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My Trip to No Carolina: please advise (Chapel Hill/Carrboro/Raleigh)

I am attending a music festival next week in Carrboro/Chapel Hill area and so far my research has come up with:
Crooks Corner (with a cocktail at The Lantern) for dinner
Vimalas Curry Blossom for lunch
Oakleaf for dinner with a drink at the Steampunk bar in Pittsboro (Winkleperry & ?)
Allen & Co BBQ

Carrboro Farmers Market on Wednesday

We are going to be in Raleigh on one day around lunch time and would welcome a suggestion.

Also thinking of driving to WinstonSalem on Sunday. Is that worthwhile and do you have any food recs for on the way, or once there?

I am open to any cuisine that is done well. Don't want to break the bank.

Many thanks.

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  1. In regards to Raleigh recommendations might depend upon what day of the week it is and what part of town you plan to visit.

    10 Replies
    1. re: meatn3

      I will be in Raleigh on a Thursday in the vicinity of S. Blount/Moore Square and I am coming from San Francisco. thanks

      1. re: saffrongold


        Near Moore Square and open for lunch I would suggest Remedy Diner (mainly veg with Southern twists) , Beasley's Chicken and Honey (Southern specialties by James Beard award nominee Ashley Christensen) or Raleigh Times Bar (local flavor with really good food).

        Plenty of places in that area but these three are solid, reasonably priced and very good examples of the area.

          1. re: meatn3

            Last few times I have been at the Raleigh Times, I have not enjoyed it as much. The service has been rushed and the food not as good as in the past.

            1. re: chazzer

              Good to know - I haven't been since winter. The service has never been stellar but I always enjoyed the food.

              Ideas on an alternative downtown?

              1. re: meatn3

                Beasley's is the current trendy option -- very casual & a bit pricey for lunch but the chef's Beard nomination is well deserved. Raleigh Times is (or was) decent pub food and my experience at the Remedy was just OK.

                For more downtown suggestions, I like Sitti (middle eastern) and Battistella's (cajun). And not too far from Moore Square, there are 18 Seaboard and The Pit. 18 Seaboard in the Seaboard Station area just north of downtown is well-executed dining with a Southern flair and very reasonable at lunch.

                I know the Pit in the warehouse district west of downtown (BBQ but more upscale than Allen's) gets some mixed reviews but if you order right (check the reviews here) you can have a real good southern food experience. Hey, for something really down home, is Clyde Cooper's still open? That's traditional BBQ in a place unchanged since 1938. Worth it just for the ambience. And Mecca is an old timey "meat ‘n 3" lunchroom around the corner from Moore Square.

                1. re: TerryG

                  I had thought of Battistella's but it didn't look as though they were open for lunch.

                  1. re: meatn3

                    I used to swear by the Raleigh Times for reliable genuine pub food. The last couple of times I've been, I was disappointed.

                    I really do love Beasley's. I love the Chicken biscuit - even thought it's messy and the biscuit falls apart before you finish it. But it's so filling (to me) that you almost don't have room for the wonderful sides/snacks. The pimiento cheese mac and cheese is really good. And I *love* the grit fries (with tabasco aioli and chow chow), Last time I had the shrimp and they were delicious. (Very lightly battered and fried local shrimp served with a smoked tomato remoulade).

                    I also love Capital Club 16. I love the vibe of that place. And they have small plates (unpretentious casual good food - German/Southern influenced).

                    1. re: meatn3

                      I was looking at an obsolete reference. They do show lunch hours!

                    2. re: TerryG

                      I think Beasley's is the way to go for lunch in Raleigh. J Betski's is also supposed to be very good, but I've not been

          2. Where are you coming from? It might be more interesting to try things you don't have available at home or, conversely, not to have meals you can get better at home.

            1. The steampunk bar in Pittsboro (I didn't even know it was a bar! When did that happen!) is called Davenport and Winkleperry.

              1. I would suggest dining at Lantern over Crooks Corner...maybe Crooks Corner outside for a cocktail, depending on the weather. We have also enjoyed Kitchen in Chapel Hill.

