The Forrest Firm recently had the privilege of working on the launch of an exciting new enterprise in Downtown Durham, Pizzeria Toro. This new restaurant is sure to excite Durhamites who already enjoy the downtown area’s many diverse culinary flavors.
Pizzeria Toro is the latest proud occupant of what we know as the Five Points Building (recently developed by my friend Scott Harmon and Center Studio Architecture), the nexus of downtown Durham’s Main Street and Chapel Hill Street collection of restaurants, bars, and shops that cater to the city’s growing urban residential core and driving tourism from surrounding areas. The new venture is a homecoming for owner Gray Brooks, a Durham native who spent the last several years as a chef at Serious Pie in Seattle, working under the James Beard Award-winning restaurateur, Tom Douglas.
Brooks has assembled a veteran team, including his wife, Cara Stacy, and Jay Owens, who oversee front-of-the-house activities at Pizzeria Toro while Gray keeps his focus on delivering great food to the new restaurant’s patrons. Stacy and Owens managed some of Seattle’s finest restaurants, including Ma’ono, Lola, Palace Kitchen, Etta’s, and Seatown. The team brings together a high level of attention to customer service and comfort while introducing Durham to a fresh, new take on pizza and other Italian dishes.
The Pizzeria Toro menu should match Durhamites’ rather discerning palates (we are truly quite spoiled with great restaurants in this area), with a selection of gourmet antipasti and salads on offer to complement specialty pizza combinations in red and white styles. Brooks and company dedicate themselves to using fresh ingredients, with house-made sausage and artisanal meats and cheeses making a palatable difference in the restaurant’s lineup. Pizzeria Toro’s eight-inch oven floor, combined with radiant heat from the oven’s fire, lends their pizza a distinctive crispiness—a hallmark of real Italian pizza—to go along with all of the dynamic flavors.
We are thrilled that Gray has come home and is realizing his dream of owning a restaurant here in Durham, and we’re grateful to be working on him as he builds a successful business in our community.
Pizzeria Toro is open for lunch and dinner—and even for late-night, post-DPAC/DBAP event snacking—from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. daily at its 105 East Chapel Hill Street location. For more information on Pizzeria Toro, check out their website at www.pizzeriatoro.com.