Elmo's Diner

Durham NC


OPEN DAILY 6:30 am - 10:00 pm

Open for DINE IN (with mask), or TAKEOUT. Hours: Sun/Mon 7:30am-2:30pm, Tues-Sat 7:30am-8:30pm

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 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, we will sanitize anything a customer touches, like a pen or credit card machine, before another customer touches it.

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.

Take-out/Carside Service

We are currently offering Dine-in and Carside service. You are also welcome to just place a regular to-go order and come inside to pick it up. The difference between Carside and To-go being just whether we bring it out to your car or not. Please be respectful of the Carside only spaces marked in our parking lot beyond the handicap ramp. We need to reserve those for Carside so our staff isn’t crossing the lot looking for cars–which both slows us down and puts them at greater risk.

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!

New expanded hours beginning Aug 3 are: Mon 7:30am-2:30pm, Tues-Sat 7:30am-8:30pm and Sun 7:30am-2:30pm. 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

  1. CALL US at (919) 416-3823 to place food orders using our Take Out Menu. We will let you know when your order will be ready.
  2. ARRIVE, and please stay in your car and pull up to the cones marked “CARSIDE PICKUP PARKING” If we don’t come out promptly, please call to let us know you have arrived.
  3. TO PAY/PICK UP YOUR FOOD – An employee will come out, confirm your order, take your payment (cash, Mastercard, or Visa), and bring your food out to 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

2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

  • Best Breakfast
  • Best Kid-Friendly


  • 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

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

Durham Public Schools First Tuesday

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. With this in mind, on the First Tuesday of each month we do a fundraiser for a Durham Public School PTA. On each First Tuesday, ten percent of our sales from that day goes to a specific goal of a selected PTA. We feel this is a great way to help a broad cross-section of the community that supports us. All customers are encouraged to come out on these Tuesdays 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 First Tuesday date, please know that applications usually go out in April** for the following school year. You can use the CONTACT link on this website to let us know of your interest. Please also note that due to intense interest our 10% fundraisers are limited to Durham Public schools.

**We will be reaching out to First Tuesday schools in early May, but due to current circumstances there will need to be a delay in setting actual dates for the next school year.

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.