Shrimp & Grits at the Hilton Garden Inn Durham, NC

The Hilton Garden Inn Durham/Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina is a busy hub of guests who range from business folks, to vacationers, to families with a Duke University connection. Located between Duke, the university hospital, and the trendy section of Durham, the hotel, with its cheery welcoming lobby complete with its 24/7 coffee and tea station and water infused with lemon slices, offers a central location and a restful stay to anyone looking to explore the Durham/Chapel Hill/Raleigh region. Without much time for exploring the area, we were looking for a great meal. We found it right at the hotel.

Shrimp and grits are a local specialty

The Garden Grille & Bar restaurant’s menu includes a North Carolina favorite–shrimp and grits. I leaned toward local and ordered it. Splendid. The grits laced with the right amount of cheese was formed into a perfect round and lightly fried formed the base for the sumptuous scrimp inspired sculpture. Pretty food with flavor that wows. I’d come here again just for this dish. Plus, the ambiance of the restaurant bar combo blends enough sophistication with hip to create a made for visiting hang out place. Our table was next to the large gas powered fireplace with the bar in the background. We lingered long enough to make room for desert and another glass of wine which I imagine happens a lot. The wait staff was accommodating and leisurely in their approach which gave us the impression that our hanging out was no big deal.

Photographs reflect the North Carolina location

The rest of the hotel has a laid back, friendly vibe as well, and the framed nature photographs of the first floor hallway reflect the hotel’s North Carolina location. Visiting spots are plentiful in the lounge area connected to the Garden Grill & Bar. The indoor pool and well-appointed fitness room are also on the ground floor which makes keeping track of friends and family who might be staying as part of a group easier. You can pop by the lounge for a chat before heading for a workout or a swim.

Guest rooms are as tasteful as the rest of the hotel and reflect the gold tones of the lobby. The rooms that range from king bed to two queen beds to suites include: 42 inch HDTV with HBO in the cable menu, a Keurig coffee maker, a microwave, refrigerator, and WiFi. Monday-Friday, the amenities include a copy of USA Today.

A place to visit near the restaurant, bar and reception

In the morning, the Garden Grille turns into a place to settle in for breakfast from the made-to-order menu. There’s also the Pavillon Pantry, the small convenience style store in the lobby that has grab-and-go style food. Several items can be heated in a guest room microwave.

Room rates start at $137 and can be booked from the Hilton Garden Inn’s website. It can also be booked on Priceline, Hotels.com or other booking sites.

Post and photos courtesy of Jamie Rhein

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