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Butternut Squash Restaurant - Chapel Hill NC?

Does anyone know anything about the new restaurant Butternut Squash? Location is in University Square, in the old Bon's location. Is this still a go? Last time I looked it seemed to be work in progress. Anyone have ideas about opening date? What about menu? Who owns/operates? I live close to this area and am always looking for good places to eat.

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  1. I've heard it is going to be a vegetarian place with vegan options. That's all I know, though.

    1. Wow, exciting! I live nearby too. If I hear anything I'll pass it along, please do the same.

      1. According to the owner, they open July 1. It is all veg with vegan options.

        8 Replies
        1. re: vgtrian

          I wonder what style it will be. Southern comfort veggies? Locally-sourced veggies? Generic vegetarian place you'd find anywhere?

            1. re: romansperson

              Nice website. They need to correct their address on thier contact us page. It says University Mall instead of Univesity Square.

              1. re: butternutsquash

                I'll ask my usual question: are you licensed for beer/wine?

                1. re: LulusMom

                  i LOVE that it's your usual question :)

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    no alcohol on the menu, but they just opened today!

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      I just got around to reading the Sunday paper last night and there was an article about this place - they will have beer and wine but they are waiting on their license.

                      1. re: romansperson

                        I'll await that moment (typed tipsily).

            2. I went today, and while what I ordered (takeout) was very tasty, I have a hard time believing I paid $8 for the attached. (zucchini and pepper salad)

              I'll give it one more go (and eat in -- I was expecting a more take-out friendly place based on the web site), but I won't be getting a salad. Really disappointed for now.

              4 Replies
              1. re: camdeboo

                Purchase the raw ingredients for that attached photo and I could whip up one on a George Foreman Grill for about 80 cents at most. crazy.

                1. re: camdeboo

                  agree with mikeh. totally insane to charge $8 for that.

                  1. re: camdeboo

                    Oh my. We belong to a CSA and we've got zucchini out the wazoo right now. I woulda made you something twice that size for free!

                    1. re: romansperson

                      What else was on the salad. It looks like cheese and there appears to be a dressing or olive oil drizzled on top. If they are using top quality ingredients, 95% organic, I don't think $8 for that salad is outrageous, or $12 for a green vegetable curry. Using a restaurant standard of 30% food cost on $8 gives them $2.40 for ingredients. I have olive oils that cost as much an ounce. Also, the dish was called very tasty, which should factor into the equation.

                  2. We went to Butternut Squash tonight for dinner. My companion ordered a jacket potato and I got a Thai green curry. We both enjoyed our food and the servings are more than adequate.

                    The waitress is very helpful given the fact that she does most of everything for every table. When we came there were about 6 occupied tables including ours.

                    The Thai green curry was well prepared. The carrots and peppers were fresh and retained a firmness to its texture. The brown rice complements the viscosity of the thick soup. At first blush the serving looked small but it is filling and tastes good to my palate. My friend's jacket potato was really very delicious and sourcream contributed so importantly to the richness of the flavor. The potato was cut into two with salads on the side. I tasted a portion of it from my friend's plate and really loved it. I made a mental note to order it the next time I go back there. The jacket potato is $7 and to my mind should be worth more. The Thai green curry that I got is also reasonable for the 12 that I paid for. The dessert (strawberry cream) was yummy and was a perfect confectionery for the jacket potato and Thai green curry.

                    I would try their breakfast next time and see if they satisfy as much as dinner.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: groucho_nc

                      A baked potato for $7? Really? A 10-pound bag of Idaho potatoes cost $3.99. That must have been some expensive sour cream.

                      Also, $12 for a Thai curry dish is borderline outrageous when you consider that some of the best Thai curry I've had in this country from a home-cooked Thai place up in Virginia comes in a 2-pound container to-go and costs $6.95. I've never seen it for over $10 at a Thai owned place even in high-rent districts.

                      1. re: Amaising

                        On a recent visit to BNS, I learned that the vegan chocolate cake added to the menu - while delicious - was "sourced" from the local co-op. A $5 slice of cake that I could've purchased at the store for, at most, $1.99. If it simply can't be made in-house, why isn't the cake labeled on the menu as coming from the co-op? Seems like food plagiarism, in a sense...

