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May 19, 2010 12:03 PM

Quick trip to Chapel Hill

I spent a chunk of time in the Triangle during my misspent youth, but I haven't been back in a few years. Making a quick trip (~24hrs) to Chapel Hill this weekend and was trying to figure out what food/drink-stuff to check out. Thinking I may eat at Lantern. I've been before, but that whole David Chang dinner had me so envious that I feel the need. Plus it would make it a McCaughan-themed trip to eat at Mac's wife's place and see his band play.

I've been to a lot of places over the years. What's new/different that I should check out? Thanks.

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  1. Nice dinner at lantern for sure.

    Carborro Food:

    Neal's Deli - only open until four so get there for lunch or breakfast

    Drinks in Carborro

    The Station

    Chapel Hill Food:

    Loco Pops - Killer Popsicles
    Elaine's- expensive dinner but you have latern down already
    Sandwich- just that

    Chapel Hill Drinks:

    Top of The Hill - decent beer
    Lantern- stay there after dinner and get drinks

    Durham Food:

    Piedmont- brunch?
    Watts Grocery- Brunch?
    Guglhupf- pastries/bread/brunch

    Plenty more that are worth a mention but I don't think you have enough time. You need to spend more time down there. You will be back for more!

    Watts Grocery
    1116 Broad Street, Durham, NC 27705

    Neal's Deli
    100 E Main St Ste C, Carrboro, NC 27510

    11 Replies
    1. re: sjomansbiff

      Thanks. When I lived there, I believe Elaine's was there (or maybe I've been since, CRS is kicking in). Burritos were all the rage, but the Bunker et al are all gone last I checked.

      Will have to check the popsicles out. We have a guy in ATL who does really great ones.

      May try to do some combo of Top of the Hill, Carolina Brewery, and/or Tyler's before the Cradle.

      Are there any Sat AM farmer's markets?

      1. re: ted

        Two Saturday morning markets:
        Carrboro (by Carrboro town hall)
        South Estes (at University Mall, Estes &15-501)

        Carrboro is bigger but SE has some good venders. We often go to both.

        1. re: ted

          I agree with Carrboro's morning market, it is nice to walk around afterwards into the town.

          If you get into Durham go to Foster St. Farmers Market

          1. re: sjomansbiff

            Carrboro's market is a great idea. And if you feel like walking/driving just a little farther up Main St, you can stop at Johnny's - Saturday mornings they have the crepes truck set up. Always at least 3 savory and 3 sweet crepes. Very good.

        2. re: sjomansbiff

          Personally I'd skip top of the Hill unless it brings nostalgic feelings. Otherwise agree pretty much with this post.

          A glass of wine at Glasshalfful in Carrboro, and maybe a light snack there would be another option.

          1. re: LulusMom

            I'm a big time beer geek, so I always have to check out the local offerings.

            Thanks, y'all.

            1. re: ted

              The Cradle has a few Carolina Brewery beers on tap, too.

              1. re: ToothTooth

                If beer is your thing then go to Milltown directly across the street from Cat's Cradle, they have a huge selection.
                Also right there is Gourmet Kingdom, nothing in the decor dept, but with great Szechwan food, Friday I saw they had lobster specials....

                Gourmet Kingdom
                301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

                1. re: Rory

                  Yeah, Milltown and Tylers both have amazing beer selections.

                  And Gourmet Kingdom is fantastic if you like szechuan.

                  Gourmet Kingdom
                  301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    See, this just gets better. Thinking now about hitting the bar at Lantern late. Saves the expense of a full meal but I still get to stop by.

              2. re: ted

                If you are a beer geek you have to go to Top of the Hill. But instead of the main bar seek out the Back Bar on the second floor. There you can try TotH's own cask ales! Here is an article about it by Julie Johnson, editor of All About Beer magazine, which is published out of Durham. Other beer joints to check out are Tyler's Taproom and Milltown (excellent Belgian beer selection) in Carrboro. A warning about Orange County Social Club. As they don't sell food they are required by NC law to be a private club to sell liquor only so you must become a member ($10) to drink there.


                For cocktails the place to check out in Chapel Hill is The Crunkleton.


          2. I had no idea Andrea was Mac's wife. That's pretty cool.

            1. Thanks for all the suggestions. We ended up eating at Gourmet Kingdom after a couple beers at Tylers. Great food but the kitchen must've been deep in the weeds b/c it took forever (like 1.5 hr.s). Had dumplings, kung pao lotus root, and the Szechuan fish filet.

              After the show I had a drink and potstickers at Lantern. Great drink, dumplings were good but I wasn't blown away.

              Ended up walking around the Carrboro market this AM and was really impressed. I remember driving by when I lived there thinking it was just crafts and stuff. Now it looks like several of Atlanta's neighborhood farmer's markets all put together. My friends, who live in south Durham, had good things to say about the market in Durham near the old DAP.

              Ended the trip with the meatloaf sandwich at Sandwich. Great stuff. Had chips but they were a bit soggy/chewy. The little bit of carrots with the sandwich was a garlic explosion. Ran out of time for LocoPops and had to boogie back to RDU for the return flight.

              Gourmet Kingdom
              301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

              3 Replies
              1. re: ted

                Come back soon! I clicked on this thread specifically to mention the wonders of Gourmet Kingdom -- tonight my daughters and I feasted on tea-smoked duck, chicken with chili, and beef noodle soup. That tea smoked duck is insane.

                Glad you got to visit it. That place deserves all the business it gets (especially when the service is super-pleasant like it was tonight; last time I went the waitress argued with me saying they didn't have a tea-smoked duck with green peppers. Vindicated!)

                Gourmet Kingdom
                301 E Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510

                1. re: ted

                  I was so hoping you would get the meatloaf sandwich! Sorry to hear about the chips...did you at least get a brownie?
                  [my folks were searching for restaurants in Columbia and saw your post]
                  It was great to see you. Love to the fam.
                  Maria and Rob

                  1. re: mashenka

                    I'll shoot Rob some photos.

                    Didn't have belly room for a brownie. I was kind of thinking I'd get a LocoPop, but realized I had a couple minutes to grab music at the record store a couple doors down and then sprint to the airport. Popsicle would've involved parking again, too.