Neapolitan Pizza Heaven at Treforni in Durham

Treforni Pizza w/ Spicy Sarita

Pizza can be a sensitive subject with many foodies. Everyone has their own expectations based on where they grew up and what they are conditioned to think what “good pizza” must be like. For me, when talking about pizza, it is very important to compare apples to apples. I wouldn’t send a person looking for great New York style pizza to a place that only sells Chicago deep dish pies. There are different styles of pizza, varying thickness of crust, ratios of cheese to sauce, even different kinds of ovens. Then there are the toppings. Oh my the toppings. So many choices! All that said, if you are looking for great Neapolitan Style Pizza I think I may have found the best in the Triangle at Treforni Pizza in Hope Valley Commons in Durham.

View of the Pizza Ovens from the Dining Room

Owner Dave Diggins opened Treforni a little of a year ago, but he isn’t a newcomer to the art of making great a great pie. Dave started in the pizza business back when he was just a teenager living in Cherry Hill, NJ and has spent more than three decades working in the pizza industry. Over the years he was drawn to the more traditional Neapolitan pizza and learned the art for this particular style of pizza from his mentor Roberto Caporuscio, who mastered his craft in Italy working at the oldest pizzeria in Naples.

Neapolitan pizzas are typically about 12 inches in diameter and are typically considered a personal pizza. Pizzas of this size are plenty to feed one but if you are on a date or with a group it is fun to order a different pie for each person and share.

Gluten Free Pizza

The menu at Treforni is pretty straight forward, with seven red pies and seven white. A big plus is that you can also get a pizza made with a gluten free crust. This isn’t some pre-made crust you can get anywhere. They make it right ther in-house in a special area and even have a dedicated gluten free pizza oven. My wife ordered a gluten free pie (pictured above) and she was very impressed with the tasty crust. I tried it and was equally impressed. I barely noticed any difference between the regular crust. You don’t give up on any flavor or texture when going Gluten Free at Treforni.

While the Pizza is definitely the center of attention Treforni also offer a nice collection of calzones and as sandwiches if you want to switch things up. They also have four different salads featuring mixed of greens including a spring mix as well as arugula, and spinach. You can view the full menu here.

Salads also on the menu

The pizza I ordered was made using the traditional crust and was topped with spicy Sarita, sopressata, mozzarella, basil, and extra virgin olive oil. It was absolutely delicious! Easily one of the best pizzas I have ever had and definitely the best Neapolitan pizzas I have ever eaten. It had the perfect balance of sauce and cheese. I really enjoyed the spicy flavor of the Sarita too. It was spicy but not hot. It was a nice change from the pepperoni I typically order when getting a pizza. The crust was about as perfect as you can get. It was crispy with just the right amount of chewy softness on the inside.


Perfect charring of the crust!

An important point about the crust was that it had just the right amount of “Charring”. Or at least what I like to consider the “right amount”. Getting the charring right without burning the crust speaks to correctly timing when the pizza is taken out of the oven (usually after just 90 seconds) and the moisture content of the dough. It’s an art getting it just right and Treforni has it nailed. Everything about my pizza was perfect and before I was done I was already planning my next visit.

More Seating Options

The dining room at Treforni is spaceous and offers large communal tables for groups and smaller tables for couples. Many of the tables provide a great view of the pizza ovens so you can watch the wood fired ovens work their magic when your pie goes in. The staff are friendly and accommodating. We were there early on a rainy Sunday afternoon before the lunch crowd. I noticed a father and his young son come in and it was nice to see the cook behind the counter spread some flour on an open space on the counter and let the little boy roll out some extra dough  to help make his pizza.

Pizza Ovens (Note the dedicated Gluten Free Oven)

If you want to try some great pizza and support a worthy cause, on Tuesday, July 11th Treforni will be donating  15% of the proceeds that day to benefit Seeds, a community garden in Durham. But regardless of when you plan your visit, Treforni is definitely a place to put on your radar if you are looking for a great Neapolitan pizza. No tour of the Triangle pizza scene would be complete without a stop here. The great pies and relaxed atmosphere make it a versatile place perfect for a quick bite to eat or a fun and affordable date night before a movie at the nearby Southpoint Mall. Once you go let me know what you think. I think you will enjoy it as much as I did!

Treforni Pizza
1125 W North Carolina 54
Durham, NC 27707

Twitter: @Treforni
Instagram: @treforni

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Sunflower Fields in Bloom along the Neuse Greenway ~ Summer 2017 

Raleigh Sunflower Fields
(Photo courtesy of Penny Lynn)

The Raleigh Sunflower Fields are now in bloom along the lower portion of the Neuse Greenway Trail near the Wake / Johnston County boarder.  The field is located along the trail at mile marker 25.25 where it runs along Old Baucom Road. There is no parking there but you can use the physical address of 8232 Old Baucom Road if you want to drive by the field in your car. If you want to walk to the field you can park at the Neuse Greenway parking lot located at 6090 Mial Plantation Road. Once you park you turn right on the trail and the field is a 1 mile walk away. You will pass over the Neuse River on the greenway bridge along the way.