                        And I agree with sarahUNC and some of the others on here: Why does BNS insist on hawking corporate/chemical-filled drink products? Is it a money/contract issue or something? Frankly, that kind of thing doesn't go over too well in this area. We - especially veg*ns - want the sustainable, the natural, and the local, and are willing to pay for it if it's top-notch. Don't let this Southern American town fool you - it's highly influenced by an eclectic, international presence (if you haven't already noticed). We like things with a bit of an edge.

                        Some tough-love advice: Listen - I want BNS to do well, especially since so few strictly-veg cafe options exist in the area. But you've GOT to step it up! I can't say it enough. When pan-frying tofu for the vegan club, marinade it in tamari sauce or something. Don't just serve it plain. Nix the veganaise/dijon mustard/any other ingredient found in Average Person's fridge, and replace it with vegan chipotle mayo or a sweet, curried mustard or some other inventive housemade concoction...

                        Kick things up a notch. Keep it interesting. And original.

                        1. re: crazy_flakes

                          You mention the Pepsi sponsorship -- I thought that was odd too, and then I started noticing it in many of the local restaurant ads in the Independent. I assume Pepsi is giving them all a break on their soda prices if they put the logo on their ads and in their signs.

                    2. Went to Butternut Squash for dinner last night - their first night open. It was good - they are still working out the kinks (it was their first day open after all) but definitely worth supporting. Prices are on the high end (understand the fresh/local/organic thing), vegan options were not clearly labeled (some menu options showed vegan but some that were vegan were not labeled as such, so we had to ask a lot of questions), but staff is helpful! My vegan club sandwich and sweet potato fries were tasty though the ciabatta bread was too hard to use for a club sandwich. (told the chef so and he said he would work on it)
                      Next time I'm gonna go for breakfast and try the vegan biscuits and gravy!

                      1. If it is anything like the Laughing Seed Cafe in Asheville, it should be a hit especially with majority of Carrboro crowd., and if you are still hammering out the menu, I'd look at things they have that you could add to round it out a bit more. Too bad there wasn't space closer to that side of town. Also, would local sourcing make it less or more expensive?

                        Also, looking at the website, and especially under the reasons to go vegetarian, numbers five and six need some modification. First of all, plenty of crops are sprayed with chemicals. Also, plenty of places use growth hormones for better/bigger crops. Maybe not as much as you hear about with beef. If you include the words organic or naturally grown on this page then maybe these statements are true. I understand your point some of the language needs to be altered and would only do so if all your items are organic and free of such materials.

                        In any case, I wish you much success. It seems as though it has been awhile since there was a truly, dedicated vegetarian and vegan only restaurant.

                        1. I went there for lunch yesterday and it was amazing! I got the Tempeh Hot Wings- which came with a wonderful sauce and a nice crunch and the Sweet Potato Fries- which were perfect, not greasy at all and full of flavor! I think the prices are comparable to similar local restaurants, such as Spotted Dog or Penang- with a much more diverse and interesting menu! Definitely try it out!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jillybean2

                            How is their menu more diverse than Penang?

                          2. I went back to Butternut Squash twice this weekend (after also going on opening night). I was impressed each time. Friday night I ordered the entree Thai Style Seitan Skewers (served with peanut lime sauce ,coconut rice and snow peas - all vegan) and it was amazing. A decent size portion and just the right balance of flavors. It's one of the higher price items on the menu, but I think its worth it.
                            Then, I went back for their brunch on Sunday. I ordered the biscuits and gravy and my partner ordered the pancakes w/ fruit. Both were absolutely delicious, and both are vegan. The pancakes were a large portion and very filling, the biscuits were filling but not excessively so - just a perfect amount of food.
                            They said they are going to be changing their hours for the summer only, until the students come back as its a little too slow. They will only be serving breakfast on sundays as "brunch" and the rest of the week they will only be open for lunch and dinner. I really hope they do open for breakfast once the students come back, because its delicious and there aren't many vegan breakfast options in the triangle.

                            1. As vegetarians and cheerleaders for eateries which focus on local/organic cuisine, we hurriedly and excitedly decided to give Butternut Squash a go for dinner this weekend.

                              At first glance, the cafe -- located on the back-end of an unassuming strip mall (University Square) -- has a simple, clean, airy yet sophisticated feel upon arrival... save the Crayon-drawn "Butternut Squash Now Open" sign seemingly ripped from a grade school notebook taped to the window. But nevertheless, a minor distraction, it was.

