Local Eats Restaurant Round-Up

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Mama Dip’s
Style: Traditional Southern Kitchen
Mama Dip’s has over thirty years experience feeding Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and the rest of the Triangle great traditional country cooking. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner are all served, and they’re all great. Come hungry.
Order: Chicken and Dumplings, Bar-b-que Beef, or good old Fried Chicken.
Where: 408 W. Rosemary St., Chapel Hill.

Gourmet Kingdom
Style: Authentic Szechwan Chinese Food
This place looks and feels like every restaurant named The Great Wall Buffet you’ve ever been in. The Gourmet Kingdom doesn’t serve their food buffet style at all (the first good sign), but serves real Szechwan food made to order. A lot of their food is spicy as hell (the second good sign), and it’s a little more expensive than other Chinese joints ($12-$20 per entree), but it’s all authentic and delicious.
Order: Three Pepper Chicken (if you’re ready for heat), Tea Smoked Duck, Ma Po Tofu, or Fried Lotus Root.
Where: 301 E Main St., Carrboro.

Tyler’s Restaurant and Taproom
Style: Bar, Bar food.
Tyler’s is a great place to get a drink (~40 taps), and the food’s good too. It’s attached to The Speakeasy, where you can get drinks or play darts, Golden Tee,  or pool. Or you can get a roll of quarters and make it the Cutting Crew Jukebox Hour.
Order: A North Carolina beer and a Carolina Burger, or a pizza from their dedicated pizza ovens
Where: 102 E Main St., Carrboro.

Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe
Style: Indian Kitchen
The best Indian food in Chapel Hill/Carrboro comes with a mission of social and economic justice, if you’re into that crap. Vimala has served donation-based meals out of her home for the community since 1994, and opened Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe in 2010. Her kitchen serves up delicious Indian curry, tandoori, dosas, and bhatura, among others. If you feel generous, consider donating to the ‘Vimala Cooks, Everybody Eats’ fund, dedicated to feeding everyone who wants a good meal at Vimalas, even those who wouldn’t be able to afford it otherwise. The cafe is also a showcase for locally sourced food, local activism, local beers, and local artists.
Order: Vegetable Samosas to start; Tandoori Chicken, Kofta Curry (vegetarian), or Pulled Pork BBQ for an entrée, Bhatura to mop up sauces, and a Lavender Lemonade or Mango Lassi to drink.
Where: 431 W. Franklin St., Suite 16

Elmo’s Diner
Style: Diner Food, Mexican
Elmo’s is another great eatery within spitting distance of DSI Comedy Theater. They have non-greasy breakfast food at all hours; yummy sandwiches, salads, and other dishes for lunch and dinner; and (surprise!) pretty damn good Mexican food available at all hours. The super friendly staff can help you out if you can’t decide between dishes on the menu.
Order: Biscuits and Gravy with Turkey Bacon for Breakfast, The Chicken Greek Grilled Cheese for lunch, and the Santa Fe Shrimp and Avocado Bowl for dinner. Also check their daily special chalkboards for treasures.
Where: 200 N. Greensboro, Carrboro (Just west of DSI Comedy Theater).

The Station / Southern Rail
Style: Bar
Here’s a question for you—you ever drink beer in a train car? No, not like riding on a train in the bar car, like, an old train that’s not even moving. Well, here’s your chance. The Station-complex is actually made up of at least four areas—The Station, which used to be a train station but is now a music hall/dance floor/bar; Southern Rail, which used to be a train car, but is now a restaurant/bar; the Bar Car, which used to be a bar car and is now a bar; and the Tiger Room, which used to be part of the train station and is now a coffee shop/bar. Live out your dreams, as long as your dreams are to drink alcohol every-damn-where in the train yard.
Order: a North Carolina beer or a Dark and Stormy, and Loaded Tots (cheese, real chili, bacon bits, onions…)
Where: 201 East Main St., Carrboro (Just southeast of DSI Comedy Theater)

Buns
Style: Burgers and Fries
Pick your patty (veggie, beef, turkey), pick your bun (white, wheat, English muffin), your cheese (tons) your toppings (tons more. Everything you’d expect, plus grilled and caramelized onions, slaw, grilled mushrooms, jalepeños, fried egg, avocado, chili, and smoked bacon), and your sauce (again, the standards plus some exotics. Chipotle mayo, curry mustard, pesto mayo, dragon sauce, and wasabi mayo).
Order: a Veggie Burger (for real) on white with caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and dragon sauce.
Where: 107 N. Columbia St., Chapel Hill.

