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Spending a weekend in Raleigh

Hey folks,

I'm a student broadcaster heading down to Raleigh and the RBC Center for the NCAA women's basketball tournament this weekend. I've got about four days to spend, and not much in the way of work to do. What are some good places to grab a bite to eat in the area that are a change from the monotony of chain restaurants that usually end up making up a road trip.

Pretty much the only restrictions I have are that I'm looking for something affordable for a college student, and that I absolutely must have some good barbecue. I'm driving down there, so I'm not restricted too much by where I'm staying, but I'd prefer to not drive too far out of my way.

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  1. The best bbq in the Triangle area is Allen and Son, in my opinion. Its about 30 minutes or so from the RBC arena, in between Hillsborough and Chapel Hill. If you Google it you'll find the address, its easy to find. (Note: there re 2 restaurants operating under that name, one near Pittsboro (south of Chapel Hill) and one in between CH and Hillsboro (north of Chapel Hill). Only go to the latter...DO NOT go to the one near Pittsboro)

    1. It's not fast food cheap, but J. Betski's is a terrific deal for the money. They do German/Polish food in an upscale casual setting near downtown Raleigh. Most entrees are around $14. Or, sit at the bar and have some little plates for around $8. They've got a nice selection of beers too. I never thought I would be so enthusiastic about German/Polish but it's really, really good and not the type of place you find just anywhere.

      It's maybe 15 minutes from the RBC Center.

      2 Replies
      1. re: dinersaurus

        Fast-food cheap certainly doesn't have to be a criteria. It sounds like, price-wise, it's about as expensive as a lot of chain casual-dining places, which is certainly affordable.

        Thanks for the advice so far everyone, keep it coming! :-D

        1. re: fuzzy510

          Fair enough. Jibarra does inventive, modern Mexican, also near downtown Raleigh, also a mere 15 minutes from RBC. Entrees are in the upper teens, their take on tacos are around $12-13. Great margaritas, good beers and reasonably priced wines. I recommend their NC raised goat.

      2. I would also recommend Allen and Son for barbeque. However, I found the sides to be unworthy of the pork. I understand the desserts are good but I've not tried them.

        On my last trip to Raleigh, I went to a surprisingly good barbeque restaurant. Surprisingly good because it's in a strip center. It's called, "Falls River Smokehouse" at 8320 Litchford Rd. Moist, smoky pork and unusual, I think, for NC, some very fine brisket. The owner is a very nice guy, very dedicated to high quality Q.

        I also went to Mama Dips in Chapel Hill. Excellent, homestyle Southern food. A famous restaurant in the area and justly so.

        5 Replies
        1. re: OldSchool

          At Allen and Son, get the plate that has barbecue, slaw, and hushpuppies. Tell them to keep the hushpuppies, or just don't eat them. You won't miss the sides. Then get one of their yummy desserts.

          I think Mama Dips is over-rated.

          1. re: OldSchool

            You must've hit Mama Dip's on a rare good day, because yours is the only good report I've heard coming out of that place in ages. I will never go there again - the food and service were just awful. If you want simple country cooking-type of fare, try Pam's Farmhouse on Western Blvd. near campus.

            1. re: Suzy Q

              Hi, Suzy Q. You're one of my favorite Chowhounds!

              It's not a good review. The last time I ate their, I couldn't eat the food they brought me. The fried chicken tasted rancid. I moved the food around on my plate and hope no one would notice. No one did because the service wasn't any better than the food.

              1. re: JoanInNC

                Well thank you very much...I'm flattered. :-)

                I hate that Mama Dip's seems to be a real waste of time these days, because I've heard from several friends who've been in the area for a while that it used to be great. It almost seems like the resto has bought into its own hype, y'know? I just think it's sad to see any place that has so obviously just stopped trying.

                1. re: Suzy Q

                  We were there a few times for Sunday lunch. It was very disappointing. It was very expensive too. Mama Dip, or Mildred Council, was there on one of our visits so I got her to sign my cookbook. I do love my Mama Dip cookbook. She was warm and friendly, and very tall!

                  We found Foster's Market in Durham and fell in love. It was our go-to Sunday morning place in the area. I am surprised it is never mentioned by anyone here at Chowhound. We loved the place, the food, the experience of Foster's Market. Is there a reason Foster's Market is not praised by those of you who live there?

          2. The Laziz Biryani Corner which operates out of GoPaks Bazaar on Hillsborough St. in Raleigh offers a nice selection of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian Indo-Pak dishes that are both delicious and massive. Add to that a meal which almost always comes in under 8$ and you have a winner in my book. Their chili chicken is a frequent image in my dreams. Mmmmm.

            1. The Raleigh location of Neomonde is a brief drive from the RBC arena. Wonderful middle eastern food in a casual location. Order at the deli counter and eat inside or outside. A very comfortable place for solo dining too. The location is a little hard to spot: Turn on Beryl at the Waffle House, cross the RR tracks and make an immediate left. You'll see it in a moment on your right.

              http://www.neomonde.com/home/index.aspx

              Further East on Hillsborough you end up by NCSU. Numerous restaurants. Two places on that strip that are worth a visit and are affordable are Porters and Locopops.

              http://porterstavern.com/

              http://www.ilovelocopops.com/

              1 Reply
              1. re: meatn3

                Neomonde was one of our favorites when we lived there. Everything is made fresh daily. I really miss having good middle eastern food. I usually ordered a combination plate and always came home with a bag or two of their fresh baked pita bread, tabouli and hummus.

                Gypsy's Shiny Diner was fun for breakfast. Bojangle's was a very popular stop for breakfast too.

                We enjoyed going to the Farmer's Market for fried flounder at the NC Seafood restaurant.