                              We were cheerfully greeted by our host who requested our seating preference; our server was just as friendly throughout the night. The menu options looked exotic and flavorful (no boring ol' portobello mushroom sandwiches or pasta n' marinara here!) Tongues wagging and eyes wide, we ordered the Thai-style seitan skewers with peanut-lime sauce atop a bed of rice bathed in coconut milk and sesame seeds, and the nightly special, a nut-encrusted fried green tomato sandwich dressed with goat cheese and red pepper aoili.

                              We were first presented with a side plate of homemade bread sprinkled with herbs. While we more than appreciated the homemade, from-scratch approach, the slices' size was seemingly more suited for an infant rather than for two adults. We wondered if it was purposefully made gluten-free, as it also tasted quite bland. We sprinkled a dash of salt in its accompanying olive oil dipping dish to appease our palates.

                              While the seitan dish was good, it wasn't great. The seitan itself was a tad too burnt, and could've used more peanut-lime sauce to even out the typical dry texture of the seitan. And while the sauce, coconut milk, and perfectly-sized and -grilled snowpeas added a nice, zen-inspired flavor, the dish could've been kicked it up a notch with a bit of spice (curry perhaps?). My partner ranked the green tomato sandwich as again, good, but begging for more flavor. The homemade veggie burgers at fast-food staple Buns of Chapel Hill, we felt, could hold a candle (or maybe even two) to the latter dish, and at much less cost.

                              Of the two dessert options listed on the menu, we both ordered the fruit parfait -- fresh strawberries, plump blackberries, crispy granola and flax seeds enveloped in plain yogurt. Not horrible by any means, but we felt a facsimile could've easily been prepared at home. Whenever I dine out at semi-upscale establishments such as this one, I expect an equally high-caliber, semi-complicated dessert.

                              Overall, the food was good, but it didn't quite satisfy. I found myself ordering the flash-fried goat cheese with berry reduction after dessert. While that was a tasty departure for the moment, the reduction was almost non-existent -- again, something lacking, something missing. However, the tempeh hot wings my partner ordered quickly one-upped the former experience, as the explosive spiciness of the dish and its cool avocado dipping sauce and sesame-sauced slaw indeed perked up the palate.

                              Although I didn't order a proper drink, I wondered why a majority-organic restaurant would only carry commercialized, chemical-laden soft drink products as opposed to more natural alternatives, such as freshly-blended jasmine iced tea or all-natural carbonated fruit juice. Hopefully this will change, at least somewhat, as the restaurant evolves.

                              I feel that strictly veg*n restaurants need to exceed the expectations of their garden variety, meat-inclusive counterparts, in order to appeal to the evolving tastes of not only veg*ns, but carnivores alike. I've eaten in many veg-friendly establishments throughout the Mid-Atlantic (Boone, Asheville, Charlottesville, DC, etc.), and while Butternut Squash's mission of providing healthy, homemade vegetarian cuisine is extremely welcome, admirable, and inspiring, their food hovers somewhere around the middle of the "taste-o-meter"... at least for now. The vision is certainly there -- as the menu options are quite original and creative -- but unfortunately, falls a bit flat upon fork to mouth. But their customer service is phenomenal, so it seems that Butternut Squash is off to a good start. Having said that, we'll probably return to see what the other menu options have to offer. In the meantime, more zest and portion size would be a nice touch.

                              1. I'll be going here soon and was wondering what items were the highlights and what items they would avoid? Are the tapas better than the entrees? Do they take cards or is it cash only at the moment?

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                  They do take credit cards. I've tried a few things and recommend the Thai Skewers. My second choice would be the tempeh hot wings which is an entree and comes with a choice of sides. i haven't tried the tapas. Avoid the club sandwich - its ok, but the 2 i mentioned previous are a lot better.

                                  1. re: veganturtle

                                    Why don't they serve their gravy, grits and biscuits for lunch/dinner too. I'd love to eat that, but I don't get up that early;-)

                                    I'm going to give them a try.I'm vegan at home, veg out. and want them to succeed.

                                    1. re: Rory

                                      they serve their breakfast menu thru lunchtime every sunday, so as long as you are up and about by 2pm you are good. I've tried their biscuits and gravy and loved it!

                                2. Well I finally got around to eating at Butternut Squash with a group of people. It had been awhile since I was there when it was Bonn's and so I don't recall the decor or the layout save the corner booth.