Mediterranean Deli
Style: Mediterranean
Stare at the display case for a while just get your mind ready for good eating. The menu is pretty extensive, so it pays to take your time. Med Deli has about five different kinds of hummus at any given time, great falafel, gyros, salads, and a bakery where you can get cheesy dough-boats they call ‘fatayers’. Med Deli is a super option for vegetarians and meat-tooths alike.
Order: You kind of can’t go wrong here. A Greek Fatayer, a Lamb Gyro, or a Falafel Sandwich with a beer from the Carolina Brewery.
Where: 401 W Franklin St., Chapel Hill.

Time Out
Style: Southern, umm—drunk food
Time Out is…open 24 hours. I probably wouldn’t go there in the daylight, but I would go there 10 nights out of 5 when I’ve been blessed by Bacchus.
Order: Chicken Cheddar Biscuit, Fried Chicken.
Where: 133 W Franklin St., Chapel Hill.

Neal’s Deli
Style: Deli Sandwiches, Biscuits
Neal’s food is pretty straightforward. All the deli standards you’d expect, made with local ingredients: fresh, hot, and freakin’ tasty. You will regret it if you don’t get a sandwich at Neal’s.
Order: A Reuben (of course) or a Hot Dog on a Pretzel Roll. Get biscuits if you’re there early enough.
Where: 100 E. Main St., Carrboro (The corner of Main St. and Greensboro, next to Open Eye Cafe).

Weaver Street Market
Style: Salad Bar and Hot Food Bar
'The Weav' is a great place to grab a more healthy meal or a quick bite close to the DSI Comedy Theater. Weaver Street Market is a grocery store (a food co-op actually, so there's decent hippie-watching and Subaru sightings to be had) with a large hot bar/salad bar. Also available are ready-made sandwiches, veggie plates, and sushi.
Order: Serve yourself a custom salad, baked chicken, and the soup of the day for a quick lunch.
Where: 101 E. Weaver St., Carrboro.

Carrboro Pizza Oven
Style: Pizza
This brand spanking new pizza kitchen in Carr Mill Mall has made quite a splash with improvisers at DSI Comedy Theater. Good sauces infuse their pizza by the slice, calzones, pasta, and sandwiches. All within a thirty second walk of DSI.
Order: Meat Stuffed Pizza (stuffed like a stocking, yo!), Pizza Florentine.
Where: 200 N. Greensboro, Carrboro (Carr Mill Mall, west of DSI Comedy Theater)

- Contributed by Joe Dawson

Motorco and Durham get Dirty

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Nestled between the Central Park district, and the restaurants and bars of downtown Durham you will find Motorco Music Hall. Right across from the Fullsteam Brewery and within walking distance of the Durham farmer’s market, Motorco manages to encompass the many things that make Durham so unique — a hip, fresh, family environment that still has edge.

In 2012 DSI Comedy Theater made a big move in its bid to bring comedy to the masses by producing improv and standup at Motorco. Performing regularly on Wednesday nights, DSI has primarily made use of “the Garage”.

For the NCCAF however, the larger of the two stages “the Showroom” will play host to some of the most talented comics North Carolina has to offer. There are tshirts that proudly boast, “Durham, it’s not for everyone.”

But personally- if you like to laugh, if you enjoy an exceptionally cool downtown, a wide variety of microbrews, and the edible glory that comes from a food truck- I feel safe guaranteeing that Motorco is a great place for you to catch some comedy.

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— Contributed by Kate Harlow

Stephanie Hasz it all.

Stephanie Hasz is a Chicago standup who celebrates the weird in herself. Hasz’s humor is often self-deprecating, dark, and vulnerable. She gets laughs out of her own ‘little boy’s body,’ aging, and being attracted to a different kind of guy. Armed with dark framed glasses, leather jackets, and a haircut David Bowie would love to pull off, at first glance Hasz is hard to put into a box.

