Elmo's Diner

Durham NC


NEW HOURS!! Open Daily 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM for DINE IN or TAKEOUT.

776 9th Street
Durham NC 27705

(Near Duke East Campus)

What Elmo’s is Doing About Covid-19

We’re all aware of the COVID-19 concerns we’re facing as a community, and we want you to know the precautions we’re taking to ensure the safety of our customers and staff.


Restaurants are already very closely monitored for health and cleanliness by the Durham Department of Health, and we are working closely with them to stay up to date with any new developments and/or procedures we need to implement. As of Friday, May 14th, people who have been fully vaccinated are no longer required to wear masks or social distance. Therefore, if you see staff members without masks, you can rest assured that they have shown us proof that they are fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated CUSTOMERS visiting Elmo’s for Dine-in ARE NOT REQUIRED TO WEAR MASKS. We hope that our unvaccinated customers continue to take necessary precautions. Though we have reconfigured some of our seating for flexibility, we can’t just turn the fire hose on full blast–because the announcement came without much warning, we are not yet staffed to operate at full capacity. 

We are continuing to follow strict cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout preparation and service–for example, with regular sanitizing of high touch surfaces like tables, condiments, pens, etc.

We have never allowed employees to work if sick, but we are especially vigilant about this now. We will also continue to check employee wellness at the beginning of each day, including taking their temperatures and checking for visual signs of illness. No one will be permitted to work sick.


Over the last year, we have been happy to offer carside service. However, with the rise of vaccinations and the lifting of the mask mandate and capacity limits in North Carolina, our dining room is getting busy again! You are still welcome to place a regular to-go order and come inside to pick it up.

We still need to limit our menu to our most popular items in order to keep inventory low and products fresh at our reduced volume. Our modified menu is available online here and you can expect it to change and be updated as customer volume and inventory supply improves. Let us know if you’re really missing something that we’re not currently making ! We will also be paying attention to what folks are ordering–keep coming by to order your favorites so they stick around!

Our most up-to-date hours are generally posted to our Facebook page first, but we will also try to keep things updated here.

We are excited about the opportunity to serve you some of your favorite comfort foods again! Thank you for all your continued support, words of encouragement and patience as we made adjustments to help serve you more safely.

Placing Your Order

Due to limited staffing and the need to provide the best service possible to our in house guests, Elmo’s will no longer be offering carside to-go service effective Tuesday, May 25th.

We will still be taking regular to-go orders that can be picked up at the host stand.

We are very grateful for all of you who have stopped by through the many iterations of our business over the last year, and we hope that we’ll continue to see you.

About Elmo’s Diner

Elmo’s Diner has been a local Durham favorite for more than twenty years, with the vast majority of our business being repeat customers. You are our friends and our neighbors, and we want you to feel good about eating at Elmo’s. We pride ourselves on giving friendly, efficient service and on serving fresh, delicious food – like you would make at home if you had the time! We don’t use mixes or “instant” meals. Desserts and soups are made from scratch too–some folks even call on a regular basis to find out if their favorite cobbler is the special that day!

Like a true family diner, we have comfy booths, but also tables and lots of boosters and high chairs for your little ones. We have raised a lot of our young regular customers (and even some employees) from scratch too! When your family comes to town, we want you to be excited to bring them to YOUR local diner. You don’t have to be “a regular” to eat at Elmo’s, but we will try hard to make you one!


The Indy Weekly

2021, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

  • Best Breakfast
  • Best Kid-Friendly


  • Best Cheap Eats in Durham County


  • Best Place to Pick Up an Indy


  • Finalist for Best Veggie Burger


  • Finalist for Best Sunday Brunch


  • Best Wait Staff in Durham County
  • Best Breakfast in the Triangle
  • Best Kid’s Menu in a Local Restaurant

Durham Magazine

2021, 2019, 2018

  • Platinum for Best Breakfast/Brunch
  • Platinum for Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant

2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

  • Platinum for Best Breakfast/Brunch


  • GOLD for Best Breakfast/Brunch

The Herald-Sun

2017, 2016, 2015, 2011

  • Best Breakfast/Brunch


  • Finalist for Best Breakfast/Brunch


  • 2nd Place in Best/Breakfast Brunch in Durham

First Tuesday is NOW Spirit “Mursday” 4 DPS!

We’re a community restaurant both in the sense that we are a local favorite and in the sense that we strive to be good neighbors and give back to our community. Our previous First Tuesday fundraising program for Durham Public School PTSAs had to be re-envisioned since we are no longer open nights and that was when we saw the majority of our school families. Now we are announcing the start of Spirit “Mursday” 4 Durham Public Schools!

Durham Public School PTSAs can hold a Monday-Thursday (“Mursday”) spirit week at Elmo’s Diner where they encourage their school population and the community-at-large to eat IN HOUSE at Elmo’s. After a school’s Mursday is over, we will donate 4% of our Total Sales minus TO GO sales from the school’s designated M-Th week (Thus, the title: Spirit Mursday 4 DPS!) All customers are encouraged to come out in force on these special spirit Mursdays and help support our schools. Please see our list of upcoming dates.

If you are volunteering for a local DPS PTA and are interested in applying for a Spirit Mursday, you can use the CONTACT link on this website to let us know of your interest. If you don’t hear back within one week, feel free to call the restaurant during non-meal times (919) 416-3823 and ask to speak to the person in charge of Spirit Mursdays.

Please contact us with your questions, comments, compliments or concerns. If you wish to place a to-go order, please call us at (919) 416-3823. We do not take to-go orders online.