Downtown Chapel Hill

Downtown Blog

Al Fresco Dining in Downtown Chapel Hill


We’ve scored a perfect weather week here in Chapel Hill with highs in the low 80’s, lows in the high 50’s and no precipitation.  Sounds to me like the recipe to dine outside!  Options abound.  Either pick up take-out food, pack a blanket and dine on a beloved outdoor campus spot or stroll downtown to soak up a favorite restaurant patio.  A quick tour of outdoor choices could take you to the newly opened TRU Deli + Wine on Henderson Street or the patio off R&R Grill on East Franklin Street. 

If you want a sunset view try Top of the Hill for covered or uncovered outside dining at the corner of Columbia and East Franklin Streets.  If you happen to be on Rosemary Street take a date to dine on the extensive patio at La Residence, meet friends at Pantana Bob’s outdoor expanse or pay a visit to the porch of Mama Dip’s Kitchen.  Walk west on Franklin Street for lunch outside at Chipotle or Sandwhich.  Continue westbound to the upstairs patio at West End Wine Bar for drinks before dinner at Crook’s Corner just another block down.  You’ll be so glad you did!

Let me share what I dined on recently at one of my favorite combinations of patio seating and southern gourmet dining.  (Give up?  That would be Crook’s Corner for those of you who haven’t guessed the correct restaurant yet.)  For starters my coveted group of longtime girlfriends shared the Cracker Plate with hot-pepper jelly and cream cheese, pimento cheese and fresh veggies.  Next I had a cup of Peach Soup, chilled and spiced to summer perfection.  For my main course I had the small plate of Fresh Figs Bellevue which combines super succulent figs with country ham.  Think slices of salty country ham and minty-mustard sauce ladled on brown turkey figs.  I understand these fine figs come from a female gardener in Siler City.  Of course I found my way to several other bowls and plates which included baked cheese grits, black pepper cornbread, hoppin’ John and a tomato and corn chowder soup du jour.  Top this friendship feast off with a few bites of Mt. Airy Chocolate Souffle Cake with fresh whipped cream and life just doesn’t get much better! 

Now is the time to dine outside!  What are you waiting for?

Enjoy your Chapel Hill chow!


~ Kristen, guest blogger