ABOUT US AND OUR DURHAM SOCIAL

BEGINNINGS

It started with an idea, circa 1995.

The one idea (driven mostly by nostalgia and a longing for a bustling Main Street - the kind you see in vintage Golden Age Hollywood flicks or Federico Fellini's la Dolce Vita - where people from your Community gather and dress fine to celebrate Life daily, laugh out loud, tip hats to each other and sip Aperitivi, twirl tagliatelle or tap toes and cocktails while the band plays just one more song) opened the door to a bunch of other ideas...and before long, sleep was not an option.

The Idea?  Do SOMETHING Downtown. 

Things had crashed hard, as is the case with many city centers as cities grow. Urban sprawl happens, and the birthplace of communities get left behind.  Besides the financial institutions and a smattering of commercial businesses, we were faced with a shelled out ghost downtown left of late afternoon. Storefronts getting shuttered, services getting cut - and 5:00 on was cooked.  Sad and true - but that meant opportunity to us.

A lot of us were talking about doing something. Just do something that could grow into a movement –a crazy seed that could be a Piper’s Call to return to the birthplace of our city, where a new community district could be borne. Where friends are made and families are made tighter through the magic of breaking bread and pouring some good wine to go with it all. 

Something we could all enjoy and be proud of.  And if we failed, we'd have a helluva Downtown shack to live in....but that wasn't an option. So, we needed a plan.

WHAT

What could we offer?

Well, we knew how to treat people right, and we really knew how to cook up a feast - great Italian food, our first cultural love and birthright, would be our anchor and our platform. A heavy nod to our cultural roots, and the homespun, friendly hospitality we were taught to always extend to friends when they came into our homes…

FOOD

And then, nuances of rustic cooking and soul food from other lands and countries we’ve traveled and adventured through… the simple, quality soul food borne from the countrysides and taverns of old countries that’s welcome on a checkered tablecloth in a neighbourhood eatery, or on a white tablecloth in a trend-setting urban playground.

COMMUNITY

Yes, we thought, that would be it. Timeless flavours that speak to everyone – the food and drink of real people – equally at home on the tables of kings and carpenters, of Downtown Debutantes and Down Home Divas.

And of course for ourselves and our heritage and the old country we love so much.  That’s it, no pretense. Soul-food to the core.  

We’d build the kind of space, place and food that makes you wonder how just 3 or 4 ingredients, a cool soundtrack, and a space that’s pretty much out of the box could be so satisfying – with flavours that scream sharing and comfort and laughing out loud and really living.  And then of course, with the 5th ingredient of PASSION firmly woven into the mix – and everything from scratch – for each guest, every time. A tribute to our families, our friends from near and far, and a catalyst for bringing GOOD people together often, for a great time.  And a catalyst for change, community, and charity when called on - IN OUR DOWNTOWN.

NEAR TWENTY YEARS AFTER

Here we are – years down the road – living and still growing our dream with many great  Allies, Supporters and Friends on our side.  We're far from alone - and this Downtown we love has changed, is changing, and has a community behind it, just like we thought it would. Loving life every day and serving you with a smile and everything we’ve got.  And the story - still - is just beginning.

RESPECT IS BURNING, FRIENDS. 

EXCELSIOR.