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anything decent in Burlington NC?

  • m

just moved to town and we are starving to death. Must.not.eat.at.any.more.I-40.chains. Am I destined to lose weight here or can anyone recommend some places to eat?

thank you!!

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  1. k
    ken martin bistro420.com

    it's been a while....but ther was a veitnamaise resturant call "open Kitchen" off of queen st I believe that was worth a drive from w-s nc. don't know if it"s still there but let's hope. gso or downtown w-s a good bet good luck. e-mail me if open kitchen survived ken martin

    1 Reply
    1. re: ken martin bistro420.com

      Hey Ken,
      I won a gift certificate to bistro 420 last month at a golf tournament and when I went downtown last night to use it there was no Bistro 420?! Has the restaurant moved or have I completely lost the chance to celebrate my 'longest drive' award?

    2. I'm going to assume that you're new to the area, so my advice to you is to make the thirty-minute trek to Durham on I-85, exit on to the Durham Freeway (NC 147), and then exit at Swift Ave. You'll be able to find Ninth and Main Streets pretty easily, and in that area you have the choice of excellent Greek (Nikos), Lebanese (International Delights), seafood (George's Garage), French/bistro (Vin Rouge), nothern Italian (Parizade), and Mexican (Cosmic Cantina--be warned: this place is a dive, but their burritos are good).

      A little farther afield, you can find imho the Triangle's two best Chinese restaurants, Hong Kong on Guess Rd., just off I-85, and Eastern Lights near the vacant South Square mall. There's also a soul food place, Dillards, off I-40 on Fayettville Rd. For upscale dining, I'd recommend Nana's or Four Square over the Magnolia Grill. For New York-style pizza, with a thin, crispy/chewy crust, there's Randy's near the Wynnsong Theater, off MLK Boulevard in south Durham.

      Good luck with your quest. I don't think that there are too many good meals to be had in Burlington.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Sam Stevens

        I didn't want to look like I was putting down her new hometown, and perhaps my fellow hounds are tired or hearing me extol the virtues of Durham. But since you did, I'll let you take the blame! ;-)

        I'm really a big fan of the places to eat near downtowm Durham near Brightleaf Square. Besides, the ones Sam mentions, I also like Pop's (come early and pick up goodies at Fowler's Gourmet next door or pick up cool knick knacks at Morgan Imports on the other side). Torero's come closest to authentic Mexican, and Tosca in the West Village complex is a beautiful setting (the food is above average but not great). Another favorite thing to do is to eat and then go see a movie at the Carolina Theatre. They show indy and foreign films there. It has huge screens, large double decked seat area, and ornate decorations, like the movie theaters of yesteryear.

        1. re: Sant

          Hi, Sant

          Please forgive the brief tech interruption.

          Unlike some other online discussion boards, we discourage communication via the subject line. We ask that you don't change subject title unless conversation has digressed (in which case, by all means, change the title to fit!).

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          Thanks...and back to the chowtalk!

        2. re: Sam Stevens

          Yeah, I used to live in Cary, but was relocated to Burlington. I'm not keen on driving 30 miles to Durham every time I want to eat out, and I'm sick of going to the same two places here all the time.

          Thanks for the suggestions though. I love Cosmic Cantina - when I worked in the park I'd go there weekly.

          I guess I'll just have to suffer along and live for those rare trips to Durham, Chapel Hill (mmm Carrburritos), or even Greensboro


          1. re: Sam Stevens

            George's Garage closed several months ago.

            1. re: jimingso

              Amazing how things change in only 8 years.

          2. n
            Neil McClanahan

            Hursey's BBQ has a good reputation, but I haven't been there. I don't believe it qualifies as a woodburner.

            I don't know about anything else. Greensboro has excellent restaurants, and it's about 30 min.


            1 Reply
            1. re: Neil McClanahan

              Whether or not Hursey's is a log burner has been a recurring mystery.

              I was sceptical, too, but the last time I went (a few months ago) there were fresh logs in front of the pit and plenty of ashes inside.

            2. i went to a restaurant called AZTECA in burlington about 4 years back and it is by far the best mexican restaurant i've eaten at when you consider quality of food and value. their mole is the best i've tried and the service is prompt. i know it's cliche to get mexican in nc, but man, i crave that mole weekly, and i haven't even been there for 4 years. i think it's on the main drag.