                                  The menu physically is tiny but easy to read and they have it posted on the outside of the restaurant as well.

                                  The meal is preceded by vegan bread that doesn't really have a shape it just looks like a rough ball. These were tasty but not warm at all and the dipping oil was typical. We were all curious as to exactly what vegan bread is made out of. So I think the bread should be kept warm in some fashion, but the taste while not actually tasting like anything was still better than I guess what I thought vegan bread may have tasted like.

                                  I had the special which was a pasta and vegetable dish. The overall flavor of the dish was good, but the textures were something else. The pasta I thought was a little dry and some of the pasta had been burnt on one side. The crunch from it (the over cooked pasta) was a bit different but not off putting for me. Maybe I'm not finicky enough. I wasn't sure if the pasta was fresh (but was definitely not made in house). The other thing is that it was very oily. I realize the "sauce" was oil based and not like a marinara, but it was overly so. I feel like it should dress it up much like dressing on a salad.

                                  The other members of the party that I spoke with enjoyed what they had. The pizza seeming to be a favorite.

                                  That being said based on the portions for the price I felt like the pasta dish was maybe the only one that was near the mark on price for portion size. All members of the party remarked though that they were full without feeling stuffed.

                                  We did not opt for dessert.

                                  Taking everything into perspective this is what I'll have to say to others thinking about going. Give it more time. The menu needs to expand and the quality of the dishes need to be worked out to be more consistent. One of the diners commented how they didn't even see a butternut squash dish on the menu (though I'm pretty sure I saw it). Also, I will agree with what the majority of the people have said.. the price does not match what you pay for (as far as size of a dish) which is probably the biggest deterrent for diners especially in today's economy. The restaurant does fill a niche that is sorely being missed in that area and the waitstaff and hostess were friendly and accomodating.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                    Okay this vegan went to Butternut Squash tonight and the food was first rate.
                                    We were a party of 3. I ordered the Butternut Squash risotto, it took a while but when it came it was plump al dente, cooked to order - total bliss. The others had the seitan with peanut sauce, got a rave, and the special Eggplant Parmesan, Which was thin slices of fresh eggplant dusted with cashews in a tomato concasse. Delicious, delicate.

                                    These were all entrees and we all agreed (1 man 2 women) plenty of food. The lunch-dinner dishes are smaller. I really could taste the freshness of the produce. Instead of the rolls I would order some tapas. With wine [next week they say] this would have made my evening utterly perfect.

                                    Our waiter was prompt and helpful. We were too full for dessert, but when we heard the dessert special was Vegan Chocolate Cake, they had compassion so we bought 2 pieces and took it home. Oh my, 3 layers, with icing of chocolately deliciousness with a blueberry coulis.

                                    Jazz was playing and I found the room small but very nice. Who would believe it had been Bon's? When they get their wine license this will make Butternut perfect in my book.

                                    1. re: Rory

                                      follow up, the guy in our group who had the seitan, agreed with crazy flakes that it could be more zingy.

                                    2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                      I'm also curious what makes bread "vegan". I make bread all the time where the only fat is from olive oil (so no dairy involved). Do they mean something beyond that?

                                      1. re: Lucydevil

                                        Well it would have to lack any animal by product of any sort and so I guess know the main ingredients in any bread are flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Now it can be made with that and just some water which may be what was done. It can't have eggs or lard.. so I'm not totally sure. Maybe I was thinking about eggs since I've made a lot of enriched bread and wasn't thinking properly.

                                    3. We ate at Butternut Squash recently and thought the food was pretty good, but the main thing that made our visit unpleasant was the woman who appeared to be the head chef in the kitchen. It's a small restaurant and we were able to hear much of what she was telling the other cooks in the kitchen and she was being so mean! There was only one other table of two in the restaurant besides us, so it's not like they were super busy, but she sounded so angry and seemed to scold every employee she conversed with for one thing or another. This is not something I would usually bring up as part of my evaluation of a restaurant, but it was just such an unpleasant interruption to our meal that we couldn't ignore, especially as we heard her gripe about dishes that were part of our upcoming order! I would suggest to that woman to give her employees a break, as I'm sure everyone's still learning since they just opened, or at least lower her voice so as not to make it an unpleasant environment for the guests. Other than that, the hummus/crispy tofu small plate was good, as was the black bean burger and sweet potato fries (and the house avocado dressing!!). The jacket potato was nothing special, I would not order that again, but I'm excited to go back (when they have alcohol) and try something else!

