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Jim's Famous BBQ in Chapel Hill closed

LBD May 29, 2012 05:52 PM

I drove by tonight and saw for lease signs up. Had not been in a long time but can't say it's a suprise.

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  1. m
    mpjmph RE: LBD May 30, 2012 04:12 AM

    Yeah, I'm not surprised. I only went once, years ago when they were pretty new, and it was empty then. I'm surprised they lasted this long.

    1. b
      burgeoningfoodie RE: LBD May 30, 2012 08:46 AM

      I stated that although I'm not overly a fan of such things. Chapel Hill doesn't have a Japanese Steak House to my knowledge and that I thought that one would do very well. Seems like a prime place to put one no?

      Or Bojangles.

      27 Replies
      1. re: burgeoningfoodie
        LulusMom RE: burgeoningfoodie May 30, 2012 11:55 AM

        laughed at your second paragraph.

        It certainly seems like a great location, and plenty big enough for another restaurant.

        1. re: burgeoningfoodie
          chazzer RE: burgeoningfoodie May 30, 2012 12:34 PM

          I would go with the Bo's

          1. re: chazzer
            LBD RE: chazzer May 30, 2012 08:35 PM

            I live nearby and would love a Bo but there's no way they could pull off a drive through there.

            1. re: LBD
              burgeoningfoodie RE: LBD May 31, 2012 07:18 AM

              Well I was wondering because I wouldn't wanna take away from say Sunrise or Neal's or some local places that do biscuits just fine. I understand about the drive through. I thought it was a little nuts when the trucks delivering items there tried to get in there and yeah the line for the drive through would cause issues. Its a bit too big for something like a Dunkin but we have plenty of coffee places. I imagine the interior is nothing special and could be a Western Steer type layout. *shrugs* just my first two thoughts.

              1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                mpjmph RE: burgeoningfoodie May 31, 2012 08:27 AM

                The interior is even less than nothing special. I remember it being very dark, and magically feeling both cramped and cavernous at the same time.

                1. re: mpjmph
                  bbqme RE: mpjmph May 31, 2012 06:34 PM

                  Chapel Hill could use a good gastropub and that would be the perfect location for it.

                  1. re: bbqme
                    burgeoningfoodie RE: bbqme Jun 1, 2012 12:40 PM

                    I'm not even sure I understand what a gastropub is anymore.

                    To that end I would vote for a decent seafood place that is NOT Squids..

                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                      LulusMom RE: burgeoningfoodie Jun 1, 2012 01:42 PM

                      I'd be all over a gastropub, if it was decent.

                      1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                        bbqme RE: burgeoningfoodie Jun 1, 2012 06:23 PM

                        Think The Federal at its best.

                        1. re: bbqme
                          Tom from Raleigh RE: bbqme Jun 2, 2012 07:28 AM

                          I think that space would be a tough one for a "foodie" centric spot. Better to put a foodie spot closer to campus or in the boro of the Carr. I would love love a spot like Butcher & Bee or Two Borough's Larder from Charleston here. Both places are reasonably priced spots that take chances with their menus on things like offal and unique flavor combinations, like fried Shishito peppers with fried duck skin. I blame our low population density for the relative lack of culinary innovation vs. Charleston.

                          1. re: Tom from Raleigh
                            wintersummer RE: Tom from Raleigh Jun 2, 2012 12:40 PM

                            Does anyone remember that space before it was Jim's? (well, it was actually Red Hot and Blue right before Jim's, but I think still owned by Jim). I'm talking about maybe 20 years ago, when the building was first built. It was called McCartney's (I think) and again, I think, owned by the group that owns Spankys/Squids/411. Building was different then, with an open porch, and light and airy inside. They had a great brunch.

                            1. re: wintersummer
                              walras RE: wintersummer Jun 2, 2012 03:47 PM

                              It was built way earlier than 20 years ago. At some point in the 1970s it was owned by one of the Barefoot brothers who started A Southern Season. It was a really good jazz place -- restaurant, stage, bar -- called "Stephen's After All" (sp?) I used to hear lots of first rate jazz there, among very few customers. I guess it had to be late 1970s since liquor by the drink was not around in the early 1970s. I have a vague memory of its being a glitzy restaurant before it was a jazz place, but someone who has better recall than I do needs to chime in ...

                          2. re: bbqme
                            burgeoningfoodie RE: bbqme Jun 4, 2012 12:10 PM

                            Never been (to Federal). Heard too many reports that it was greasy and not worth it.

                            1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                              LulusMom RE: burgeoningfoodie Jun 4, 2012 12:11 PM

                              There is some very good food at the Federal. Probably not the place to take your parents, but a comfortable, funky place with good food.

                              1. re: LulusMom
                                rockycat RE: LulusMom Jun 5, 2012 08:52 AM

                                Actually, we have taken our parents there, a couple in their 70's. It's the only place I've ever seen my MIL's husband finish an entire restaurant meal. And my father likes the burgers.

                                The big secret, though, is that The Federal is a great place for kids as long as you don't go during traditional bar hours. We and our friends have been bringing our kids since they were toddlers and the staff has always been very accomodating and there's always something on the menu the kids will eat. Shoot, now I've let the cat out of the bag. :-)

                                As long as you don't mind very low lighting and a funky vibe, I'd say the Federal is a good choice for a casual meal with nearly anyone.

