Once a 21+ establishment, Alley Twenty Six became a takeout and outdoor dining operation to continue serving Durham amidst COVID. As the name suggests, it’s an actual alley and an incredibly charming place to chow down when the weather’s nice. Walk down and find a seat, and you’ll fall in love with this spot.
A cocktail bar that later added a restaurant to its space, A26 found comfort in serving plates beside their bar program. Yet, as the pandemic tore through Durham and forced them to close down, they had to re-evaluate their approach to find a new way to persevere through these troublesome times. After running a take-out program, they decided to open up their alley and began a new journey to keep the community happy. It’s among the most unique experiences in Durham, and one that I absolutely love.
Walk to the Alley, order, and find a seat. I got myself their signature Alley Burger and fell in love. This thick behemoth is composed of an 8 oz. patty, ground in house, black truffle cheddar, bourbon bacon jam, arugula, and chipotle aioli. It’s decadent and perfectly composed, making for a spectacular experience that you’ll cherish for the few minutes you have with your burger. Not only is the beef pristine, but its thickness allows for a kiddie pool of juice to flow upon first bite, running down your chin as your nod your head in joy. The cheese is immaculate, providing a melty, slightly funky smoothness, and the arugula provides a nice pepperiness. Take a second to savor that chipotle aioli and relish in its slight spiciness and powerful complementary capacity. The Bourbon Bacon Jam might’ve been the star. It’s almost poetic, providing the sweetness of caramelized onions with the hug of porkiness to evolve within your mouth as a powerful force. It almost outshines the other ingredients, but as you progress through your burger, you realize that it's the ultimate co-star, enhancing the other ingredients while playing a breakout role in this little journey of a burger.
If you don’t fall in love with it, visit your local cardiologist to check if your heart is in the right place. Best take advantage now before it gets cold.