                                      1. Just ate there the other day... Ordered the tempeh wings. Apparently my server messed up in putting the order in, and I had to wait [though I didn't notice - I was eating alone, and reading a book], so I got a free slice of the chocolate cake. I think the guy was in training, and aside from the slightly-long wait, he was perfectly attentive. The wings were delicious, but very filling... though of course, I couldn't say no to that chocolate cake. Biggest slice I'd ever seen for just a dessert, and delicious. Very rich and moist... I regret not being able to finish it

                                        Definitely going to go back with friends, next time I'm in Chapel Hill.

                                        1. if Bon's couldn't make it there, a place that was arguably the best casual country cooking in Chapel Hill proper, sounds like this restaurant doesn't stand a chance.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: mikeh

                                            I remember eating at Bon's twice, but I couldn't begin to remember what I had there. I wonder what would work in that space or is the concept right and the execution wrong?

                                            1. re: mikeh

                                              mikeh - I also liked Bon's and am sorry it closed. I agree it was the best casual cooking anywhere in town. Sometimes you just want a place that makes food like your mother made - no place other than Bon's fits the bill for me. Certainly not Butternut Squash. I've not been, so i can't comment, but so far their menu or comments on this board are making me run to give it a try.

                                              1. re: wintersummer

                                                I was alright with Elmo's .. I'm not saying it was top notch gourmet, but it servers comfort food without being fine dining (a la Crook's)

                                            2. I live about a 5 minute walk from this place, and spent 20 years of my life as a vegetarian. I try to still eat as healthfully as possible, so you'd think I'd be the first in line. But everything on this thread has made me save my babysitter nights for a place I know I'll have good food, good service. And while I'm happy to spend a pretty penny on a good dinner out, it doesn't sound like the prices at this place are reasonable. So if they can't lure ME in, it seems like they're doing a bad job, at least of getting the word out.

                                              4 Replies
                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                Maybe what would do them some good is to have a suggestion box. Not too unlike what you see when you get your bill at some dining places.. but with more emphasis on saying.. 'Hey did you notice that there are no other purely veggie places close by? We'd love to do a better job and we are young and need help to grow.. please give us suggestions to attain our goal of providing the area with a sorely missed dining option..'

                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                  They could get plenty of suggestions if they looked at this thread (and I think i remember that early on one of the owners added a post to say when the place was opening). Things like: make the prices more reasonable for what you are serving; don't have fights with the kitchen staff loud enough that the customers can hear; try cooking more interesting, well-flavored food. I think the problem for them might be that the damage is already done. How are they going to get us in there now that we've read some of the pretty damning reviews? How will they let us know they got our message and things are changing?

                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                    What this section of this site may lack is other chefs (this may be my ignorance) who can help instead of just saying.. this menu needs to change.. say how? Actually, that may not be allowed on this board anywho... I guess if the business model isn't working..close regroup, reorganize and reopen. I guess this board is the best anonymous and interactive way to do it. Has a restaurant ever had a a forum for itself. Something a bit less cliche than a Suggestion Box? I mean we all want to see this type of establishment.. but are there any proven ways that have helped restaurants in the past. Since they are such a rare type of restaurant for the area.. maybe they should have a rare type of opportunity to interact with their customer base to get suggestions of what and how... I'm not sure who of their workgroup reads this board.

                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                      What is the structure of a typical restaurant like as far as business model from a top down approach? I assume it goes owner, exec chef, chef de cuisine, sous chef.. etc (assuming none of these overlap). There maybe needs to be a group meeting and have everyone on board the same boat without being forced. If the panel has had experience in vegetarian restaurant with success and wants to add suggestions to those who may be in charge.. then let it be and see how it works. Eventually/hopefully the ship will be right and the choppy waters sailed through. Who knows.. maybe choppier water will make for a better result if the boat doesn't capsize.... all this sea talk makes me want seafood :-p

                                                2. My google reader showed a response from BNS, but I don't see the post on the thread. What happened to it?

                                                  I just wanted to ask if they had local coffee now. Until they do, I'm not going. I think it's pretty lame to be all about local food and not use local coffee when there are such good local coffee options. Seattle's Best? How about some Larry's Beans? Counter Culture? JoeVanGogh??

