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Looking for place to eat? Check out the list below. (Thanks to Justin Watt for the original list.)

Feel free to add your own favorites!

(** denotes a noteworthy restaurant)

Chapel Hill

Pizza and Italian

  • Franklin Street Pizza & Pasta: slice of pepperoni, penne w/pink basil sauce, garlic knots
  • Pepper’s Pizza: great counter, chicken caesar salad, cheese slice with bacon and pork bbq, pesto slice, homemade stromboli with over 20 fillings! **
  • I Love NY Pizza: slice of pepperoni or meat lovers (so tasty at 2am after you’ve been drinkin’)
  • Trilussa La Trattoria: small, romantic, homey, italian food **
  • Vespa: quality of food has been so-so since last visit
  • 411 West: whole wheat pasta, fish, dill rolls **
  • Italian Pizzarea III (IP3): Straight out of New Jersey, this west franklin pizzarea has character and class **
  • Aurora: Excellent upscale northern italian cuisine **


  • Bandidos: gourmet quesadillas, shredded beef filling, free chips & salsa!
  • Cosmic Cantina: deluxe chicken nachos and burritos
  • Patio Loco: excellent lunch specials, friendly staff **


  • Sakura: $3.50 vegetarian stir-fry and hibachi chicken stir-fry (order with side of vegetables!)
  • Kurama: eel sushi (on a circulating conveyor) **
  • 35 Chinese: chinese food buffet, especially cheap at lunch (less than $3) if you take-out
  • Lantern: exotic Asian fusion cuisine, wine, swank bar in back **

Fast Food

  • Time-out: it’s 3am and you need bbq with fried okra, god bless Time-out! **
  • McDonalds: find the mcdonald’s down west franklin street, but no drive through.

Pub and American Fare

  • Carolina Brewery: sweet potato chips, good microbrewed beer **
  • Top of the Hill: fried chicken, microbrewed beer, view of Columbia and Franklin **
  • Buffalo Wild Wings: buffalo wings: medium, hot, or teriyaki, potato wedges
  • Spanky’s: A chapel hill institution
  • Carolina Coffee Shop: The grand dame of franklin street never dissapoints, as long as you don’t expect too much **
  • The Loop: a little out of the way, but worth it for the oreo shake

Lunch Favorites

  • Panera Bread: french onion soup, chicken caesar
  • Jimmy Johns: gourmet subs, get the #1 (ham and cheese) with oil and vinegar, no mayo, great jalapeno chips
  • Pita Pit: Pitas
  • McAlister’s Deli: great soup and sandwiches


  • Mediterranean Deli: grilled chicken, chicken souvlaki, baklava, hummus, falafel wrap!
  • Tallula’s: turkish loveliness, excellent mezzes, hip after hours **

Regional Specialties

  • Crook’s Corner: nytimes famous shrimp and cheese grits, carolina bbq sampler ****
  • Elaines: elegant american cuisuine in a stunning location **
  • Squid’s: One of the best restaurants in town (on 15–501) but it gets packed even on the weekdays so you need to get there early for dinner.

Breakfast Favorites and Coffee Fixes

  • Ye Olde Waffle House
  • The Daily Grind



  • Carrburritos: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, flour chips, carnitas (shredded pork), everything here is wonderful! **
  • Bandidos: endless salsa and chips, above ground and located in carrboro
  • Armadillo Grill: cheap tacos, wings, small side of guacamole with chips

Italian and Pizza

  • Amante Gourmet Pizza: super tasty cheese, best *local* pizza for delivery!

American and Pub Fare

  • Tyler’s: draft beer, homestyle food, garlic fries, tuesday is pint night **
  • Millhouse: New, haven’t tried, but heard it’s good
  • Elmos: This cute diner in a converted mill simply can’t be beat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ****

Regional Specialties

  • Spotted Dog: good bar, draft beer, cheese fries, vegan friendly **
  • Weaver Street Market: salad bar, ciabatta bread, grilling and beer on the lawn on thursday nights during the summer, sunday morning brunches **
  • Acme: local foods, local recipes, upscale, sometimes spotty but always classy **
  • Panzanella: locally source foods, accent on veg entrees, sometimes spotty, great for groups, breathtaking location
  • Provence: Excellent French cuisine **

For the Chowhound

Welcome to North Carolina, where Barbeque is a noun. A trip to NC is not complete without a BBQ meal, apologies to you veggies.

  • Allen & Sons: two locations, but hillsborough (15 minute drive) is the real deal. This is the one if you’re only going to have one. ****
  • BBQ Joint: Local, CIA-trained kitchen staff is delightful **
  • Bon’s BBQ: Local, excellent, vegetarian-friendly
  • Bullocks: Durham, 40 minutes. You make it to Bullocks you are a chowhound. It is an experience and a half. **
  • The Q Shack: Durham, 25 minutes. Nice local upstart serving good BBQ and cold beer.

Cuisine in Durham and Beyond

  • Magnolia Grill: Ninth street Durham location isn’t too far to go for the fantastic, ecclectic, tasteful cuisine. Stay for karen barker’s legendary desserts. Resv highly recommended. **
  • Second Empire: A 40 minute drive to Raleigh takes you to one of the most elegant restaurants in the area (AAA 4 diamond). Upstairs is uber-dressy, coats reqd. Downstairs is more casual, but just as good. Reservations are highly recommended. **

Best BLT You’ll Ever Have

  • Merrit Store: Cruise down to the bottom of South Columbia street in the morning, M-Sat, and order a BLT. Be careful not to order a large if you don’t know what you’re doing. This will be the best BLT you’ll ever eat.


  • When Rachel Ray came to Chapel Hill, she visited Caffe Driade, Elmos in Durham, NC, The Barbecue Joint and Mama Dips. All four of these are certainly worth your while.
  • Of course, many were angry that Ray didn’t visit Allen & Sons BBQ, considered the best BBQ for hundreds of miles. Find Paul Jones and ask him to arrange a trip (it’s a fifteen minute drive down old highway 86 from Chapel Hill to this historic Hillsboroug location).