Popular Durham food hall restaurant has reopened in historic dining space

Drew Jackson

When he was a kid growing up in Durham, chef Harry Monds’ birthday cakes came from the Lakewood neighborhood bakery Davis Baking Company.

This weekend, Monds opened his first full-scale restaurant in decades, debuting his Southern concept Lula & Sadie’s.

The restaurant is named for his grandmothers and is an expanded version of the menu he started in the Durham Food Hall in 2020.

“We really had no business doing what we were doing in the food hall,” Monds said of Lula & Sadie’s plated Southern dishes. “But we pulled it off. Now we’ve enhanced it and increased the menu.”

Lula & Sadie’s is open at 2022 Chapel Hill Rd. in Durham’s Lakewood neighborhood, reviving a space that’s now seen three restaurants in six years.

Previously it was The Lakewood, a full-scale restaurant from acclaimed baker Phoebe Lawless, which closed just weeks before being named one of Bon Appetit’s 50 best new restaurants of 2018. Then it became a second location for True Flavors Diner, the popular RTP brunch spot. After a two year run, that location closed in 2020 amid the COVID pandemic.

Monds was born in Brooklyn and grew up in Durham after his family moved to North Carolina when his father went to work for IBM.

Lulu & Sadie’s has expanded its menu

The new Lakewood Lula & Sadie’s serves an expanded menu from the food hall offerings, Monds said, estimating three times as many dishes. It will eventually have a full bar once ABC permitting is finalized.

The top sellers have made the journey across town, such as the Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich and red velvet waffles for brunch. Also expect a pimento cheese burger and a shareable beef shank served over mac and cheese, alongside fried, bacon-wrapped alligator sausage. Monds calls that dish “Thor’s Hammer.”

Inside, the dining room seats 60, plus 40 more in a bar section. There’s also a rooftop looking out over the Lakewood neighborhood that can seat another couple dozen.

“I really want this to be as inclusive to customers as I can be,” Monds said. “We’ll have a variety of proteins and options for as many people as we can, without going crazy.”

Monds has been in Durham’s dining scene for more than 30 years and opened his first restaurant, Thyme Table in 1997, in the middle of downtown in a space that’s now Bull McCabe’s. More recently he’s been a prominent caterer and ran the food truck Bull City Street Food before opening Lula & Sadie’s in the food hall.

“I’ve had my eye on this building for quite some time,” Monds said. “I remember it when it was Davis Baking Company. My parents would bring us here for a treat and get our birthday cakes.”

Next door, Monds is also taking over a shared kitchen space for a second concept. He declined to discuss specifics, but said the sister space will focus more on takeout and delivery and will likely deal in fried chicken.

“We’re looking forward to enjoying a good relationship with the neighborhood and also being a destination for diners from all over,” Monds said.

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.

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