              1. Hillsborough is a bit closer than Durham (about 15 min. from Burlington I think?), and it has some nice restaurants. We recently went to Panciuto on Churton St. and had a very nice (but expensive) Italian meal. I've been told about some others, but have yet to try them. I'm sure if you did a search here, you'd find more. Also, Weaver St. is opening a branch in Hillsborough. Definitely worth a fifteen minute drive!

                1. Saratoga Grill and Tupelos are nice choices in Hillsborough.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: BBQJoe

                    I grew up in Burlington. Try Zack's Hot Dogs in downtown Burlington (local institution) and A&M Grrill for Bar-B-Q in Mebane. There is a decent sandwich place in Elon called Sidetracks.

                    1. re: steveindurham

                      A&M is gone (at least a year or two), alas. They had great Q, although everything else they had there was inedible. The Mexican restaurant across the street from A&M had been pretty good if you could get them to give you the Spanish-language menu but they're gone, too. I don't get out to Mebane as much as I used to, so those were the only places I knew.

                  2. Sidetracks has this Island Chicken (sandwich or salad) that is absoluetly amazing. I don't know what they marinate it in, but I crave it constantly. Also, their chunky tomato soup and their crab dip are really good.

                    1. Go into Reidsville and try Short Sugar's BBQ on Scales St. Excellent bbq and the best sauce I have ever tasted. Their sauce is so good that it makes supermarket bbq taste pretty good!

                      1. The A&M grill in Mebane is still open according to Yahoo.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: steveindurham

                          I've eaten there within the last year.

                          1. re: brentk

                            Then what could I have been thinking of? It really has been a while since I've been in Mebane. I still stand by what I said about their food.

                            1. re: rockycat

                              I've never had anything there other than their Q so I don't doubt you. I will say that while the Q is good, I don't care much for the sauce and would warn others to ask for it on the side just in case you have the same reaction to it that I do.

                        2. Although the Indian restaurant on Huffman Mill Rd. always seems deserted, the food is great! Namaste is the name and you should certainly give it a try! Don't let the atmosphere keep you from enjoying some great food! We get takeout 90% of the time. Make sure you try out Harrison's. The smoked turkey sandwhich is really good there, as is the teriyaki chicken skewer platters. I also often get their steak and cheese sub or the teryaki chicken pita sandwhiches. Everything there is quite yummy (when needing a quick casual meal).

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: tuthclnr

                              Namaste is wonderful. Don't let the lack of people eating there fool you. It is just that there is a serious lack of adventure in the local eating habits in Burlington. My wife and I go to Namaste as often as we can. Please keep them in business. One of the best spots in Burlington.

                            2. anybody tried the Chop House Grille there? The one in Greensboro is very good.

                              Chop House Grille at Burlington
                              710 Huffman Mill Road
                              Burlington, NC 27215
                              Reservations 336-524-9941
                              Email - chophousegrilleo@bellsouth.net

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: webvanman

                                Chop House Grille in Greensboro closed. Not sure about the one in Burlington.

                              2. I work in Burlington, the food selection is atrocious.

                                places i'll generally eat are La Fiesta (small local chain), a little Thai place opened up about a year ago called Dan Thai, I eat there often. Also Namaste Indian restaurant on Huffman Mill rd.

                                Downtown Graham, I believe, may have a gem or 2, and its pretty.

                                if you head about 20 minutes west, you'll find alot of selection in Greensboro

                                if you head about 25 minutes east, you'll find some lovely little places in Hillsborough.

                                and, as said above, drive 40 minutes west to Durham (where i actually live) and you'll find an amazing and diverse selection of places!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: TSQ75

                                  I work AND live in Burlington. There are plenty of chain selections, and more coming (Buffalo Wild Wings, Red Lobster, Red Bowl) to Alamance Crossing, on top of Mimi's, Red Robin, Olive Garden, and Texas Roadhouse opening in the past year.

                                  As far as local joints go, my personal favorites are:

                                  Zack's (downtown): not too many places left my wife and I can go to and come away full for less than $10. If you like chili dogs, this is the place to go to in town.