                Winston can be a bit of a challenge...but for Sunday brunch I would say Sweet Potatoes or Willow's Bistro. Sixth and Vine is decent as well.

                Happy eating....

                1 Reply
                1. re: winefuhrer

                  I think coming from SF Crooks Corner may be a better choice,

                2. Re. Allen & Son BBQ. The general consensus is that the location just north of Chapel Hill (6203 Millhouse Road) is the location to go to, no the one south of Chapel Hill on US 15-501.

                  I might be wrong but unless you just like visiting farmers markets if you don't have access to a kitchen you might wind up hungry.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: LBD

                    You can find a bit of ready-to-eat foods at the Carrboro market (cheese, desserts and breads, the ready to eat stuff from Big Spoon and Farmer's Daughter, the Pig's hot dog cart, etc).

                    1. re: brokegradstudent

                      I am staying with a friend, so will have a kitchen and mostly have breakfast and lunch home-cooked

                  2. Cafe Luna for lunch in Raleigh (on your Thrusday outing) is delicious, reasonable, and nice Tuscan atmosphere. I recommend the "Taglierini del Golfo - Fresh Pasta Saute in Cream with Shrimp, Peas & Red Peppers" for 8.95. The portions are large enough that you'll want to take some home for dinner. Dinner there is just as good but more expensive.

                    The owner is rude to selected guests but his wife has her beautiful paintings from france hanging on the walls which makes up for it. It's located across from the Imax, Science Museum, and the Park.

                    1. When you're in Chapel Hill, have lunch at "The Weathervane" inside a culinary store of gourmet proportions, called Southern Season's. All their dishes are delish and the atmosphere is wonderful unless you are ushered into the back room which has no atmosphere.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SueShee

                        No offense to Sue Shee but I'm not a big fan of the Weathervane. Pretty pedestrian food. The store is great, but probably not much that you couldn't find in SF.

                      2. Durham - Chicken and Waffles at Dames , Vin Rouge for French bistro fare, Watts Grocery - Southern Continental

                        Chapel Hill - Lantern is the big to do, Cholonad for nice Indian (won't argue with Vimalas though), Med Deli is a casual fave for me, A lot of people like The Pig as well though maybe not so vocal on here. Gourmet Kingdom in Carrboro for Szechuan Chinese (not that it would rival anything that SF Chinatown would have)..

                        Raleigh - Mandolin, Sitti, Neomonde, don't know if J. Betskis is still a fave or not and same with Mo's Diner.

                        One note about Pittsboro - if you are there and S&T Soda Shop is open.. sit down with a partner and get one of the largest Banana splits you can get for about $8
                        Cary (between Raleigh and Chapel Hill/Durham) - China 35 and Super Wok have purportedly good sichuan chinese, what I refer to as little india (bunch of Indian shops) is there too with food offerings.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          I am travelling tomorrow and really appreciate all the input. I am leaning towards Beasleys or the Cajun place while in Raleigh, sticking to Crooks Corner because it is not something I can find in SF. I will definitely check out Southern Season's, if not Weathervane. Lots of good suggestions, much appreciated.

                          1. re: saffrongold

                            just curious why durham is not in the scope of your question?

                            1. re: cervisiam

                              We are doing a Segway tour in Raleigh on Thursday but staying nr Carrboro the rest of the visit.

                            2. re: saffrongold

                              Based on what I've read about SF Ferry Terminal market and such. I'd be hard pressed to say that Southern Season will wow you in anyway.

                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                Yeah, SF has a heck of a lot to offer, and the ferry terminal, while touristy, does have some great food stuff.

                              2. re: saffrongold

                                If you want a nice selection of NC food products all in one spot A Southern Season is worth a stop. Otherwise I'd skip it based on the interests you've expressed.

                                1. re: meatn3

                                  We did, in fact, go to Southern Season because the woman I was staying with needed something there. Nice, but nothing out of the ordinary with the exception of Cheese Straws which my hostess insisted I buy.