Chapel Hill

Coffee, Food, & Drinks

*For details about Saturday night’s C19 Pub Crawl and Cafe Trot, please see the Pub Crawl page, or contact organizers Sarah Blythe ( and Robin Smith (

$=Average meal under $10
$$$$=above $60
(V)=Vegan options, (Veg)=Vegetarian options, (GF)=Gluten-free options

Note: establishments are listed in order of proximity to conference hotels, with the first being closest and the last farthest away. With just a couple of exceptions (which are noted), all are less than a 15-minute walk.

Within walking distance of the Carolina Inn and the Franklin Hotel
(* means that it’s also within walking distance of the Hampton Inn Carrboro)

EsspressOasis, FedEx Global Education Center.
Located on the corner of Pittsboro St & McCauley St, this is the closest coffee shop to the conference hotel.
$ <5 min.

The Daily Grind, UNC Campus in the Student Stores.
This campus coffee shop is conveniently located between Wilson and Davis Libraries.
$ <10 min.

Sugarland, 140 E. Franklin St.
A candy-colored bakery that offers elaborately decorated cupcakes, but also brews excellent coffee and scoops gelato. Combine the coffee and gelato for an affogato and enjoy.
$ <10 min.

Starbucks, 103 E. Franklin St.
A very busy but efficient location of the popular chain.
$ <10 min.

Carolina Crossroads, 211 Pittsboro St (inside the Carolina Inn).
This elegant restaurant located inside the conference hotel serves Southern staples with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients.
$$$ <1 min. (Veg)

Buns, 107 N Columbia St.
Nice locally-owned lunch spot for burgers, hot dogs, and fish sandwiches. This is fast food done right. Try the handmade veggie burgers and ask for the curry mustard dipping sauce with your potato or sweet potato fries.
$ <10 min. (Veg)

Cosmic Cantina, 128 E. Franklin St.
This vegetarian and vegan-friendly dive churns out astoundingly cheap burritos at breakneck speed during the lunch rush. A good place for a quick, cheap, and filling bite.
$ <10 min. (Veg) (V) (GF)

Lime & Basil, 200 W. Franklin St.
A good place for a comforting bowl of pho on a cold night. Vegetarian pho is also available.
$ <10 min. (Veg) (V)

*Cholanad, 308 W.Franklin St.
This South Indian restaurant’s specialties include dosas and several seafood preparations, from fish baked in banana leaves to softshell crabs roasted in the tandoor oven. Though service can be a little slow, the food is excellent and the setting is elegant, making this restaurant stand out from the many Indian options on W. Franklin St.
$$ <15 min. (Veg) (V) (GF)

*Sandwhich, 407 W. Franklin St.
This counter-service upscale sandwich shop offers excellent burgers, soups, and wide variety of sandwiches.
$ <10 min. (Veg) (GF)

*Mediterranean Deli, 410 W. Franklin St.
Easy, cheap, and a local favorite. Make a meal out of the huge selection in the deli cases (the tzatziki, spanakopita, and mujjadarah are all recommended) or try a made-to-order fatayer (similar to a white pizza) or souvlaki. The owner, Jamil Kadoura, is well-known in town for his community spirit and charity.
$ <10 min. (GF) (V) (Veg)

*Lantern, 423 W. Franklin St.
James Beard award-winning chef Andrea Reusing has made this upscale and elegant Asian fusion restaurant into one of the fifty best restaurants in America, according to Gourmet Magazine. Reservations are a must, as are the seasonally-inspired appetizers, desserts, and cocktails.
$$$ <15 min. (GF) (Veg)

*Kipos, 431 W. Franklin St.
A newcomer to Franklin Street, Kipos offers a mostly Greek menu in a lovely setting – the meze spreads and dips, handmade phyllo pies, and grilled octopus are especially delicious. During dinner, a belly dancer and live musician make this place lively for some, too loud for others.
$$ <15 min. (Veg)

*Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe, 431 W. Franklin St.
This conscientious restaurant run by community activist Vimala Rajendran is an especially good choice for those seeking gluten-free and vegan options. The samosa chole chaat and kofta curry are highly recommended.
$ <15 min. (Veg) (V) (GF)