                                                  1. I was planning to check this place out this evening, but I've changed my mind now after reading the reviews Oh goodness, can't we bribe the crew from Rosetta's (in Asheville) to open a second restaurant here?! We go into Asheville when near the mtns JUST to hit Rosetta's or Laughing Seed.. but usually Rosetta's now. OMG HEAVEN. I dream of Rosetta's. From the few that have enjoyed BNS, it sounds like mostly students deprived of cooking facilities looking for a decent restaurant option, which is understandable, but sad that you are paying such exorbitant prices for such things. Sounds like we will have to keep going to Asheville.
                                                    To the staff of BNS- if you read this- PLEASE go to Asheville and visit Rosetta's to see what great veg/vegan food is and how to do a restaurant right :) Ugh. Disappointing. I'm going to trust the reviews here. Hmm... perhaps it's time for a roadtrip to Foodtopia/aka Asheville.

                                                    7 Replies
                                                    1. re: bungalowal

                                                      While these boards are meant to help with decisions and offer a sounding board for people's experience, I still think you should give it a try if you are so inclined.. however it may be hard to not compare to other (veg) places you've been to an absolutely love...

                                                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                        Hear, hear!
                                                        "The road of life is rocky and you may stumble too, while you point your fingers someone else is judging you." Robert Nesta Marley.

                                                        1. re: Bayard

                                                          wow I love Butternut Squash;
                                                          I've just booked for Thanksgiving Lunch. $20.00 a head is dead cheap and great

                                                          Butternut Squash Restaurant
                                                          Chapel Hill, NC, Chapel Hill, NC

                                                          1. re: Rory

                                                            As someone who loves it, can you tell some of the rest of us it's positives? What meals have you loved there, how has the service been, etc.? Do you find the prices reasonable. I haven't been, but having keep up with this thread, I'm so far not in a rush to try it, and considering I like to eat vegetarian as often as possible, and live walking distance, that doesn't speak well for the word on the place so far. A different opinion would be interesting.

                                                            1. re: Rory

                                                              Another Chapel Hill person here, also have been following this thread - hey, wait a minute, I even started it! I also live close and would like to know what you've had that's been good. I also like vegetarian - and love restaurants to be successful. I haven't tried Butternut yet, based on the less-than-favorable reviews here at chowhound.

                                                              1. re: wintersummer

                                                                Sure, I'm a vegan at home, cook vegan & have had a food stall. So I'm picky.
                                                                First the restaurant,: is very nice, eleganty with cool jazz playing. I've been there 3 times always, had a great meal and excellent service.

                                                                The Staff: My dad showed up when lunch was over & they served him. that's very nice. the waitstaff are very attentive and friendly. Once when I was there we had to wait for the rolls to finish baking (rain will do it...) and the waitress apologized & came back asap with piping hot rolls, and made sure we had plenty.

                                                                I like that. I like that I was full last time & I wanted their great chocolate vegan cake & they were happy to make it to go, with little side of blueberry syrup.

                                                                The Food: two words: quality & freshness. And a great chef:

                                                                So what is great there: the risotto. It is made to order and you can taste the difference. The rice is al dente not soft. I never had risotto like that in Dublin or New York city. Usually risotto is pre-made and gets resteamed...

                                                                Next, I've been there with friends, non-vegetarians for dinner. We shared tapas first: the olives, the fried goat cheese, which was truly delicious. the bruschetta...we all loved it. You could taste the freshness of the tomato, the herbs. You simply cannot fake that.

                                                                then some wanted a full main course while some of us preferred something lighter. I had the 3 cheese sandwich, which tasted of the farmers market, the avocado was just so ripe, ditto for the tomatoes, just an uber sandwhich, someone else had the 'live' rolls and loved them, another the risotto. Our bill came to around $10 per person. Everyone agreed that was dead cheap for a great meal, in very nice surroundings.
                                                                The chef makes an amazing vegan chocolate cake for dessert. My dad who baked with me & we used Callebaut 70% only, said it's the best he ever had. Quality chocolate.

                                                                I hope I've described why I love this place. They don't have their wine license yet. But I can't wait for Thanksgiving. I usually go with my family for a meaty one at the Carolina Inn, but this year they are really looking forward to Butternut Squash.