                                  Seasons Buffet (Church, across from the soon-to-be-vacated cinema): the buffet fare is standard Americanized Chinese, but there's the Mongolian grill, and even though there's a Crazy Fire in town (on Huffman Mill), I much prefer Seasons, simply because the sauces they have are more authentically Asian.

                                  Village Grill: a little pricey, but it's well worth it once in a while. Maybe I need to get out a bit more, but I think this place has the best seafood in town. I love the grilled salmon with ginger and wasabi. Love their salads as well.

                                  Blue Ribbon: I don't particularly care for their burgers, but the Apple Jack sauce on grilled chicken or as a salad dressing is to die for. The "Atomic Waste Burger" (open-faced with fries and chili on top--ask for jalapenos, too) isn't on the menu anymore, but you can still ask for it. Best sweet tea in town outside of McDonald's $1 diabetes-in-a-cup.

                                  Chop House: pricey, but well worth it. The name alone carries a certain expectation with it, and this place meets those expectations and some.

                                  Sal's is your typical Neapolitan joint, and I like the pasta dishes. They have the best canolis I've ever had outside of New York City.

                                  Alamance Country Club has a great Sunday buffet as well. Pity I don't get invited by members more often LOL

                                2. I was pretty glad when my parents moved out of burlington, but there are a handful of really great places to eat there.

                                  1. Prego (in the parkling lot of the mall) some of the best italian i've had in NC. great owner and chef - wonderful variety of choices as well.

                                  2. The italian bakery across from camera corner on church st. fantastic doughnuts and cannoli.

                                  3. the southern kitchen place off of church - right next to mindstorm or brain storm or whatever. it's a meat and 3 place with fresh veggies and wonderful breads. the hidden secret though is their homemade crackers and pimento cheese.

                                  bistro 420 is next to the blue ribbon diner on church.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: swoon37

                                    Can you please give more info. regarding the "southern kitchen" place for someone not that familiar with Burlington? Is Mindstorm a store? a street? is it worth the drive from Durham? can't find a southern place in the Triangle proper that doesn't use veggies straight out of the can. I found a place in Burlington called "Delancy's" with good online reviews. Is that the one?

                                    1. re: swoon37

                                      What is the name of the southern place off of Church? Thanks!

                                      1. re: darunc80

                                        It is Delancey's, and Mindtorm is a kids store, I think. The easiest way to describe it is behind Lowe's Hardware on the East side of Lowe's.

                                    2. When I had relatives living in Graham we ate at Pulcinella in Graham several times, and it was very tasty, especially the pasta specials.

                                      1. Regarding bbq in the immediate area, A&M in nearby Mebane is very much still open, and their cue is pretty good (but used to be better). Hursey's is better imho, and it does appear as if it's cooked over wood, as there are non-decorative slabs of hickory outside and piles of wood ashes. they have two locations now, one on the south side of 85/40, and one on the north side (somewhat near downtown on Church). The one north of 85/40 is the older one.

                                        1. Just got back from dropping my kid off at Elon, and checked this posting before we left. I did not have high hopes for Burlington dining, but came away pleasantly surprised
                                          We had a very nice dinner at Dan Thai on Church St. The ambience was fine -- nicely decorated, plenty of space for everyone. It was quite crowded and a little noisy, but they sectioned it off with screens to keep it reasonably calm. Waiters were attentive and helpful. The owner came by and chatted, apologizing for the noisiness and talking up his restaurant a bit -- mentioned that his chef was a bit of a Nazi about freshness and made the owner drive to the coast to pick up the seafood and some other stuff, then bring it back to see if it meets the chef's approval.. Very pleasant man.
                                          Food was flavorful and fresh. The Tom Kha Gai (ordered "spicy") achieved a tasty balance of creamy coconut, tangy tamarind, and savory galanga and fish sauce with quite a bit of peppery kick. It was a little heavier on the savory than I'm used to, but it definitely worked. The shrimp special -- large shrimps stir-fried in diced peppers and a spicy pepper sauce, with sauteed onions and steamed broccoli -- had excellent flavor, was not too dry or too oily, and tasted fresh. I ordered it "Thai spicy" and it came only moderately piquant, but I didn't mind. One gripe -- the large shrimps were not beheaded or peeled before stir-frying. I don't mind doing the work, but it meant that the caramelization of sugars and the flavorful breakdown of proteins that gives such great flavors to stir-fried meats or seafood was all wasted. The wondrous transformation took place out on the shell, so all that sumptuous flavor had to be peeled off.
                                          The check was reasonable -- even the seafood specials were only $10-something.
                                          I will eat there again when I visit my son.
                                          Namaste Indian restaurant was closed up, but we inquired around and it is apparently being remodeled and will open again in the near future. We'll try that on Parent's Weekend and I'll report back.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: goaterie

                                            We Asians like to eat our shrimp with the shell on :) Either that, or pick it up and suck all the flavor you want.

