Chapel Hill, NC – West Franklin Street might just be the Triangle’s Restaurant Row. From Columbia Street to S. Graham, it’s one interesting eatery next to another.
There are still some old favorites on West Franklin. But turnover is high in the restaurant business and I was surprised at how many cool looking new places had opened up.
That’s part of what makes W. Franklin the epicenter of the food scene in the Triangle – the energy is there. Both restaurateurs and foodies know it’s the place to go to try something new and exciting.
I mean, a girl needs to eat when she’s not selling houses. And Franklin Street is just 10 minutes up the road from my house in Monterrane.
In fact, there’s so much restaurant stuff happening on West Franklin that this story has to be in two parts.
Part 1: The North Side of the Street
Staring at Graham Street and heading back toward the center of town, here’s the line up.
The Chocolate Door
Handmade chocolate and truffles. It’s like you fell asleep and woke up in Switzerland. I mean, what’s not to love in a chocolate boutique?
A mainstay on West Franklin with the college crowd. Fast, inexpensive and tasty.
Another W. Franklin fixture. Sometimes, a slice of pizza is one of life’s great pleasures.
The big attraction is the beer – fresh, imaginative and flavorful. Many signature brews on tap including Flagship IPA (Gold Medal, Great American Beer Festival), Copperline Amber Ale (Gold Medal, World Beer Championships), and Sky Blue Golden Ale (Silver Medal, World Beer Championships). Voted Best Brewpub in the Southeast by Brewpub magazine, and Best Burger in the Triangle by Independent Magazine and the readers of The Daily Tar Heel.
Turkish food. A truly unique experience – the decor, the music and the food. You may not recognize one item on the menu, but everything is well-explained and the cuisine is similar to others in the Eastern Mediterranean. Try Karisik Izgara:
Four different Kebabs in one dish! An inviting combination of lamb chop, -weekends doner kebab-, lamb, chicken and Adana kebabs cooked to your desire and served with rice and greens. A luxurious treat for any lover of kebabs!
Since 1999, one of the most celebrated restaurants in the area. Chef Bret Jennings is known for his unique style of regional American cuisine. He’s been featured in Southern Living and has cooked at the James Beard House in New York.
West End Wine Bar – More than 60 interesting wines on the menu from Picpoul (a modest French white that’s amazingly refreshing on a hot day) to Nero d’Avola, a mouthful of flavor from Sicily. West End also has savory side plates of meats and cheeses in the European tradition, much like tapas. Definitely a date-night location.
A vast menu of Mediterranean specialties including falalfel, hummus, gyro, stuffed grape leaves, wonderful olives and a very fine Chicken Salad on a pita. You will be glad you did not go to Wendy’s. They also serve Fatayers, a delicacy you won’t find too often:
Fatayers are served with fresh feta and mozzarella cheeses on our traditional Middle-Eastern, boat-shaped dough made with certified organic flour.
Casual family dining since 1935.
Cypress on the Hill
Another date-night restaurant. Guys will love the Veal Porterhouse or the Painted Hills Ribeye . Girls might enjoy Stuffed Quail or the fresh NC Dayboat Black Grouper. The latter comes with Maque Grits and Collards.
A place to get a quick slice or some wings.
My daughter loves these sandwiches.
Chapel Hill’s authentic Italian. Risotto di Mare, Penne Al Fumo and Veal Scaloppine are all sure to satisfy. Wash it down with a nice Montepulciano. Lovely patio in mild weather.
Kildare Irish Pub
Not your typical “Irish” pub, owner Dave Magrogan has gone to great lengths to import artifacts from Ireland that recreate the atmosphere and history of Irish pubs. The food is hearty, the beer is strong and the conversation lively.
Lime & Basil
Vietnamese and Pho cuisine. Pho is a noodle soup which can have beef, chicken, fish or vegetables and is great on a rainy Chapel Hill afternoon.
What’s great about this Caribou is that it’s in an old auto service station.
I Love NY Pizza
You can have three pizza joints on one block. Which one do you like best?
Ben & Jerry’s
Sometimes college kids need their Cheesecake Brownie or Cherry Garcia. Sometimes, we all do.
Fast and cheerful Mexican grill.
So there you have it: 18 places to eat on the north side of West Franklin. I have to go for a run before I hit the south side of the block.
What Do You Like?
What’s your favorite restaurant in Chapel Hill?