Like a true diner, we serve homemade food and breakfast all the time. We have comfy booths, as well as tables, and lots of high chairs and boosters for the little ones! We are a gathering place where locals are sure to see someone they know and visitors are likely to make new friends. 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.
Why a Diner?
Why Elmo’s “Diner?” Eating in a diner is a warm and wonderful experience. It’s a place where the staff learns your name and stops by your table to say “Hello.” When your family comes to town you get excited to bring them to Elmo’s.
“It’s not the fanciest place,” you tell them, “but this is our place — this is where we eat”.
At Elmo’s, we recognize that the vast majority of our business is made up of repeat customers. You are our friends and our neighbors, and we want you to feel good about eating at Elmo’s. We put you first. We pride ourselves on serving fresh, delicious food – like you would make at home, if you had the time. We don’t use mixes or “instant” meals. Our pancakes are made from scratch. We bake all of our desserts in our kitchen. Our soups are homemade, and we take a long time to slow roast our turkey and roast beef. We don’t serve anything that contains MSG, and our fries are cooked in 100% canola oil. Our goal is to provide service and food that are not simply good, but outstanding.
Elmo’s Diner is committed to providing the very best food and service possible in a warm, friendly, clean setting. It is our responsibility to treat our customers and coworkers with respect and to conduct ourselves in a courteous and professional manner at all times. It’s not our goal to match industry standards in this regard; our goal is to set the standard and to become the model for others.
Who is Elmo?
The answer to this question remains a mystery to many of our customers. Those who venture to ask will find out the name “Elmo” was inspired by a sympathetic movie character who was born on the wrong side of luck. Featured in Made in Heaven, Elmo represented the common man and you were meant to root for his success. We liked the friendly, unpretentious sound of “Elmo’s Diner” – and we were definitely rooting for our own success – so the name stuck. We like to think the friendly and unpretentious qualities stuck as well. It’s our goal to make everyone feel welcome in Elmo’s, and in turn, hope they pass those feelings along to others.
What’s with the Duck?
Elmo Duck is our official mascot. He’s been around for more years than he cares to admit, though he remains forever young. When you come to Elmo’s you can color an Elmo Duck – no matter how old you are – and place it on the Duck Wall, where you also can gaze at the works of fellow patrons. Over the years, we’ve been amazed at the many different personalities customers have given the Elmo Duck, from Darth Vader to Harry Potter. We have found that duck coloring has both therapeutic and aesthetic value. Give it a try!
Best Children’s Menu
Best Comfort Food
Best Wait Staff in Durham and Orange/Chatham County Finalist
Carolina Parent Family Favorites
Favorite Family Non-Chain Restaurant 2009
Where the Locals Eat
Frequently asked questions
- Do you take reservations? Click here
- We do not. As a high-volume, fast-paced restaurant, it’s counter productive for us to take reservations. However, if you have an especially large group – more than eight people – you are welcome to call ahead and give us a heads up that you are coming. This is not a reservation or call-ahead seating, but does sometimes help us to strategize seating and more effectively serve you. If you have a super-large group, it is best to ask to speak with a manager. They can advise you as to the best possible times to come and can let you know if we will need to split your party into smaller groups.
- Do you take call ahead seating? Click here
- No. A person from your party must be physically present to check you in.
- Do you sell gift cards? Click here
- Yes! We have gift certificates which work just like gift cards and are good for either of our locations. They are available in any amount. For local customers, we ask that you come in to make your purchase, if possible. For those out of state, you can easily purchase a gift certificate over the phone using your Visa or MasterCard. Just call either store at the number listed below and ask to speak with a manager. It does take a few minutes to process your request, so please try to avoid calling in the middle of meal periods. The best time to call is Monday through Friday between 3:00 and 5:00 pm.Elmo’s Diner (919) 416-3823
- How can I buy an Elmo’s T-shirt, hat, mug or coffee? Click here
- Elmo’s T-shirts, hats, mugs and even coffee make wonderful gifts or souvenirs. All items are available for purchase in both stores. If you are out of town and need something shipped, please call between 3:00 and 5:00 pm and ask to speak with a manager. We will be happy to help you.T-shirts– Elmo’s signature shirt is available in a multitude of colors and sizes! We usually carry sizes from youth small up to XXXL, and often have small tees for the young tots (2T-5/6T). Long-sleeved T-shirts are also available.Hats – Elmo’s hats have adjustable bands, so one size fits all. They’re available in a variety of “washed” denim and khaki colors.
Mugs – A traditional Navy mug with the Elmo’s logo on it. It’s great for holding crayons too!
Coffee – We get a lot of compliments on our coffee, which is a special blend roasted locally by Counter Culture Coffee. You may have enjoyed a cup of Elmo’s delicious coffee and never realized that you can take some home with you. You can buy Elmo’s coffee in both of our stores. It is available either ground or whole bean in 1 lb bags.