                                                                1. re: Rory

                                                                  Good description of what you liked. I'm constitutionally unable to go to a restaurant with no wine/beer license, but once they get one your post will help sell me on a meal there.

                                                      2. Having gotten together with a vegetarian friend over the weekend, I suggested to try Butternut Squash. They had previously lived in the area, but moved away (only to visit from time to time because sig. other was here). Surprisingly they had been before and replied that they didn't much like it. Rather, they thought the food was only okay and the prices didn't match the quantity. They also reflected that the menu options were pretty small. Again we both agreed that it is a sorely needed option, but that there was definitely LOTS of room for improvement.

                                                        Butternut Squash Restaurant
                                                        Chapel Hill, NC, Chapel Hill, NC

                                                        1. I finally went to Butternut Squash about two weeks ago. I had been wanting to go since they opened in July, but with all the bad reviews I held off. I really enjoyed the atmosphere, though the service was kind of slow. I was with a large group on a Sunday night and there were several other large parties, so I think they were just a lot busier than expected. Everyone at the table seemed to enjoy their food; several people ordered the risotto. I tried the vegan club and pretty much hated it, I'm sorry to say. The tofu was not seasoned, the tempeh "bacon" was neither seasoned, nor crispy. The bread was blah and overwhelmed the filling. The side of slaw wasn't horrible, but it wasn't great either.

                                                          I also noted that the online menu is not current with the menu offered in the restaurant. This is actually a good thing, as the restaurant offers more (at least for dinner) than appears online. I would suggest updating the website more frequently (and also carefully proofreading for typos--not trying to be snotty, but it does look unprofessional).

                                                          I will try it again and order something completely different. Sadly, I was looking for an excellent place to go for my birthday, but I don't think this is it.

                                                          9 Replies
                                                          1. re: snackycat

                                                            Snackycat why not try a new place during the week when it's quiet to judge the food. That's what i do. Anyway I'm going for Thanksgiving and will give everyone a report. I'd like to see the new seasonal menu.

                                                            1. re: Rory

                                                              The Thanksgiving is part of the Triangle Vegetarian Society T'giving feast -- is the food going to be made by Butternut Squash or is it going to be the brought in from the main TVS seating at Parizade?

                                                              1. re: statolith

                                                                Speaking of these has anyone tried Chef Shirle(y)'s vegan/vegetarian brunches at Pinhook?

                                                                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                  Butternut Squash is putting on their own Thanksgiving Dinner The chef has his own menu that he cooks: it has nothing to do with the Triangle one.

                                                                  1. re: Rory

                                                                    The card I got for the TVS feast says "we'll also have a seating at Butternut Squash in Chapel Hill."

                                                                    1. re: Rory

                                                                      hey rory, how was the thanksgiving meal?

                                                                      1. re: snackycat

                                                                        They ran out of food! no desserts. we were the last late reservation.
                                                                        sorry to come back so late, applying for the local farmers markets for a stall..

                                                                        1. re: Rory

                                                                          That stinks... Well in the world of Top Chef that is a big no no (running out of food). Did you get a stall?

                                                                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                                                            yeah....I feel badly too as Maisie and Kelly are so nice.
                                                                            Still waiting to hear on my stall:) if we do the chinese meet-up I may bring a crock of the genuing kosher dills pickles my dad is putting up. (this is a real work-in-progress!)

                                                            2. As a long time serious diner with a vegan spouse, we had high hopes upon visiting Butternut Squash recently. I'm sorry to say that the food is basically awful, unimaginative and pricey for the mediocrity. Butternut Squash is the type of veg restaurant that gives veg restaurants a bad name. We tried salads, entrees, drinks, etc. My wife's veg chili was overcooked on bland rice, my salad was an embarrasment of confusing flavors, with cashews, romaine, etc that did not work at all. I've had the opportunity to dine at some of the country's best veg restaurants, ie, Millenium and Greens in SF, Real Food Daily in LA, Laughing Seed in Asheville - and Butternut Squash is not even close. I'd recommend Sage in the Triangle and skip the Squash - it's not worth your time or money.

                                                              Butternut Squash Restaurant
                                                              Chapel Hill, NC, Chapel Hill, NC

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: davidpol

                                                                davidpol - I couldn't agree with you more. I, too, have had the pleasure of dining at Laughing Seed and Sage and honestly, they just know what they're doing. Squash should take some tips!

