berry tart. It was hard to pick a favorite. The service was impeccable. We never ran out of water which was good as some of the dishes had a little heat. It is definitely worth finding your way here. We'll be back next time we are in Durham.Special Features:
- Not Paleo - Not FoodiePaleoFoodieDined on 8/20/2014Being Gluten-free and with a name like Primal, I imagined it to be a low-allergen restaurant, it is not. Like most restaurants, I could find things I could eat, but there is lots of dairy used and the bread has corn flour. It is expensive. I got several appetizers and side dishes and they were good, but not 'fit for foodies'. The kale salad was large pieces of kale with a lemon juice dressing of sorts. Boring and not particularly tasty. The shredded squash (called squash noodles) was very salty. If it was half the price, I would still probably go there maybe once a month, but the prices and quality are not in-line.
- Really Great SpotNotMeDined on 8/16/2014We arrived late for our reservation - as well as dinner altogether. The whole staff made us feel like it was no big deal - all other tables cleared before we finished our cocktails. The entire staff stayed, acted like we were welcome, and went out of their way to make sure we were happy with our meal. Our meal was great. Just-right portions, unique preparation, and ... Yum! I also had brought home take-out earlier in the week and it was also yummy.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.
- Great food and Great serviceChillg8rDined on 8/16/2014We really enjoyed our meal here. I had the pork chop and it was very nice. My wife had a swordfish steak and it was excellent. The chocolate torte for desert was delightful! Best of all was that the service was spot on. It seems like a very well run restaurant. We will definitely return.Special Features:I would recommend this to a friend.