                                1. re: rockycat
                                  LulusMom RE: rockycat Jun 5, 2012 09:19 AM

                                  My mother would definitely be up for it. But I think of my in-laws going there and imagine the look on their faces and I just KNOW it would be close to tragedy, in their minds. Agree on the kids thing.

                                  1. re: LulusMom
                                    brokegradstudent RE: LulusMom Jun 5, 2012 09:40 AM

                                    I've taken the in-laws to Federal. It has a menu with a ton of familiar stuff. A person (unnamed) could order "chicken" and get something that "isn't scary and weird like Magnolia Grill [where we'd eaten the night before]"

                                    I like that Federal 1) does basics really well and 2) almost always has something interesting as a special. Also, nice rotation of beers on tap.

                                    1. re: brokegradstudent
                                      LulusMom RE: brokegradstudent Jun 5, 2012 11:42 AM

                                      My mother-in-law is deeply offended if she sees me drinking beer from a bottle. She's that sort. Wouldn't suit her, no matter how good the food is.

                                  2. re: rockycat
                                    bbqme RE: rockycat Jun 6, 2012 09:10 AM

                                    That's good advice...besides if you wait too late into the evening you run the risk of their running out of the best special menu items.

                                    Durham has several pubs/bars that serves good food: The Fed, Bull McCabe's, Dain's Place, Geer St. Garden to name a few. What' comparable in Chapel Hill? Spanky's perhaps? The food at Top of the Hill and Carolina Brewery was not very enjoyable the 2-3 times I've eaten there. Nearest decent place is Milltown in Carrboro.

                                    1. re: bbqme
                                      LulusMom RE: bbqme Jun 6, 2012 09:18 AM

                                      Totally agree with your assessment of Top of the Hill and Carolina Brewery. If you're willing to stretch CH to include Milltown, then I'd add Tylers to the list of bars with good food. Not everything on the menu is great, but there are some very tasty things (love the fish tacos), and an amazing selection of beer.

                                    2. re: rockycat
                                      cervisiam RE: rockycat Jun 6, 2012 12:58 PM

                                      i would like to make a side note that if you have kids, you may want to sit in the back room. i love the food, but their slinging of beer bottles into the trashcan is quite jarring. i remember trying to shield my son's ears because the sound of beer bottles slamming against each other is really piercing, at least for an old fogey like me.

                                  3. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                    LBD RE: burgeoningfoodie Jun 4, 2012 06:19 PM

                                    I've never found the food to be the weak spot at The Federal. It's usually really good and greasy might be the last word I would use to describe it. The service I've found to hit and miss though.

                                    1. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                      rockycat RE: burgeoningfoodie Jun 5, 2012 06:47 AM

                                      Tough to complain about house-made papardelle with wild boar ragu or hangar steak at $12 a plate, especially when they're very good. The burger is one of the best in the Triangle and the braised pork sandwich is terrific. Sometimes the garlic fries can be more limp than I'd like, but with that much garlic, it's all good. My main complaint is that the restrooms seem to be designed for people the size of toy poodles. Otherwise, I'm happy to go their anytime.

                                      "Not worth it" is one of the lat statements I'd make about Federal.

                                      1. re: rockycat
                                        meatn3 RE: rockycat Jun 6, 2012 10:21 AM

                                        Couldn't have said it better - love the toy poodle observation!

                                        I've never brought anyone there who didn't enjoy the food.

                                        Service can be somewhat unmotivated and the wait can be a pita at peak times.

                                      2. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                        burgeoningfoodie RE: burgeoningfoodie Jun 5, 2012 07:52 AM

                                        Que Sera Sera..

                              2. re: burgeoningfoodie
                                wvurx RE: burgeoningfoodie Jun 5, 2012 09:44 AM

                                The Cookout folks could make a fortune there.

                                1. re: wvurx
                                  burgeoningfoodie RE: wvurx Jun 6, 2012 08:42 AM

                                  That is potentially true and so could Dunkin Donuts. The thing is that there are several types of similar places all around that area. Evos, Buns, the new burger place in University Mall and I don't mean that just towards a burger joint but for other options as well. I understand Cookouts appeal though.

                        2. b
                          burgeoningfoodie RE: LBD Jun 5, 2012 07:53 AM

                          I know 3 cups is right there but what if they build out the restaurant and turn it into a dedicated italian/french patisserie? Where things are actually housemade.

                          1. b
                            burgeoningfoodie RE: LBD Jun 15, 2012 07:52 AM

                            Anyways back to the post at hand... I would like to see a Yakitori or Izakaya place set here.

                            1. e
                              emazzone RE: LBD Jun 15, 2012 08:14 AM

                              I'd circulate a petition to get a second location of Waraji to open there. The gas savings alone would pay for my sushi. Well, some of it.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: emazzone
                                burgeoningfoodie RE: emazzone Jun 15, 2012 08:30 AM

                                While sushi would be an option.. there are too many sushi places. I want something different and unique.

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