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Jun 7, 2010 01:00 PM

Raleigh and Charlotte help needed

First time visitors to NC, checking everything out for a possible move to this area. We ae spending 2 days in Raleigh (Chapel Hill) and 2 days in Charlotte(South Park).
We are looking for great local food particulary BBQ, Southern and hidden gems. On this trip we don't want anything to fancy or fussy as we we want to experience more down home, fun food. with out getting to dressed up.
We do have a car and any help would be really be appreciated. We have done some home work but looking for more input. Thanks!!

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  1. While in Charlotte, I'll recommend Dish. It may have that down home style food you're looking for. And it's a good area that can give you plenty to do before or after dinner. While in that neck of the woods, have a drink at Soul, and another on the back patio of Thomas Street, and another while people watching at Common Market, and have a sangria at Cuban Pete's, then get a late night snack and a cheap beer at The Penguin.

    For lunch one day, stop by Price's Chicken Coop (takeout only).

    Not far from SouthPark is a place called Sir Edmond Halley's. It's been a popular local hangout for about 15 years and serves some pretty good food. It's hidden behind Park Road Shopping Center.

    If you feel like popping into downtown (or as it's usually called, uptown) Charlotte, there's a place tucked away in Fourth Ward (a downtown neighborhood) called Alexander Michael's. It's basically a neighborhood hangout with a nice atmosphere. Have a drink there.

    Alexander Michael's
    401 W 9th St, Charlotte, NC 28202

    Price's Chicken Coop
    1614 Camden Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203

    1. For bbq in the Chapel Hill area, the best is Allen and Son, on Hwy. 86 between CH and Hillsborough, just a mile or 2 north of I-40. Don't bother with bbq in Charlotte. In addition to ickymettle's rec's for Charlotte, I'd add Mert's and Simmons 4th Ward restaurant in Uptown for southern, and also Roosters in the southpark area for more upscale southern. I'd also recommend doing a search for Charlotte, there are so many places.

      7 Replies
      1. re: CharlotteChowhound

        For BBQ cheek out the NC BBQ trail

        You will find that there are a few good bbq places to try between Charlotte and Raleigh, including Allen and Son, A&M Grill, and Lexington #1. In raleigh you can try Pam's Farmhouse a meat and three type place.

        1. re: chazzer

          You have to visit The Lantern in Chapel Hill. The place has many awards and the chef is a rising star. It's truly a hidden gem.

          1. re: dineandcook

            Thanks for the suggestions, we have made some decisions but have a few more thoughts.
            Raleigh/Durham looks like a much more interesting restaurant city than Charlotte, with that said, we have dinner reservations at Watts Grocery and it's a toss up between Crooks Corner and Lantern. (Only one night still available) Bbq Allen and Sons or Bullocks or both? Breakfast Amelia's bakery.
            In Charlotte Merts and Sir Edmond Halley's, unless any one else has suggestions.

            Watts Grocery
            1116 Broad Street, Durham, NC 27705

            1. re: rf24230

              The chef at Sir Edmund's is great, he burned out in the north east and opened his charlotte place. The menu is upscale pub grub, but there's nothing upscale about the dining area, very chill and the patio is great if it's not too hot. You have to try the goat cheese fritters. The booze is pricey though, $5 a pint.

              Regarding Raleigh, I'll make this one easy for you Lantern... again, L-a-n-t-e-r-n. Honestly, it could be one of the best places in the southeast.

              1. re: rf24230

                Re. Chapel Hill, I think you'd be fine either way. The two are very different restaurants and I really like both of them. I'd argue that Crooks is more iconically North Carolina than Lantern (which is good enough to not be out of place in New York or Chicago).

                The soft-shell crabs are in a Crooks right now and that is one of my must-eats each year. In fact, the whole James Beard menu they have looks tasty with the exception of the frozen mint julep. They use the same awful lemoned simple syrup that they use for their tea in it (the one time I got it, at least) and the lemon overpowers the mint sorbet and ruins the balance.

                1. re: rf24230

                  Just so you know - Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill are three separate cities (well Chapel Hill is more of a town but I digress). Look forward to a lot of driving if you're going between them.

                  In Charlotte, if you're near Dilworth try The Comet Grill or Fran's Filling Station for "down home fun food". I'll vote for Dish as well. Sir Ed's is usually great but they can be inconsistent quality-wise. I might recommend Simmons 4th Ward over Merts for soul food although you'd probably eat well at either.

                  Comet Grill
                  2224 Park Rd, Charlotte, NC 28203

                  1. re: billyjack

                    Crooks Corner is the originating restaurant for the gourmet southern genre of restaurants, including Hominy Grill in Charleston and the Watershed in Atlanta. These folks do gourmet riffs on traditional southern food. Folks who run these places worked at Crooks with Bill Neal. It is a local treasure -- also just west is Acme, in Carrboro, a similar kind of place.

                    For more authentic, basic southern cooking done well, go around the corner from Crooks to Mama Dip's.

                    The Lantern is a totally different kind of place -- Asian, esp. Chinese/Japanese food, elegantly prepared using local ingredients. It is also a local treasure, but the kind of place that would be a treasure anywhere in the country.

                    Hominy Grill
                    207 Rutledge Ave, Charleston, SC 29403