                                                                1. re: BullCityChow

                                                                  Darn ya beat me to it! I was going to say I'm glad it wasn't just us on the board who felt underwhelmed by the experiences at this restaurant initially. Given that I live in the area I'd be tempted to give it another go. The issue for me initially was that the menu seemed limited and the price point somewhat high. If quality has gone up, but price has stayed the same it seems reasonable to take another look.

                                                                  1. re: BullCityChow

                                                                    I like that the reviewer used the word 'toothsome' for the tempeh - I used that exact same word in describing it to someone else who had never had it! That review also makes me want to try the place now - as long as the prices haven't gone up.

                                                                    1. re: romansperson

                                                                      So Lulusmom, Lulu and I paid a visit to Butternut Squash on Thursday.

                                                                      And we were (mostly) delighted with the offerings!

                                                                      We started off with the tempeh hot "wings" - which were delicious. They were nutty and 'meaty' and the sauce was absolutely wonderful. It had a nice kick to it without being overwhelming. Four of them were $7 and are enough to share.

                                                                      For mains, I had the 3-cheese sandwich with a house salad. Lulusmom had the caprese salad and Lulu had the cheese sandwich from the kids' menu along with sweet potato fries. The sandwiches were terrific - the cheese was a mix of cheddar, romano and a third cheese I cannot recall now, but the combination was spot-on. They came topped with red onion, tomato and avocado (though if I recall corrrectly the avocado is left off the kids' version), and the bread they were served on was fantastic, just enough crunch and bite without being too hard to eat in sandwich form (nothing ruins a sandwich more than lousy bread). I think Lulu enjoyed her fries, too, as she ate almost all of them. Her mom thinks the sandwich might have been a bit too thick for her to eat easily though – she’s 3 so pretty little yet.

                                                                      My side salad was plentiful and very fresh, mixed greens with a sprinkling of goat cheese, large chunks of mushroom, halved grape tomatoes, slices of red onion and a lovely topping of edamame for both color and flavor. I really enjoy the texture of edamame and was pleased to see it used.

                                                                      The only dish that was a bit disappointing was the caprese salad. Not enough dressing and *no basil* - odd for a caprese salad; perhaps that dish needs another name. The smoked mozzarella didn't really work, either - it was very good, very smoky but just not quite the right thing to use in that application. Also, the salad does not come with bread; we had to ask for that. Two rolls were brought out; Lulusmom thought the bread on the sandwiches was superior to the rolls.

                                                                      Also, Lulu had wanted to have pizza but our server told us they had temporarily suspended offering pizza as they were working on making the dough better.

                                                                      The sandwiches and salads are in the $8-$10 range - a little pricey but considering the Chapel Hill location it's to be expected, I guess - the other vegetarian restaurant I've visited in Chapel Hill, Sage, has slightly lower price points but I've seen other folks say on this board that they feel those prices are a bit high as well for all-veg options. I've always felt Sage's quality made up for the prices, though, and based on what I had at Butternut Squash I'd say they are now producing a quality product - the space they are in is unfortunately hidden from view on the back of University Square, but they looked to be doing a brisk lunchtime business so the word must be spreading. The space itself is quite pleasant and attractive and our service was good. I'm glad we went and would be happy to visit again sometime.

                                                                      Also, they still do not sell beer or wine, but you can bring in your own wine for a $3.50 corkage fee.

                                                                      Butternut Squash Restaurant
                                                                      Chapel Hill, NC, Chapel Hill, NC

                                                                      1. re: romansperson

                                                                        We can bring wine; I'm going back with friends;-) I'm really glad as Maisie & Kelly are so nice.

                                                                    2. re: BullCityChow

                                                                      Which Chef? It's their 5th or 6th Chef since the place opened in the summer. They wait staff keeps changing as well....

                                                                      1. re: BullCityChow

                                                                        Wow, that article in the news and observer was right on about the food in the beginning and today. The food has definately not improved. It's overpriced, tasteless and and overall dissappointment. The thing I am wondering about as well is, why does it say that the two owners from London are friends who were both vegan and cared about food? Actuality they are mother and daughter. Why would someone lie to a local newspaper about the truth of their relationship?

                                                                        1. re: chamfnfdlvr

                                                                          Or it is possible the the writer just got the information wrong.

                                                                          1. re: chamfnfdlvr

                                                                            Being mother and daughter does not preclude people from being friends.