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LauraB

Research Triangle, NC

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I tried to find a thread for the Research Triangle, but when I clicked on it I got a message saying, 'Sorry, we could not locate the item you are trying to view."  If there is a viable thread, please move this post there.  Thanks.

Anyway, we're going to be spending a week in Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill during the second week of January.  I'd love to get some recommendations of places to eat: breakfast, lunch and dinner, with focus on Durham.  In addition to eateries, would appreciate ideas for any food markets or non-food places that are worth a visit.

Thanks and Happy New Year!

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Littler is very very good.  We didn't make it to Boulted Bread, but lots of other people on the internet did and loved it.

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Just got back from there and had been intending to post on a few places, so will combine that in with some general recommendations.

To start: Saltbox Seafood in Durham is excellent. Stopped by there for lunch, and while you should be prepared for a bit of a wait (it seems everything was cooked to order and they take their time), the everything is outstanding. Collectively we had the fried shrimp sandwich and the fried catfish sandwich, each of which was on a roll with their very good (and even better no mayo) slaw. The fish/shrimp was very fresh and each was lightly fried and not oily at all and well seasoned. Both excellent sandwiches. But the real highlight was the grilled croaker plate - two whole croaker grilled with lemon, rosemary and thyme that were some of the best fish I've had anywhere. That came with some outstanding potatoes that were cut like chips (maybe a bit thicker) and then fried, but so they were still soft in the middle, and slaw. Incredibly delicious. And an order of their hush puppies (they call them hush honeys) to top it off. Incredible meal, and I can't say enough about this place. Very nice owner as well, who is apparently from DC (and was very excited to learn that Ray's is still around - asked about it). Definitely go here for lunch one day.

Beyond that, took customary trips to Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen in Chapel Hill (delicious southern biscuits - get the chicken biscuit - that will clog your arteries for days) and Hillsborough BBQ Company up the road a bit in Hillsborough. My go to for BBQ in this area had always been Allen and Sons, just before Hillsborough, but for the past few years they frequently seem to be mysteriously closed quite frequently (they are apparently still open overall). If Allen and Sons is open, it's always great and a real bare bones, old-school atmosphere. Best pork BBQ outside of eastern NC. But Hillsborough BBQ is a few years old and has been doing great stuff - more of a full restaurant, but laid back and great BBQ. In addition to pork BBQ and hush puppies, we had the smoked brisket (surprisingly always very good for NC) and a delicious cup of brisket chili. Their Brunswick stew is also fantastic, and they've got great mac and cheese and collards.

Outside of food, tried for the first time Durty Bull Brewery in Durham. This place was very enjoyable - they're doing a good amount of wild ales and sours and while they're not at the level of an Aslin or a Wicked Weed (not much is), had a few very solid beers in a nice, laid back taproom. Their rhubarb berliner weiss was insanely delicious if you like sour, fruit-forward beers, and also enjoyed the blond sour ale and the brett IPA. Picked up a bottle of their Imperial Rice IPA to try as well, which I have not yet gotten to. But very nice people here and enjoyable beer, definitely recommend a stop by if beer (and sours) is your thing. Word of advice - the place looked closed when we arrived, so make sure to try the door on the right which opens to the tap room (up a metal ramp). There is no signage and we almost left because we thought they weren't open. Very glad we didn't.

As far as Chapel Hill/Durham generally (I don't really know Raleigh), there is an enormous amount of good food here. In Durham - have always loved Watts Grocery, although haven't been in several years. Mateo is also solid for spanish/tapas, while I have heard great things about Littler and the Counting House. For lunch options, Nanataco and Toast are great. There is probably a ton more that's good, but am not as up to date as I once was. For stuff to do here - the Nasher art museum on Duke's campus is a very interesting one, and it's worth seeing what is playing at DPAC. The Brightleaf Square area downtown has a number of interesting shops and art galleries, and if the weather is nice, swing over to the Duke Gardens which are impressively large. 

In Chapel Hill foodwise - Lantern is outstanding and definitely worth a visit, while I have always loved Kitchen - a laid back French Bistro with affordable prices (exactly the places we need more of in DC).

Beyond that, worth spending a few hours in Hillsborough, a small town just 20 minutes north of Durham/Chapel Hill. It's got a great downtown area which is a few blocks of art galleries, shops, good restaurants (in addition to Hillsborough BBQ company, the Wooden Nickel is a great bar with good food and Antonia's and LaPlace area good), and a nice co-op market (Weaver Street). There's also a great walking path along the Eno River. Worth spending a couple hours walking around here.

 

 

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