*Crook’s Corner, 610 W. Franklin St.
A Southern food institution, this James Beard award-winning restaurant has been serving classic fare like shrimp & grits, hoppin’ john, and jalapeno hushpuppies for over thirty years. Dinner can be a little pricey, but Sunday brunch is delicious and affordable, and reservations are a must.
$$$ <15 min. (Veg)

*Mama Dip’s, 408 W. Rosemary St.
Mildred Council, also known as Mama Dip, opened this restaurant in 1976 and it is still turning out Southern and soul food staples. The fried chicken, baking powder biscuits, country ham, and greens of the day are consistently delicious.
$$ <15 min.

Foster’s Market, 750 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
A long and hilly hike from the Carolina Inn, this gourmet café can be reached on foot but is perhaps best reached by car. It’s a lovely place to enjoy an iced tea and a cheddar-herb biscuit after browsing next door at Flyleaf Books, an excellent independent bookstore.
$ <20 min. (Veg)

Kitchen, 764 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
A small French-American bistro next to Foster’s, Kitchen has quickly become a Chapel Hill favorite, offering several varieties of mussels and frites, hot and cold small plates, and a short but thoughtful wine selection. Reservations recommended.
$$ <20 min. (Veg)

Linda’s, 203 E. Franklin St.
A familiar dive for generations of UNC grad students. Cheap pints, satisfying cheese fries.
$ <10 min.

The Dead Mule, 303 W. Franklin St.
Next door to the Franklin Hotel, this unassuming bar boasts an impressive array of whiskeys. When the weather’s nice, the front porch is great for people-watching.
$ <10 min.

The Crunkleton, 320 W. Franklin St.
Pricey and a little affected, but the cocktails are excellent, and the mission-style furniture is cozy.
$$ <10 min.

*Lantern Bar, 423 W. Franklin St.
Intimate and sophisticated, this small bar tucked behind Lantern Restaurant is a great place to enjoy the late-night dim sum menu and a cocktail mixed by the knowledgeable bartenders.
$$ <15 min.

*West End Wine Bar, 450 W. Franklin St.
West End boasts an affordable wine list and a great rooftop porch, though it can fill up with undergraduates on weekends.
$ <15 min.

Within walking distance of the Hampton Inn Carrboro

Jessee’s Coffee, 401 E. Franklin St.
The best cup of coffee in town, as well as tasty breakfast and lunch options.
$ <5 min. (Veg)

Bread and Butter, 503 W. Rosemary St.
This offbeat, quiet bakery and coffee shop is an excellent place to get work done while enjoying a fresh blueberry scone, honey-glazed cinnamon bun, or brioche roll.
$ <5 min. (Veg)

Open Eye Café, 101 S. Greensboro St.
Always full of grad students, cyclists, and mismatched furniture, this quintessential Carrboro coffee shop serves great espresso drinks and fresh pastries from local German bakery Guglhupf.
$ <5 min. (Veg)

Gourmet Kingdom, 301 E. Main St.
Though it may look like just another bland American-Chinese buffet from the outside, this diamond in the rough serves amazing and authentic Szechuan food. Among the excellent choices are the Kung Pao lotus root, salt and pepper shrimp, tea-smoked duck, and eggplant in garlic sauce. A great choice for groups as the food is served family-style, but not the best choice for vegetarians or those sensitive to MSG or spicy food.
$$ <5 min.

