What's the state of Durham's economy?

DURHAM The big topic was Durham's thriving downtown restaurant renaissance.

Bull City Burgers and Brewery on East Parrish Street is the newest restaurant to open its doors downtown.

"Bull City Burger is a perfect example," Durham Economic and Workforce Development Director Kevin Dick said. "It opened on Friday, everyone knew, in the community, it was going to be opening, and you couldn't get a table in there for a half an hour - this, on the first day of a restaurant opening!"

That's a key point the director raised during Tuesday morning's gathering of business and civic leaders at the Durham Performing Arts Center.

The topic for the annual breakfast briefing -- the state of Durham's economy -- attracted a full house.

Lieutenant Governor Walter Dalton reminded the crowd Durham's come a long way from the days when tobacco dollars drove business decisions.

"Now it's the City of Medicine, the City of Innovation, the City of Creativity," Lt. Governor Walter Dalton said. "It's one of the magnets that attract new jobs to North Carolina."

Durham's also attracting more international businesses, along with local ones, who advertise their links to local suppliers.

The combination of major high tech firms in the RTP, innovative smaller startup companies and Durham's reputation as a 'foodie mecca' have people investing, eating and tweeting.

"The food blogs have been great," restaurant owner Seth Gross said. "The best thing that's happened to the restaurant industry in the past few years is Twitter and Facebook."

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