My first trip to Jean’s Take Out (aka Bonnie Jean’s, depending on whom you ask) in East Durham wasn’t too successful, as you can see from “closed” sign in the photo below. Once I figured out that it’s only open for breakfast (and got to go to Leo’s instead), I couldn’t wait to come back.
Inside you’ll find lots of biker knick-knacks, faded laminated prayers, old Coca-Cola memorabilia, and homemade egg custard pie (anyone ever heard of this?), coconut custard pie, and bread pudding. I went for the red hot breakfast plate ($4) which comes with a choice of grits or hashbrowns and toast or a biscuit, and a liver pudding biscuit ($2). There are the usual meat options too: sausage, smoked sausage, fatback, country ham, chicken, and salmon.
As it turns out, red hots are red-tinted hot dogs (which was in this case cut in half and pan fried), and liver pudding is sort of like a grilled, soft sausage patty. But more livery. The hashbrowns tasted exactly like McDonald’s hashbrowns (not necessarily a bad thing, but bring some ketchup), the scrambled eggs were great, and the biscuit was like a big buttery pillow. They even give you a scoop of grape jelly. Next time I’ll get the fatback.
The owner said that he’d been there for 12 years and that the building had been there for as long as he could remember. Like all of the beautiful old buildings in Durham, Jean’s has a real sense of place, and if you’re looking for a totally unadorned breakfast that will take a week off your life and put a spork in your hand, Jean’s is it.
Jean’s Take Out (map)
Monday – Saturday: 6.30 am – 11 am