Carrburritos, 711 W. Rosemary St.
As the name implies, a delicious burrito joint and a Carrboro institution. Among the highlights: grilled fish tacos, burritos filled with sweet potatoes and caramelized onions, and delicious fresh salsas.
$ <5 min. (Veg) (GF)

Weaver Street Co-Op, 101 E. Weaver St.
Easy, cheap, and a local favorite. Excellent bread, cheese, and wine selection, all of which are best enjoyed outside on the lawn on a nice spring day. The hot bar is a good place to grab a fast and filling breakfast.
$ <5 min. (Veg) (V) (GF)

Neal’s Deli, 100 E. Main St.
Neal’s exemplifies the area’s focus on locally-sourced, painstakingly prepared food. The house-cured pastrami is a specialty, and is found not only between slices of rye, but also on that southern specialty, the breakfast biscuit.
$ <5 min. (Veg)

Acme, 110 E. Main St.
This upscale Southern restaurant offers rich, satisfying dinners and brunches at slightly more affordable prices than its famous neighbor, Crook’s Corner. The fried oyster salad and salmon with cheese grits are highly recommended.
$$ <5 min. (Veg)

Milltown, 307 E. Main St.
Though the quality of the food has fallen off at this gastropub, it still has one of the best beer selections in the area and heated outdoor porch. Across the street from the Hampton Inn Carrboro, it can be a great, laid-back place to enjoy a beer.
$ <5 min.

Peccadillo, 100 A Brewer Lane.
If quirky bars are your thing, then Peccadillo’s your kind of place.  This speakeasy-style bar (there’s no sign – look for the door marked 100 A) located next to a carwash only makes three cocktails (Martinis, Negronis, and Manhattans) but makes them really well. Beer, wine, and charcuterie plates are also available.
$$ <5 min.

Bowbarr, 705 W. Rosemary St.
Filled with found objects and antiques, this quirky bar also serves several novel and reasonably-priced cocktails, such as micheladas (Negro Modelo and homemade Bloody Mary mix), mezcaltinis (mezcal, ginger syrup, and lime juice), and Real Dills (a shot of bourbon chased by a shot of Neal’s Deli pickle juice, which is much better than it sounds).
$ <5 min.

Orange County Social Club, 108 E. Main St.
OCSC’s friendly bartenders, reasonable prices, and trellised back porch make it a favorite local bar. Though it’s not a sports bar, OCSC shows all Carolina basketball games on a big screen to a packed house of Tarheel fans.
$ <5 min.

Steel String, 106 S. Greensboro St.
A newcomer to Carrboro, this popular brewery hosts a constant stream of events, from trivia nights to fundraisers to bluegrass jam sessions. A fun place, and the beer’s pretty good too.
$ <5 min.

Glasshalfull, 106 S. Greensboro St.
A sophisticated setting in which to enjoy an extensive wine list and pricey but tasty small plates.
$$ <5 min.

Within walking distance of the Aloft Hotel

Raaga, 3140 Environ Way.
One of the many reasons to visit this beautiful Indian restaurant are its delicious, rich dishes, such as the eggplant curry and lamb shank braised in dark rum and star anise, all prepared by a James Beard Award-nominated chef. It is also offers a separate menu of gluten-free and vegan options.
$$ <5 min (GF) (V) (Veg)

Elements, 2110 Environ Way.
Elements features sophisticated décor and blend of French, Vietnamese, and Japanese influences that can be seen in the pricey but well-executed menu. The small sushi bar offers perhaps the freshest sashimi in Chapel Hill, a notable thing given the town’s dearth of good Japanese food.
$$$ <5 min

Jujube, 1201 L Raleigh Rd. in Glen Lennox Shopping Center.
Don’t let the strip mall location fool you – Jujube’s elegant atmosphere and tasty Asian fusion cuisine make it a popular, more affordable, and more vegetarian and vegan friendly alternative to Lantern Restaurant. Its thoroughly-curated beer, wine, and cocktail list also make Jujube a good place to grab a drink.
$$ <5 min (GF) (V) (Veg)

Worth the drive in Chapel Hill

Allen & Sons, 6203 Millhouse Rd. (A 15-minute drive.)
A North Carolina barbeque institution, Allen & Sons still wood-smokes its pork shoulders which are served up Eastern NC fashion, that is to say, the meat is chopped and dressed with a vinegar-based rather than a tomato-based sauce. Try a platter with Brunswick stew and hushpuppies, the traditional accompaniments, along with a glass of sweet tea, and you won’t be disappointed. Just beware the odd hours – Allen & Sons is only open 11-5 on Tues. and Wed. and 11-8 Thurs. through Sat.
$$ approx. 15 min. drive

