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Jul 8, 2008 08:28 AM

Cheap, Casual, Healthy Lunch Place in Chapel Hill?

We'll be in Chapel Hill for one night and will be looking for a place to go for lunch (we may be doing dinner in Raleigh, though that's not a certainty at this point). I'd prefer someplace that has healthy fare and is cheap and casual, though if there are any outstanding places that are a bit more expensive, that would be fine, too. Any cuisine is ok, though I'm leaning toward salads, sandwiches, soups, etc.


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  1. Carrburritos, Sandwhich, Neals (in Carrboro), Med Deli, Jack Sprat, Fosters

    8 Replies
    1. re: tommio

      Foster's is great. A Southern Season over by the mall also has a salad bar and deli type of thing - it's a cool place to shop too. I haven't lived in Chapel Hill since I graduated in 2002, but there used to be ARmadillo Grill and Acme in Carrboro - not sure if they are still there.

      1. re: Chocolate Toe

        Both are indeed still in Carrboro.

        Add Weaver Street to the mix, if you're good with a lunch buffet / pre-made sammich.

        1. re: peetoteeto

          Isn't Sandwhich moving? Also in that courtyard is Baba Gannoush, totally fresh tabbouleh, morrocan veg, falafels etc..delicious desserts, baklava, etc nuts & honey:)

          1. re: Rory

            I've only heard rumors of Sandwhich moving.

            Baba Gannoush is great, and the owners are really nice. Good addition to the list!

            1. re: Rory

              3Cups is moving to the shopping center on Elliot Road where Whole Foods is. SandWhich is going to try and stay put - but the nutty situation there is making it hard. It's too bad, because that's a nice location.

        2. re: tommio

          not discussing the quality-for-price issue, Sandwhich ain't cheap. I paid $9.60 for my blt with avocado today. I skipped a drink because I really did not want to spend more than ten bucks on lunch.

          1. re: tamalesfordinner

            Med Deli cannot be beat for QUALITY food that is cheap, casual and healthy.

            1. re: tamalesfordinner

              I agree, Sandwhich is delicious but far from cheap. I'd second the vote for Weaver Street (especially if it's a good day for dining al fresco) or Carrburritos, or Med Deli.

          2. I think Sandwhich is going to be the best bet, given what you're looking for.

            1 Reply
            1. Another vote for Carrburritos here, mostly because I love their chorizo. Med Deli is another good option. Haven't been to Baba Gannoush, but have heard good things, plus you can stop by LocoPops for dessert... There is also a new burger place called Buns that is really good, local ingredients and fills the burger void on Franklin St.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mpjmph

                I love Carrburrito's & go once a week. Tuesday is Tofu day;-) and they have fish on the grill, I don't like wraps & order everything as a side which is really nice.
                It's a joint, very clean, with a friendly vibe.

              2. Try Panzanella in Weaver Street Mall in Carrboro. Casual, nice, sit down restaurant where you won't feel rushed.

                Spanky's on Franklin Street has antibiotic hormone-free beef and makes a decent burger, and is better as a lunch place than a dinner place.

                Merlion in Southern Village off Hwy 15-501 South is decent asian bistro food.

                Merritt's Store (also on South Columbia near the 54/15-501 interchange) is a great place for fabu internationally known BLTs, but they are a real old-fashioned country store-type place and only take cash and they have nowhere to sit.

                I cannot recommend Med Deli, Jack Sprat, Fosters, Armadillo Grill or ACME. The other places listed herein are chow-worthy even if a couple of them aren't my personal favorites.

                Since you are from Boston, none of this is likely to feel expensive to you. Alas we cannot match Toscaninni's ice cream here, nor Mary Chungs Small Eating Place.

                3 Replies
                1. re: fussycouple

                  We actually ended up not getting lunch in Chapel Hill, as we ended up visiting folks in Raleigh. Thanks for the suggestions, though. (We did have dinner at the Carolina Brewery--decent food, excellent beers, and it was nice sitting outside and doing some people-watching.)

                  1. re: fussycouple

                    ::Sigh:: Very little can match Toscaninni's, at least in my memory ;-). Although if you're ever in Philly, try Capogiro for gelati. That stuff is so good it should be illegal.

                    1. re: rockycat

                      rocky, have you tried Henry's Gelato in Cary and Southern Pines? Great stuff!