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Feb 2, 2011 06:15 AM

Triangle Tops?

I will be in town for a weekend with my young male heirs and would appreciate some insight:

(1) What are the consistent winners for casual breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the Triangle -- Cary, Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Durham? All ethnic iterations considered.

(2) Can anyone vouch for the pies at Scratch in Durham?

Thank you.


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  1. Scratch - That's easy. Phoebe Lawless, the owner/baker/founder of Scratch is incredibly gifted. Her pies, tarts, and baked goods are outstanding. Not cheap. An empanada there can cost as much as $7, but it will likely be the best empanada you'll eat all year.

    Casual bfast
    Neal's Deli (Chapel Hill) - they house cure their own pastrami! I recommend a biscuit with pastrami and bacon. Killer!
    Saxapahaw General Store - a bit of a country drive from Chapel Hill (about 20 minutes), but totally worth it. This gas station has several tables inside and out and offers some of the best locally sourced casual dining (bfast, lunch and dinner) in the Triangle. Your "young male heirs" will love it.

    Best dinner -
    Always a three way tie for me between Lantern (Asian in Chapel Hill, dinner only), Panciuto (Italian in Hillsborough, dinner only) and Herons (contemporary American in the Umstead Hotel in Cary). Lunch at Herons is a great value, and their bar menu offers great inexpensive fine dining.

    General Store Cafe
    39 West St, Pittsboro, NC 27312

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

    110 S Churton St, Hillsborough, NC 27278

    1 Reply
    1. re: Victus Populi

      I totally support Neal's biscuits. Simple and buttery. I want more breakfast options in town with trustworthy ingredients. I haven't checked their shopping lists out personally, but Neal's has my trust.
      Try to get there before 10:30 to avoid biscuitless broken hearts.

    2. I second the opinion on Saxapahaw and Scratch Bakery - both great.

      I don't know a lot of good breakfast places, but you might try Guglhupf (Durham - German bakery)

      For lunch I would recommend Allen & Son's (Chapel Hill - BBQ), Taqueria La Vaquita (Durham - Mexican - very casual), Toast (Durham - panini), Neal's Deli (Carrboro), or Bella Mia Pizza (Cary), or Neo Monde (Raleigh - Mediterranean), or even Bulkogi (Food Truck based in Durham - Korean BBQ tacos)

      For dinner, maybe Poole's Diner (Raleigh - American), Vin Rouge (Durham - French), Watts Grocery (Durham - American), Jujube (Chapel Hill - "Asian")

      Taqueria La Vaquita
      2700 Chapel Hill Rd, Durham, NC 27707

      Watts Grocery
      1116 Broad Street, Durham, NC 27705

      Vin Rouge
      737 9th St, Durham, NC 27705

      Vin Rouge
      2010 Hillsborough Rd., Durham, NC 27705

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

      Bella Mia
      2025 Renaissance Park Pl, Cary, NC 27513

      1. The Weathervane, Southern Seasons' restaurant in Chapel Hill, does a good breakfast.

        1. Casual lunch? Toast in Durham, Sandwhich in Chapel Hill.

          1. Some great suggestions from peeps! Love Toast and A&S. Some other thoughts below...

            Chubby's Tacos- Durham, Raleigh Great casual Mexican for lunch
            Spize Cafe- Raleigh Thai-VN for lunch, tasty
            Cafe Caturra- Raleigh, Cary Fantastic sandwiches, good for lunch or casual dins
            State Farmers Market- Raleigh For simple NC breakfast
            Backyard BBQ Pit- Morrisville, super casual but good Southern soul food
            Pop's - Durham, strong Italian food and pizza's
            Dains Place- Durham, great burgers and tater tots

            State Farmers Market Restaurant
            1240 Farmers Market Dr, Raleigh, NC 27603

            Chubby's Tacos
            748 9th St, Durham, NC 27705

            Spize Cafe
            121 Fayetteville St, Raleigh, NC 27601