Geer St. Garden is the kind of place you want to love. Located in a former gas station in a happening part of Durham, it has plenty of appeal. It aims for that classic neighborhood joint, and definitely achieves the part in terms of ambience with a small but very charming interior to go along with sprawling outdoor picnic table seating. [In colder weather, plastic sheeting and heaters keep the outdoor section warm and cozy]. The restaurant cultivates a relaxed, easy feel, and it’s a great place to hang out with friends.
The menu is classic American fare, with a few Southern (fried chicken, collards, sweet potato stew) and Latin American dishes (tamales, fish tacos) as well. Like any good self-respecting Durham restaurant, Geer St. Garden touts the use of local, sustainable ingredients. I opted for the “pasture-raised” burger ($10) with cheese (additional $1). My burger arrived next to an enormous mountain of fries. It featured some nice fresh tomato and crisp lettuce, but the whole thing was just too plain. The patty was under-seasoned and surprisingly thin. The fries were similarly very average. It was a very unexciting meal. I was pretty hungry, so we chose to have dessert too – a brownie with ice cream and salty peanut caramel sauce. It was a good concept, but the execution was really disappointing. The brownie was exceedingly dry and lifeless – one of the worst brownies I’ve ever had. There wasn’t enough of the sauce, and it wasn’t really salty either, even though the dish was loaded with peanuts. The one bright spot in the dessert was the creamy, silky ice cream.
In the end, I would go back to Geer St. Garden to enjoy the nice patio for a casual meal with friends, but I’d try something different and hope for better results.