The field is beautiful but is a quite a bit smaller than last year. If you plan to visit the field I recommend getting out there within the next week. After that they will start dying off from the summer heat.

Many don’t realize this, but these fields are actually owned by the City of Raleigh and are used to land apply treated wastewater. The plants are grown on the fields to take up the nutrients from the wastewater, which basically acts like a fertilizer for the flowers. Afterwards the city harvests the plants to convert them into biodiesel. Because it is City of Raleigh property you’ll need to enjoy the view of the field from behind the white fences that line the fields. To learn more about the Neuse Greenway and download a full map of the trail visit the Neuse Greenway website here.

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Weekend Picks: July 7th – 9th


Abigail Dowd Performs this Friday at Gronds Cafe in Wendell
(Photo courtesy

This weekend my top picks include a chance to catch great music from some truly excellent musicians. In addition to music, if you are looking for some new places to explore there are a few places that have just opened to the public this past week. Downtown Garner has a new coffee shop by Full Bloom Coffee Roasters. Up in Wake Forest Juice Bar opens on Friday next to the Publix. Down in Fuquay-Varina the Mason Jar Lager Company is now open to the public and will have beer flowing all weekend long. I look forward to visiting each of these new spots this summer. In the meantime happy exploring!

Friday – July 7th

Abigail Dowd performs at Grounds Cafe in Wendell
Grounds Cafe in Wendell is located in a beautiful setting in the Wendell Falls community with a great outdoor patio to enjoy the summer weather. This Friday they will host North Carolina singer/songwriter Abigail Dowd from 6:30-9:30pm. In addition to music they will have beer, coffee, and wine  available for purchase in the cafe along with their full menu plus tacos!

Saturday – July 8th

Al Strong and Friends at Bond Park in Cary
Al Strong is well known trumpet player, composer, and instructor in the Triangle jazz scene. For this concert at Cary’s Bond Park Sertoma Amphitheatre he will be joined by Alan Thompson (saxophone), JC Martin (guitar), Sean Mason (piano), Kenny Phelps-McKeown (bass), and Jeremy ‘Bean’ Clemons (drums). This concert is FREE and open to the public! Music begins at 7pm. This is a FREE performance thanks to Pinecone. For more information visit

Sunday – July 9th

Midsummer’s Party at Vita Vite in Downtown Raleigh
Vita Vite is a fun wine bar and art Gallery in the heart of downtown Raleigh. This Sunday 2-5pm they are throwing a Midsummer’s Party where they will unveil an exclusive beer they crafted in partnership with the Neuse River Brewing Company! There will also be beach music by Lucius Wilson and ice cream and other sweet treats for for purchase from Mama Bird’s Cookies and Cream.

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Triangle Fourth of July Fireworks 2017

Chapel Hill

Kenan Stadium – Chapel Hill
(Photo courtesy Town of Chapel Hill)

Below is my annual list of places to see Fourth of July Fireworks around the Triangle this year. Please note the actual date for each event as some towns celebrate before/after the fourth of July. There is also a link next to each event listed that will take you to the event website for additional information about parking.

Fireworks in the Triangle 2017 (in alphabetical order)

Brier Creek (Raleigh) Info
Brier Creek is holding a “Show us your Stripes” Block Party on July 4th from 7-9pm. Set up your lawn chair early at the Brier Creek Commons (Clock Tower Plaza between Brasa and Blo).There will be games, bounce houses, prizes, face painting, FREE balloons. Fireworks after dusk.

Cary Info
Celebrate at Koka Booth Ampitheatre 3-10pm July 4 with music & fireworks. There will be kids activities, a ferris wheel, a watermelon eating contest and more. Music by the NC Symphony capped off with an incredibly spectacular fireworks display. Tarps, blankets & chairs allowed within venue gates; staking and tents are not permitted. Concert is FREE and open to the public.

Chapel Hill Kenan Stadium Info
Fireworks at Kenan Stadium. The gates open at 7 PM July 4th. Family friendly activities including live music by RadioJacks and watermelon eating contest. Fireworks begin at 9:30pm.

The Clayton Parks & Recreation is hosting their annual July 4th Celebration on Tuesday, July 4th at the Municipal Park (325 McCullers Drive). Activities begin at 4pm with family field events, Free Ice Cream and Watermelon, a Cornhole Tournament and live music. Get sprayed down by the Clayton Fire Department (a kid favorite!).Fireworks at dusk. New this year, the live music, inflatables and rides will run another half hour after the show.

Durham Info
Durham Bulls Baseball game on July 4th will be followed by their annual Independence Day Fireworks Extravaganza. Tickets are required for the game, but gates will open for general admission at the end of the 7th inning. The dynamic fireworks show will begin immediately following the game.

Franklin County Info
Fourth of July Celebration at Louisburg High School Tuesday July 4th. Games, inflatables, music, food, and fireworks. Free admission.