She is a co-producer with Shine Box Comedy, a comedy collective that organizes and runs shows twice a month in Logan Square. She also produces a show called Comedy Secrets, which she says is “a weird mess of a show, in the best way possible.” For each show, Hasz and three other comics share ‘secrets’—deeply personal, often dark stories. “Anything revolving around sadness and self-loathing is fair game. At the end of the show, I have a comic close things out with some palate-cleansing standup.”

In addition to the shows she produces, Hasz has been featured in Chicago at the Laugh Factory, Zanies, and Chicago Underground Comedy. She also writes terse commentary on her favorite lady mag at WTF, Cosmo? This is her first year at the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival.

Stephanie Hasz performs Thursday, Jan 31, 2013 @ 8:00 pm at Local 506 and Friday, Feb 01, 2013 @ 10:30 pm at DSI Comedy Theater.

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— Contributed by Joe Dawson

Harry Potter Open Mic?

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Open Mic Night at the Great Hall started as a single Harry Potter-based sketch by the Boston sketch group Daft Agenda (NCCAF 2012) and quickly became the show I most passionately want to see at this year’s NCCAF. Stacy Thornton takes on the persona of Drusylla Moonstone, a fourth-year Hogwarts student from Slytherin house performing at the Great Hall’s open mic. She draws on both the books and movies to create her one-woman sketch show, complete with poetry, open letters, and Drusylla’s pointed jabs at your favorite Hogwarts students. Stacy, on obsessing over specifics in the Potter world and the origins of the show:

"I wanted to try something snarkier that was strictly Slytherin-centric and then I gave the character more of a backstory. There’s SO much that I love about the Harry Potter universe but I tend to get really attached to certain characters…I think there’s a lot of room for well-intentioned humor there. It’s ALL because I’m a fan, not because I’m making fun of it…A lot of it is based on how I actually feel about things in the series, but I amp it up to an obsessive (and hopefully disturbing) degree."

When you think about it, it makes tons of sense. Of course a castle full of robe-wearing teenagers would have an open forum for artistic expression. Of course members of Slytherin house would have drawers full of letters, poems, and three-chord songs just brimming with ire and teenage anxiety.

I’m just glad we finally get to see it.

Stacy performs Open Mic Night at the Great Hall at DSI Comedy Theater Thursday, 2/7 @ 7:00 pm and Saturday, 2/9 @ 10:30 pm

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— Contribute by Joe Dawson

EagleFox blows it up!

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EagleFox features improvisers Joe Lepore, Adam Twitchell, Will Quinn, Andrew Vuilleumier, Dennis Pacheco, and Peter Collins. According to Lepore, these comic conquistadores got together under the EagleFox banner when…

One day, Will Quinn was washing clothes along the banks of the River Nile. Suddenly, he heard a cry from the reeds. There, inside a basket, lay Joe Lepore, Adam Twitchell, Andrew Vuilleumier, Dennis Pacheco, and Peter Collins. Together, they pulled the sword from the stone, joined the Rolling Stones, discovered Sylvester Stallone, and then formed an improv team called EagleFox. Also Joe, Andrew, Adam, and Pete went to Fordham University together and met up with Will and Dennis at the Magnet Theater but the first story is cooler.

The group performs half their show as a monoscene (a single, extended improvised scene) and then switches gears to a series of high energy scenes inspired and related to the original monoscene. In the words of Lepore, “EagleFox shows combine the best parts of a monoscene with the best parts of a Slacker or a La Ronde. More than a montage, EagleFox creates a world of intersecting characters and themes, and then blows it all up at the end.”

EagleFox has performed at such NYC venues as The E-Garage, The Creek & The Cave, The Triple Crown, The Parkside Lounge, ABC No Rio, and HI Hostel. Along with their official selection to the Toronto Improv Festival, one of their crowning achievements is being crowned Inspirado Champions at the Magnet Theater, defeating 9 all-star teams consecutively in an improv cagematch.

This is EagleFox’s first year at the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival, and aside from the opportunity to perform, the men of EagleFox are looking forward to getting down here because they “have some serious medical issues we need you guys in the Research Triangle to help us out with. EagleFox member Adam Twitchell can’t stop growing toes! Also the Barbecue.”

EagleFox performs at DSI Comedy Theater Friday 2/15 at 1030PM

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— Contributed by Joe Dawson