Local Eats Restaurant Round-Up
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.
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
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
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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