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Jun 1, 2009 09:47 AM

Visiting Raleigh-Durham, Chapel Hill area

Hello. I'm a Boston chowhounder and I'm going to be making a trip to NC in the fall, specifically the Raleigh-Durham & Chapel Hill areas. I was wondering if people could give me some suggestions on popular places that are good & not too expensive that people like to go to eat prior to college football games and/or places that are popular w/ locals/students in the area. My friend and I are going to take her son to visit UNC Chapel Hill as well as around the area as a whole & we want to experience some great places that locals & students like to go.

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  1. If you're going to take a tour of the University then I assume you will be interacting with students on your tour? If thats the case, then I'd suggest asking them what the most popular student places are, since thats a very different question than where you can find the best chow. If you're after good chow, start with a search and you'll find lots of suggestions.

    1. If you're around the NCSU area, I highly suggest Sushi Tsune for sushi. Fraziers (though not sushi) is a pretty good place too but is on the expensive side. If you're around the UNC-CH area, I recommend Don Jose Tienda Mexicana for tacos and other Mexican foods. There are many good places to eat around that campus actually (especially on Franklin Street), so you should have a much easier time finding good places to eat. If UNC offered an EE degree, I'd go there for the food. But alas, they don't.

      My personal favorites are listed among my post here: If you stumble upon a good place to eat while you're visiting, please post about it! Thanks!

      edit: Lime and Basil makes a very good beef pho for a restaurant!

      1. I should mention, my friends son does like different types of cuisine. We want to have some ideas of places that serve good food at reasonable costs prior to our trip. We will of course ask the students where popular places around campus are, but we also want to research beforehand so we at least have some idea as to what is around, which places are good and don't break the bank.

        1. For the "real student" experience when touring UNC, all walking distance or a short bus ride from campus:

          Cheap eats: Cosmic Cantina (also in Durham if your tour Duke), Locopops (again, also in Durham), Pepper's Pizza, Yogurt Pump

          Nicer (by student standards): Top of the Hill, Spanky's, 411 West

          You should also check out the dining options on campus. At UNC there are several fast food options, but it's worth paying cash to check out the all-you-can-eat dining hall offerings. It's surprisingly good for mass produced food from steam trays.

          1. Did you read the article in Bon Apetit last fall?


            That's a good place to start. In Chapel Hill you should really try to have lunch at Sandwhich. For authentic local barbecue (pig) Allen & Sons is great. In Durham there are numerous great places, many mentioned in the article. The Federal is a bar that has excellent food at good prices. Toast in downtown Durham is wonderful. There are also many authentic, cheap, and delicious taquerias. Taqeria La Vaquita now has a sit down resatuarant at 3409 Hillsborough Rd near the Kroger in Durham. Los Comales just north of I85 on Roxboro Rd. in Durham is also good. Have a great time in "America's Foodiest Small town"

            1 Reply
            1. re: PeterB

              In Chapel Hill, here are your best bets:

              Burgers--Buns (best taste), Sutton's (best college experience)
              Pizza--Italian Pizzeria III (authentic NY style), Brixx (chain but good California-style)
              Italian--411, Panzanella
              Square Meals--Elmo's Diner, Breadman's
              Mexican--Carrburritos (burritos, obviously), La Fiesta Grill (about 10 miles west of campus)
              More upscale dining--La Residence, Crook's Corner (southern cuisine), Acme Food and Beverage
              Bars--He's Not Here, Top of the Hill, Spanky's