Worth the drive to Durham

Cocoa Cinnamon, 420 W Geer Street.
A favorite among Duke students, Cocoa Cinnamon is known for their wide array of coffees and teas, as well as delicious pastries. Coffee Cinnamon is a fantastic place to unwind for several hours and take in the ambiance of Durham.
$$ <30 minutes by car

TO EAT: (listed from priciest to cheapest)
Mateo Bar de Tapas, 109 West Chapel Hill Drive.
Mateo’s tapas menu blends the flavors of Spain with the flavors and ingredients of traditional Southern cuisine. Named as one of Southern Living’s five best new restaurants of 2013, Mateo is worth the drive.
$$$ <30 minutes by car

Pizzeria Toro, 105 East Chapel Hill Street.
Offering communal-style seating and gourmet ingredients on wood-fired pizzas, Pizzeria Toro is a local favorite. Check out the kale salad—delicious!
$$ <30 minutes by car

Watts Grocery, 1116 Broad Street.
Known for their “New Southern Cuisine,” Watts Grocery is particularly popular among the foodies of the Research Triangle.
$$ <30 minutes by car

Guglhupf, 2706 Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard #1.
Both a bakery and a restaurant, Guglhupf offers amazing pastries with “a Southern German twist.” The combination of excellent baked goods, coffee, and ambiance make it a prime location to relax and work for a few hours.
$$ <20 minutes by car

Parker & Otis, 112 South Duke Street.
Parker and Otis serves breakfast and lunch, but is also home to a large selection of artisanal candies and wine.
$ <30 minutes by car

Monuts, 110 East Parrish Street.
Specializes in donuts, bagels and breakfast sandwiches. Everything made by hand and from scratch using local and seasonal ingredients.
$ <30 minutes by car

Loaf, 111 W Parrish Street.
The front area of Loaf is a small store that has fresh baked goods (mini flatbreads, croissants, etc.) and racks of fresh baked bread loaves in a good many varieties (think almond wheatberry, polenta, pan de champagne). To one side there are large thermoses of Counter Culture coffee, and to the back is a small-refrigerated section with local products (think Chapel Hill Creamery cheese, local jams, Farmhand Foods sausages).
$ <30 minutes by car

Daisy Cakes, 401-A Foster Street.
Daisy Cakes offers an inviting environment filled with pastries, omelets, salads, and gourmet sandwiches.
$ <30 minutes by car (usually has GF & vegan options)

Hummingbird, Broad Street.
Right next to Duke’s East Campus, Hummingbird is known for its signature cakes and biscuits as well as syrups, jams, pickled green tomatoes, marshmallows, ice cream sandwiches, and Watts “New Mix” (house made hibiscus tea, ginger simple syrup, lemon juice, ginger soda).
<25 minutes by car (usually has vegan cupcakes)

Ice cream:
The Parlour, 114 Market Street.
Incredible ice cream and toppings are made by hand using the best ingredients available that supports local farmers and producers when possible. In addition to regular ice cream, try the sorbets and coconut-based vegan flavors. The downtown location sells house made pastries and sodas, and select espresso drinks.
<30 minutes by car

Geer Street Garden, 644 Foster Street.
Serves simple, down home food and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere. The large outdoor patio is a perfect place to meet with friends and neighbors for a pint of beer and a local pasture-raised burger. Sunday brunch is a Durham favorite—cheap & crowded.
$$ <30 minutes by car

Fullsteam Brewery, 726 Rigsbee Avenue.
A production brewery and tavern inspired by the food and farm traditions of the South whose mission is to pioneer the art of Distinctly Southern Beer. Fullsteam Brewery specializes in traditional and experimental beers with a Southern sensibility, often incorporating local farmed goods, heirloom grains, and seasonal botanicals.
$$ <30 minutes by car

Alley Twenty Six, 320 East Chapel Hill Street.
Known for its impressive array of signature cocktails, Alley Twenty Six is an excellent destination for an elegant night out.
$$ <30 minutes by car

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