good cheap (vegetarian) eats in durham and surrounding areas
I'll be spending the weekend in durham scoping out the whole "triangle" area to possible move down there soon and was hoping to get help on any interesting places to grab inexpesive, interesting food - breakfast, brunch, ethnic, burrito bars, veggie cafes, etc.
hopefully relatively healthy on a tight budget!
The actual vegetarian restaurants are rather woeful, but there are many, many places where you can get good vegetarian food. For burrito bars, try Carrburritos in Carrboro--just west of the Chapel Hill line. Also in Carrboro is Weaver St. Market and the Spotted Dog. Weaver St. Market has a hot bar for breakfast and lunch--dinner, too, I would imagine. Spotted Dog is across from Weaver Street, and does nice salads and sandwiches incorporating tofu and vegetarian "meats". These are all reasonably priced, especially Carrburritos.
In Durham, the Federal makes an excellent grilled cheese/avocado. You can also find good Middle Eastern--I'm partial to Neomonde (in Morrisville), but Baba Ganoush is good, too. Saladelia, too (Greek grilled cheese is great!)Guglhupf bakery in Durham puts out excellent bread, and is a great stop for a bite if it's nice out (patio is awesome). Next door is Foster's Market, where you can get sandwiches and a nice slice of pie.
Finally, I am a Locopops evangelist. So I encourage you to go there, on Hillsborough in Durham. They have popsicles of an amazing variety, and very cheap.
Enjoy Durham and its surroundings! We moved here (Chapel Hill) from Boston 1.5 years ago and we love it--wish we had done it sooner.
Weaver Street (organic co-op market in Carrboro) is definitely good for a cheap meal - the hot by-the-pound dinner is the best deal around. Spotted Dog (casual sit-down restaurant across the street from Weaver Street) also makes a strong effort with its vegetarian dishes, and has good beers on tap. And I agree with the Sage rec - it is more pricey than the other suggestions, but still moderate.
All of the Indian restaurants in Durham have a large selection of vegetarian dishes. There are also two fully vegetarian Indian restaurants in the area--Tower in Morrissville and Udupi in Cary. There is also a vegetarian Indian chaat restaurant in Cary. There is a Thai place in Chapel Hill and one in Durham, and both offer the option of making most dishes on the menu vegetarian.
Cosmic Cantina in both Durham and Chapel Hill make a nice selection of burritos and tacos, and it's very inexpensive. I also second the recommendation for Carrburritos.
Actually I've found that most restaurants around here have at least a few veggie entrees on the menu, unless you go to a BBQ joint or a steakhouse or seafood place.
For a very nice (and moderately priced) Turkish dinner, try Talullas in Chapel Hill. It's not necessarily super-cheap, but they have a very large menu full of vegetarian dishes, many of which are inexpensive. Don't miss the mercimek koftesi -- red lentil & bulgar patties with scallion, garlic, mint & spicy Antep pepper. Their salads are also quite nice. Great atmosphere. You can find the menu (including prices) at http://www.talullas.com
Oh I agree 100% with Durhamois, Tallulah's is fantastic, the borek, the little zucchini fritters, smoked eggplant. Gourmet time. but more expensive..
Mediterranean Deli is right nearby a cheap order at the counter kind of place. The food used to be great, now it's so-so. But hey it's cheap & veg. Get a bowl of Lentil soup, some salads & the desserts are homemade.
The markets: Weaver St, Harris Teeter, Carrboro & Durham Farmers Market (don't miss the one at Duke) cater to vegetarians! with wonderful produce: mangoes, papayas, long beans, endive, dandelion greens, purple potatoes, heirloom tomatoes & faux meats. I could go on & on. At home I'm mostly vegan & it's so easy & gourmet.
Eating out; everyplace is accomodating; between the universities & the hospitals they're used to vegetarians. Also check online for the Farmer's market in Durham. I know there is one Saturday in Carrboro in the morning. It's right near Weaver St, with its cheap & great hot & cold food bar. Carrburito's is right nearby & I go there once a week. The food is dead fresh & tuesday's they have spicy tofu as a special side; it's great
I used to live in New York City & then Europe, I adore it here in Chapel Hill. Sophisticated with the nicest people.
Rory - can I just say that I always appreciate your posts. I love your positive used-to-be-a-new-yorker-but-love-it-here attitude about eating out. Last night I got together with a friend of mine from Boston who's been living here for years, but who insists this area is just disappointing and nothing is nowhere near as good as in Boston.