Welcome to Orange County! Believe me when I tell you that there is no place like it under the southern sun. Among our wonders is the profusion of gastronomic delights awaiting you. So many choices, especially when your time here may be too short! But it’s the best problem you could possibly have.
Think of it. On one street in Chapel Hill – Franklin, our main drag – world-class meals are as common as Tar Heel National Championships. For first-class pan-Asian cuisine try The Lantern, which also happens to have one of the best bars in North America. Across the street is Elaine’s, nouveau cuisine, where the chef is proud, justly, of his wild game delicacies. The Carolina Brewery is newly renovated and the menu is diverse, fresh and still offers some of the best brew around, and dining al fresco gives you and visiting family a great chance to get a sense of a great college town. At Talllulah’s, Turkish food is fun and fabulous, and Crooks Corner, where the modest and wonderful Bill Smith holds down the fort, is too good to miss. If you don’t go there you really haven’t been here at all. The perennial classic, of course: the Carolina Inn. It’s undergone a complete transformation and is a must for all visitors.
But it’s not all about downtown Chapel Hill. Rave reviews continue coming in for Elements and Raaga, on East 54. For barbecue, there’s The Pig. It’s southern cooking most of the south has forgotten how to cook, and has rarely been cooked this well.
Carrboro offers everything from fried pickles at Tyler’s to some of the best pizza anywhere at Mercato. And a local favorite, Acme, is presided over by the affable and talented Kevin Callaghan, a true delight. A great bar there too! Of course, for the best pancakes you’ve ever had stop at Elmo’s one morning.
Historic Hillsborough. You may regret not visiting this glorious town. The Riverwalk changed the feeling of this classical historic settlement, which offers new food fare all the time. LaPlace, Antonia’s and Radius are separated by only a few yards, so if you’re on a tight schedule you can have appetizers at one, an entrée at another and an after dinner drink (that might include live jazz) at Antonia’s. Back at LaPlace are Bloody Mary’s to die for.
We could go on: this is hardly an exhaustive list. Think of it, rather, as an invitation to explore, an incomplete guide map, a treasure hunt. Visitchapelhill.org for more information.
Laurie Paolicelli has been Executive Director of the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau since 2005. The agency is a department of Orange County and is located at 501 W. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill.
www.visitchapelhill.org // 919.245.4320