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Wow me for lunch on Monday in Raleigh-Durham!

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This coming Monday I'm departing RDU on a 2:50 pm flight, but I have the entire day free up until then. I've found a lot of Chowhound topics about breakfast in the area, but the topics on lunch tend to be for specific locations, whereas I have the time to drive pretty much anywhere in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, etc.

I love great food and I'm open to suggestions. Recommendations for Barbecue or Southern cuisine would be fine (and presumably are local specialties), but are not a must if there's some other kind of place - contemporary American, Italian, Thai, whatever - where the food is absolutely wonderful. Where do you go where you know you'll be LOVING every bite?

Money is no object, although I'm already doing two fine-dining dinners during my stay (at Fearrington House and Herons) so I'm not necessarily looking for something high-end.

Again, the only real requirement is that they are open for lunch on Mondays.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. While I wouldn't call it a wow thing, but I always try to suggest lunch at La Farm for people who are departing and for them to take a white chocolate baguette or two with them on the flight. I am not familiar with lunch at Lantern so I can't suggest it though I'm sure others could. I guess I don't see our area as a big to-do for lunches. Maybe Chicken and Waffles at Dames. Maybe lunch at Poole's in Raleigh?

    2 Replies
    1. re: burgeoningfoodie

      Poole's doesn't serve lunch, but if you're going to be in the Raleigh area more so than the Durham/Chapel Hill side of the Triangle then you might want to check out this recently running list of very good Raleigh recommendations:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/919121

      1. re: burgeoningfoodie

        Lantern and Poole's are not open for lunch...

      2. Every "wow me" place I've thought of is closed Mondays...this will be tricky.

        I'll keep thinking! Your Chicago posts were so helpful when I last visited...I'd love to be able to return the favor.

        1. The only one I can think of that might fit this description and is open on Mondays is Rue Cler in Durham. I'll keep thinking but so far everything that crosses my mind is closed that day.

          2 Replies
          1. re: LulusMom

            The best "wow" on for lunch Mondays is Oakleaf in Pittsboro. Blu Seafood in Durham is open for lunch on Mondays. Chola Nad in Chapel Hill is open too, as is Min Ga. All solid but no "wow's".

            1. re: walras

              I've only been to Oakleaf once; I was wow'd, my husband wasn't. I really like CholaNad a lot. That is a great pick.

          2. Too bad that you would have been to Herons they are open and very close to the Airport.

            An is open for lunch, not sure about Mondays, and also close to the Airport.

            http://www.ancuisines.com/

            1. Is the Pit THE place for great barbecue?

              4 Replies
              1. re: nsxtasy

                For me, Allen & Son's is THE place for great bbq. It's between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough. I don't know if they're open on Mondays though.

                Oakleaf in Pittsboro is a good recommendation. The space is beautiful.

                Rue Cler in Durham is also a favorite of mine.

                Here's another suggestion - driving out to the general store in Saxapahaw. It's a charming town, and, though the food is served in a gas station, it can be very good.

                In Durham, I really like Taqueria La Vaquita for the enchiladas. And hot chocolate if they have it.

                Finally, L'Uva in Durham does nice Italian food, and is located in the lovely American tobacco campus.

                1. re: brsmith2

                  Allen and Son is closed on Sunday and Monday.

                2. re: nsxtasy

                  The Pit is excellent for well polished barbecue. It's certainly worth enjoying if you're around and in the mood for barbecue. It's a little pricey and not a "hole in the wall" but they serve very good food. I highly recommend their ribs and banana pudding. Delicious!

                  1. re: Erika RollerGirl

                    We ended up going to The Pit, and we LOVED it! We tried so many things and loved them all - the baby back ribs, the chopped barbecue, the brisket, the onion rings (they look like donuts!), the pumpkin cornbread, the hush puppies, etc.

                    Thanks, everyone, for all the recommendations!

                     
                3. I'll suggest Coquette in North Hills.

                  1. Especially since it's for Monday and a lot of places are closed, +1 for walras's and brsmith2's suggestions for Oakleaf and l'Uva for the good food and local color. I'll also add Pizzeria Toro for salads and antipasti. I think someone doing a food-oriented trip to the area should spend some time in downtown Durham.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: D R C

                      Pizza Toro is an excellent suggestion.

                      1. re: LulusMom

                        I was waaaaaaaay underwhelmed with Pizza Toro. If the OP has good pizza at home, and Chicago has some great pizza, I don't think this is the best use of his lunch time.

                        1. re: rockycat

                          But they have very different pizza, the stuffed kind, so this might fit the bill. And the salads are wonderful (and I like the pizzas a lot).

                          1. re: rockycat

                            I like to focus on the salads and antipasti there (neat olive oil cake with fresh herbs and citrus for dessert too), though we've always enjoyed the pizza too. Sorry to hear it wasn't good when you went!

                      2. Mondays being tough as they are, let me suggest Hummus Cafe on Franklin St. Seriously. It's the best Middle Eastern street food in the area. Nothing fancy, but the best I've had this side of Tel Aviv.

                        1. Here are some other suggestions that people will and won't agree with that have lunch hours on a Monday...

                          J. Betski's (bavarian)
                          Beasley's Chicken and Honey
                          SuperWok (sichuan)
                          Bida Monda (laotian)
                          AN
                          Sitti (lebanese)
                          Vimala's Curryblossom (simple but well done Indian)
                          Jujube (pan asian)
                          Fairview at Washington Duke Inn

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                            J. Betski is closed on Mondays.

                            1. re: meatn3

                              So it is.

                            2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                              I second both the J. Betski's suggestions, at Seaboard Station in Raleigh, and An in Cary (pretty close to the airport).
                              Another to consider would be Elements in Chapel Hill, which is owned and run by the chef that opened An. I have had several excellent dinners there, and it's on 54, with easy access to I40.

                              1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                                I had a very nice lunch at Sitti, I will definitely second that choice.