Dos Perros, the Mexican restaurant from chef Charlie Deal, will close next month after more than a decade in downtown Durham.
Since its opening in 2009, Dos Perros has been part of a generation of Durham restaurants leading a wave of acclaim and creativity that’s made the city one of North Carolina’s dining destinations.
The last day of service at Dos Perros will be Aug. 14, Deal announced on the restaurant’s social media pages.
That will give fans around a month to stop in during the farewell tour.
“So why not give the folks who liked to eat here another chance or two to stop by?” Deal said. “Seemed like the right thing to do.”
In the post, Deal said Dos Perros’ lease had been extended a year beyond its initial term.
“This is not a sad day, and I’m willingly making plans for the next chapter of my life,” Deal wrote on Instagram. “Quite simply, our lease is up and it’s time to make way for someone else. … We’ve been in contact with some people who may take the space over, but Dos Perros, as it is, will be closing next month.”
Contemporary Mexican menu
Following the success of his 2005 restaurant Jujube, Deal opened Dos Perros on Mangum Street, serving a kind of contemporary Mexican menu the chef knew from his time in California.
“Durham already had a great Mexican food scene when Dos Perros opened, but it was nearly exclusively casual, order-at-the-counter type of thing,” Deal said. “And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I love those places. But I just wanted to bring that same food and put it in a place where you could get a good cocktail and maybe bring a date.”
The restaurant opened in an uncertain and decidely untrendy time in downtown Durham. Deal said he’s watched a vibrant dining scene build up in Dos Perros’ time.
“Oh man, so much (has changed),” Deal said. “I think it’s mostly the great food scene. When we opened, there weren’t that many of us down here. Now, you can get so much.”
Over the years, dishes have included Cochinita pibil, grilled spice-rubbed fish, tacos with fillings like braised short ribs and carnitas, chile relleno and popular burritos. Former News & Observer dining critic Greg Cox has named Dos Perros the best modern Mexican restaurant in the Triangle.
Deal said a 2018 Parkinson’s disease diagnosis and an ending lease made for an ideal time to close the Dos Perros chapter.
“A few years ago, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which is causing me to want to do a few things: Minimize my stress, spend more time doing fun things now while my symptoms are mild, and start taking steps toward eventually retiring,” Deal said.
“Even though I wasn’t spending a ton of time at Dos Perros in the kitchen or the dining room over the last few years, I was still the guy who got the phone call when things went sideways. One fewer place means one less place where you can get those kinds of calls. That’s more important now than ever before.”
One more time
Last year Deal and his business partner sold Jujube, making the Asian fusion restaurant Juju his remaining restaurant.
“Juju is doing amazingly well and I’ve carved out a very sustainable role for myself there that fits in with my personal goals and needs,” Deal said. “I don’t expect any changes with Juju for the foreseeable future.”
For Dos Perros’ final month, Deal said he’s not busting out any theatrics, just keeping the menu tried and true.
“We’re just going to do what we’ve been doing all along,” Deal said. “A few years ago, I realized why people came in, and it was usually for their favorite drink or favorite dish. So, we’re just going to give that to them one more time. “
This story was originally published July 19, 2022 12:17 PM.
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