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Dives in Durham/Chapel Hill

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What are the local chowhounds' favorite dives around here?

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  1. FWIW

    Joe and Jo's for a burger. By no means special from the standpoint of grinding their own meat, etc. All I know is this: I used to sell them wine and often enjoyed the burger there. Enough so that I bothered to mention it on my required weekly sales summary. After I left the job, my old manager commented that my replacement said exactly the same thing on one of his summaries. Basically a good burger.

    The oft-mentioned Super Taqueria. Not sure if it qualifies as a "Dive" but what the hell. Possibly the best taco in the city and you order at the counter so it deserves mention.

    Shrimp Boats for Fried Chicken. Good food+ zero ambiance= likely what this thread is about.

    Of course, ordering an immaculate BLT from the back of a convenience store has to qualify...thus the also famous Merrit Store in Chapel Hill "merrits" mention.

    1. agreed on all counts, especially on merritt's. that is the cottage industry ideal come to life, imho. also must mention j and j's deli for a hoagie (get the "be a hero"--best deal in the house) and IP3 for pizza and cheesesteaks in chapel hill. miami blvd. in rtp--9n9 for banh mi and pho. talk about a dive-- even greg cox said the ambience was lacking when he reviewed the place several years ago.

      1. Where are Merritt's and J&J's deli? IP3? I don't know any of these. I am a fan of 9n9, but not sure if it qualifies as a dive. In my book a dive usually includes an alcoholic beverage, preferably served in a glass with fingerprints all over it. Pho and alcohol? Nah. Okay, so it doesn't have to include alcohol, but you get the idea. Patio Loco has dive potential, but then again, if you serve lentil enchiladas, that zaps you right there. They're pretty good, though.

        1 Reply
        1. re: suse

          Patio Loco a dive?! I guess I have a different definition of "dive" -- I think dark stinky bar-type places. Patio Loco serves one of my favorite dishes in Chapel Hill: wonderful lentil gorditas with fresh mozzerella cheese. However, last time I had that dish there, they used block mozz & the atmosphere seemed a bit off. I was worried the place might have changed ownership or something. Heh, maybe it IS a dive now! :)

        2. Well, Suse does Carrburito's qualify? It's clean;- but you stand on line. Anyway I had a great dinner, fresh salsas, great guac, beans & rice & grilled veg & a Dos Equiis for like $7.00
          Hey that's fantastic. The food was fresh & delicious & the place is buzzing. It's fun.

          1. well, by that def, neither merritt's nor j and j's qualifies, per se-- you can take out alchohol (they're both retail stores) but no thumbprinted glass for the booze. merritt's is on the downside of south columbia heading away from chapel hill toward pittsboro, before you get to the bridge. j and j's is in timberlyne (off airport road north of chapel hill). IP3 probably comes closest to your definition, as they have beer on draft. they're on the last block of west franklin before crook's corner. i guess i didn't realize you meant dive BARS with food... not many around these parts--either the food sucks or it doesn't qualify in your def. see linda's, for example. definitely dive-y, but the food is almost inedible.
            as far as straight dive food, i stand by my recs, and would add fiesta grill to the mix. you can get a beer, there, i think.