Insects and the City

Your Lunch Plans Tomorrow
by Amanda Giddon -- October 9th, 2012

The cobalt recycling bin disagrees with the olive accents of the apartment and its cream-colored throws. The reusable thermos does not fit comfortably in this fall’s newest oversized clutch. Powering down the cell phone at night dooms you to social irrelevance. Suede pumps are made of animal skin? WHAT?! Time and time again we are confronted with the classic prisoners-to-fashion dilemma. Fortunately for the residents of Durham, some local heroes have solved the enduring crisis.

Restaurant and gift shop Parker and Otis is our site in shining armor.

Parker and Otis’s eclectic merchandise and cuisine attracts patrons of equally assorted backgrounds: the Duke undergrad that needs to show off to the parents that his or her tastes are not reflected by receipts from consecutive nights of late-night fast-food; the Duke graduate student who saved years for a car and upon purchasing it, still finds his or herself eating at Parker and Otis daily, a walk from east campus; a family new to Durham, who is fervently checking restaurants off of their Zagat’s list, Durham edition. Techies, artists and musicians, customers have their dissimilarities. However, they are tied together like mid-calf lace up boots by one striking similarity — great taste.

Parker and Otis was among one of the first conservation-chic restaurants to open in downtown historic Durham, following the arrival of pioneer Rue Cler. Parker and Otis customers are dependable as the LBD (little black dress), and owner Jennings Brody has given them good reason. The merchandise parallels the diverse fan base, ranging from nail polish to baby attire, cookbooks to candles. If you can peruse the gift shop without temptation of a sandwich, coffee or pastry, my eco-friendly hat’s off to you. Jennings has fun stocking the store, and it shows.


Parker and Otis promotes sustainable action when purchasing dairy, eggs, bread, coffee beans, and wine, among other gourmet delicacies. To Jennings and the Parker and Otis crew, sustainability means buying locally and giving back to the Durham community. 10% of profits are given back to non-profit organizations related to or based in Durham. Parker and Otis employs locally, and provides great benefits and an enjoyable atmosphere to its staff. Buying locally has also benefitted business – forming relationships with local purveyors facilitates purchases and business dealings.

Akin to my brief experience with Durham, Jennings has found a remarkable convergence of people here that is not seen in neighboring towns. People love Durham, and Durham shows us the love back. Durham is the ideal boyfriend. There is a passion for self-improvement in the unseasonably cold air. (Though sweater weather is better weather.) Local businesses challenge each other to be better, catering the best quality services to Durham residents. Speaking of catering, Parker and Otis does it. I see a party in your future…invite me.

As I gain my footing as a sophomore at Duke I aim to live the Parker and Otis existence – fun comes first (unless midterms are on the horizon), and sustainability is not a chore, but an innate way of life.

See you for lunch tomorrow.


  1. Tawnee Milko
    Tawnee Milko
    Oct 9, 2012

    Extremely fun post, Amanda! I love all your fashion references throughout. Parker and Otis is one of my favorite “work away from work” places in Durham, plus it multi-tasks as the ultimate chic gift hub and delicious local food mecca (I adore their turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich). This is a great shot out to the store. I’m happy you showcased it and hope Parker and Otis know you’re spreading the word!

  2. Tawnee Milko
    Tawnee Milko
    Oct 9, 2012

    In fact, you’ve made me want to go pick up some dinner from there as soon as I get off work…

  3. Jolie Kemp
    Oct 10, 2012

    Love this blog! Definitely a laugh out loud read!

  4. Bianca Patel
    Oct 10, 2012

    Parker and Otis here I come!

  5. Danielle Rosen
    Oct 10, 2012

    Love it! See ya for lunch tomorrow!

  6. Cassie Goldring
    Oct 10, 2012

    Awesome post! and the girl in the picture on the right is really pretty

  7. Julia L.
    Oct 10, 2012

    Great blog! I’ll be sure to invite you to my Parker and Otis-catered party!


  1. D-eco-rate | Insects and the City - [...] delicate frame. But alas, with Durham’s thriving businesses and bountiful array of eateries (see Your Lunch Plans Tomorrow,) the…

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