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Aug 30, 2006 12:48 PM

Cheap Soul Food in Durham/Chapel Hill area?


My husband and I are new to the region and love the regional dishes. We've eaten at Crook's Corner, which was delicious, but we're looking for something that's authentic and cheaper. Anyone know of a good southern/soul food restaurant in the area?


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  1. We Triangle Hounds have had several discussions on this subject in the last year, and the general consensus is as follows: If you want good, inexpensive southern/soul food, go to one of our great local farmers markets, get some great local ingredients, and cook at home.

    A possible exception may be a restaurant in Snow Camp - west of Chapel Hill. I also really enjoy the southern sides at the BBQ Joint. You should search the Board for recent posts.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Chapel Will

      the BBQ joint is really inconsistent. I've had great mac n'cheese there and other times it's been seasoned with the same herb and bread crumb stuff they fry their vegetables in (which has a pretty strong flavor and does nothing for the mac.)
      also, the ribs were awful and dried out.
      the fried tomatoes and fried zucchini were in these huge thick slices, which I mean, i'm not southern but I don't know of any culture that fries things like that. kind of yuck. plus the seasoning not so good.
      i've also had the baked beans which were good if you like lots of pork.
      the desserts are very good, but everything is so expensive i can't say I'll go back anytime soon.
      there was a post on southern food in the triangle by mikeh a little while ago. complete breakdwon with photos.

    2. I think that Mama Dips in Chapel Hill is good for some things. Their fried chicken is very good but I think that the rest of their menu can be a little hit and miss. I also think that most of their menu is a couple of dollars too expensive.

      In Durham I recently ate at the Libery Cafe and was very impressed. I had Beef Ribs, w/two sides and sweet tea for $6 tax in. For sides I had the field peas which were excellent (although it was my first time ever trying them) and potato salad (which was not bad). The Liberty is located in dowtown durham on Rigsbey (I think) and I believe that it is only open for breakfast and lunch.

      Hope this helps.

      1 Reply
      1. re: durhameater

        I've never had any luck at Mama Dips...anytime I've tried their FC I've been disappointed and all the sides were terribly disappointing.

      2. 2 options would be Current Cafeteria on Roxboro Road (variety of specials every day) with drink for $ 5. I would also recommend Honey's restaurant on Guess Road.

        1. The choices are oddly limited and unsatisfactory. I don't know if Bullock's qualifies as "soul food," but that's probably as close as you're going to get to what you're looking for. The only really good Southern cooking I've experienced in North Carolina was at the Red Rocker Inn, in a town called, I think, Black Rock, somewhere in the mountains. We have nothing comparable in the Triangle.

          I have been invited to join a friend for dinner at Mama Dips this weekend. I haven't been in three or four years. I will of course report back.

          1. Has anyone here tried any of the soul food places located in "black" Durham (for lack of a better descriptor)? For example, I'm finding listings for:

            Roy's Kountry Kitchen - on Fayetteville Street
            The Know Bookstore & Restaurant - also on Fayetteville Street
            Liberty Cafe - downtown Durham
            JC's Kitchen - near downtown Durham
            Home Plate Restaurant - East Durham, Wake Forest Highway
            Golden Spoon - N. Roxboro

            A google search will reveal a sparse smattering of reviews, all of which however purport that these places have good soul food.

            2 Replies
            1. re: mikeh

              Liberty cafe (I always knew as Liberty Diner) was pretty good. I believe it's closed now. It was for a while at least.

              The Know Bookstore is pretty cool.

              1. re: mikeh

                The Know didnt impress me much at all...and way too cramped.

                Golden spoon is great for breakfast, but has all the ambiance of a very whitebread rest home.

                I recommend driving into the less frequented areas of downtown Durham near fatyetteville st or alston ave, or even Driver st. and just stop where YOU feel comfortable. some of the best ones are the little stands.

                saturdays and sundays are good times for this, as there's families out and about.

                also friday afternoons, and saturdays are good days to troll around the churches that are inevitably having fish frys!