                                          2. I think by far the best food we've had in Burlington was at B's Bistro, the less expensive and more informal version of the very good steakhouse, B. Christopher's. The Bistro has inexpensive but perfectly conceived and executed starters like homemade hummus with veggies, matchstick fries with aioli, etc. They offer gourmet burgers, European-style pizza, pastas, and other kinds of comfort food like 'fish and chips,' but all done exceptionally well. This is where my husband and I go for "date night." The Bistro is tiny--only 10 tables, maybe, but the staff is friendly and it has a nice vibe. There's also a minuscule bar. And next door is B. Christopher's latest addition, Benjamin's, which is a seafood place. All three restaurants are in row near the Blue Ribbon Diner on Church St.

                                            B's Bistro
                                            Burlington, NC, Burlington, NC

                                            1. I've been to Simply Thai (near Elon University) several times in the last month and have not been disappointed once. Inside the restaurant is really beautiful (modern but simple) and the service stellar. Though you expect thai food based on the restaurant's name, they have some Pho dishes and sushi. The thai dishes have been really flavorful and you can specify how spicy you want it. I haven't gotten the sushi yet, but I'm heading there today for lunch and think I'll try theirs.

                                              1. Warning - repeat alert - hopefully I'm not repeating too much.

                                                Simply Thai and Sidetrack Grill in Elon, Dan Thai, Irazu coffee, El Palmar, B.Christopher's,(and the Bistro next door), Victoria's Pizza, Prego's, Smitty's (Ice Cream) on S. Church St. and, Zack's (hot dogs) downtown are all locally owned and we eat at each of them at least once per month. The chains are getting better with the arrival of Alamance Crossing, but who needs them? Lots of locals running great places. Beware of poor (slow) service though, and be prepared to just let it slide as lots of places are understaffed right now (economic issues) but I've found it's worth being patient and things always work out. Can't be in a hurry though! Hope this helps...

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: kevind

                                                  We went to Sidetrack in Elon last night and were surprised to find that it had closed after all these years.

                                                2. Do yourself a favor, and a short drive, and visit the Saxapahaw General Store! I'd say it is probably about 15 miles and a 30 minute drive from Burlington.

                                                  See this thread for RAVE reviews:


                                                  1. It would probably be a good idea to start a fresh thread for this area, seeing as how the original post was in 2002 and a whole lot has probably changed during between then and now (August 2010).

                                                    1. Try Mykonis Grill on Church Street. New in 2010. Great Greek food. Always busy but quick and very reasonable prices. I love the Slovaki and Greek Salad.

                                                      Also try Maria's for great, simple italian. They run specials almost every night. Very reasonable, great atmosphere and not as noisy as the big chain restaurants. One of our favorites. Sits in a small strip beside of Lowe's.

                                                      For great thin crust pizza, try Little Italy on University Drive.

                                                      Village Grill is also good but a little pricy. The also own Blue Riboon Grill. Try their grilled chicken. To die for!

                                                      Chop House closed and re-opened as 587 Grill. Pricy. Food okay.

                                                      Kimbers in nearby downtown Gibonville has great steaks and also offers a great deal at lunch. Their food is very good and the prices at lunch are wonderful. Dinner is a bit more expensive but their steaks are worth the money and not coated in so much seasoning that you can't taste the meat.

                                                      Best hot dogs in town are at Skids on Church Street. Yes. It is a dive, but the hotdogs are so good. Burgers are really good too.


                                                      Chop House
                                                      3450 Wrightsboro Rd Ste A203, Augusta, GA 30909

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: Beba

                                                        i wanted to love Mykonos, but I was so unimpressed at the over-americanized style of it. food was just OK