Fuquay Varina Info
Music, kid’s games, and fireworks at Fuquay Varina’s South Park – 820 N. Main Street. Monday, Jul 3rd. Gates open at 6pm

Garner Info
The town of Garner has their fireworks on Monday, July 3rd at the beautiful Lake Benson Park (921 Buffalo Road). The NC Symphony & Bull City Syndicate will perform. There will be a kidzone and arts and crafts as well. Gates open at 5pm with fireworks launching after dark following the NC Symphony performance.

Holly SpringsInfo
Wednesday, July 5th Independence Day celebration at Jefferson L. Snugg Farm at Bass Lake Park 5-9:30pm. Musical entertainment, Food vendors, Inflatables and games, Fireworks, Face Painting and Other Games, Cornhole Tournament. The fireworks show is slated to begin at 9:15 p.m.

This is Knightdale’s Third Annual July 4th Celebration at Knightdale Station Park. Featuring fireworks, family activities, food trucks and music from The Embers. The event will begin at 5pm and conclude with the fireworks at 9:15pm. Make sure you come hungry – this event has a great food truck lineup with over 30 local food trucks! Festival map and schedule of events.

Kick off your Independence Day celebration with a fireworks display in Morrisville Community Park Monday, July 3rd. Bring your blankets, chairs and snacks to enjoy the spectacular show. Music and activities will begin at 6:00pm; the Fireworks display will begin at dark, approximately 9:30pm.

Family Music Festival and Fireworks on Tuesday, July 4th at the Mebane Arts & Community Center. Music with Beach & Top 40 favorites beginning at 7:00pm until 9:30pm with fireworks following at 9:40. Bring your own seating to this fun-filled family event.

Raleigh Info
All day celebration Tuesday, July 4th noon-11pm along Fayetteville Street with two music stages, aerialists, street performers, Kings BMX Bike Stunts, Gouge Wrestling, contests, Beer Garden and more! FREE show at Red Hat Amphitheater and Fireworks at 9:30! Event map and full schedule.

Rolesville will celebrate with a parade on Tuesday July 4th at 4:30PM followed by live music, great food, games, face painters, magicians, fireworks and more. Free admission but donations are greatly appreciated and will be accepted at the gates!

Smithfield – Info
Smithfield’s Independence Day Celebration is Sunday, July 2 from 6:30pm until 9:00pm on South Third Street in the heart of downtown. Enjoy food trucks, games and activities, and live music from The Seaside Band. Fireworks start at 9pm.

Wake Forest Info
Fireworks Spectacular on Monday, July 3, at Wake Forest High School, 420 W. Stadium Drive. Gates open at 5:30. Beach music by Band of Oaz at 6:30. Admission $5. Children under 6 free. Fireworks at dusk (typically between 8:30-9pm).

Zebulon Info
The Carolina Mudcats will hold fireworks displays on Tuesday July 4th at Five County Stadium. Gates will open at 5:30pm for the 7pm games with fireworks and patriotic music to follow the games’ conclusion.

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Weekend Picks: June 23rd – 25th

Looking for something fun to do this weekend? Here are my top picks of things to check out over the next three days. Happy Exploring!

Friday – June 23rd

The Adventures of Annabelle Lyn at Sola Coffee
Sola Coffee and Cafe continues to bring great touring acts to Raleigh this Friday with The The Adventures of Annabelle Lyn, a trio of female folk artists that brings together heartbreaking original songs, tight and sweet vocal harmonies, powerful instrumental solos, and crowd-pleasing acoustic covers. Music starts at 7:30pm. No cover but tips for the musicians always appreciated!

Orquestra GarDel at Durham Central Park
On Friday Durham Central Park debuts its new free 10-week concert series with the multinational but uniquely North Carolinian, Orquesta GarDel and their high-energy Latin dance music experience. The thirteen-member lineup has a full deck of horn players, percussionists, and coro singers. Rooted in its own arrangements of songs from the great salsa, cumbia, and merengue artists, this is ultimately not a cover band. There will be Food trucks and craft beer venders as well. Music from 6-8pm.

Saturday – June 24th

Historic Hillsborough Walking Tour
Experience American history through the unique perspective of one of North Carolina’s oldest and most historically significant towns, with a guided walking tour of downtown Hillsborough. Established in 1754 as the seat of government for Orange County, Hillsborough’s colonial legacy and signs of its importance in NC and American history can be seen everywhere. The tour begins at the Hillsborough Visitors Center, located in the eighteenth century Alexander Dickson Farm House, and guides visitors to a variety of historic places. $6

Sunday – June 25th

Oak City Chamber Players at Rebus Works – Raleigh
Rebus Works is throwing another Classical Hang on Sunday from 4-7pm. Music will start at 5pm. This is always a popular event, so make sure you get here early to grab a seat! The Chamber Players, led by Dovid Friedlander, will be performing Beethoven’s Quartet Opus 59 Number 3. They  will have a food truck, local NC beer for sale at Rebus Works and the Oak City Chamber Players performing up close and personal.

Cary’s Downtown Chowdown Food Truck Rodeo
Trucks will line Academy Street from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Event will feature 25+ food trucks along with local beer and wine vendors, and live music. You can view a list of the trucks here.

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