Sun's out, buns out: a review on Chapel Hill burgers
Al’s Burger Shack
Atmosphere: The shack’s decor is a blend of retro and modern. Its walls are lined with witty posters, stickers with the logos of other local businesses and a brightly colored menu board. Their meat is “NC pasture raised” without antibiotics or hormones. The big wooden picnic tables outside let you enjoy your burger with a breath of fresh air.
What I got: I ordered the Classic. The burger was sizable, thick and juicy, grilled medium so that only a touch of pink remained in the middle — and the Al sauce was a savory touch. Price rating: $$ The buddy bite size costs $4.85, while the regular size costs $7.85. Any burger can be doubled for $13.75.
Anything else: The Paco Burger, topped with guacamole, tomato, jalapenos and Habanero jack, was also life-changing. And for all you veggie-lovers, there is a vegetarian burger made with sweet potato, black beans and oats.
Atmosphere: Buns has a wide variety of burger combinations (unlike their seating options). Its menu lays out ten signature creations, plus the option to build your own burger.
What I got: I ordered a beef patty on a white roll with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, chipotle mayo and grilled onions. Given that the bun was a bit soggy from being wrapped in tin foil, I found myself questioning the establishment’s name. But I definitely polished the burger off without coming up for air too many times.
Price rating: $ The single patty burger costs $5.75, a double stack costs $7.75 and a triple stack costs $9.50.
Anything else: The Brunch Burger, topped with fried egg and bacon, is a unique favorite.
Atmosphere: Even if you have trouble digesting the bacon cheesy fries, you will end up at Sup Dogs at some point in your college career (most likely at 2 a.m.). Sup Dogs has quite a few interesting burger options, always offered with the famously tangy Sup Sauce.
What I got: Sup Burger Combo with Cheese. The Sup Burger is another typical restaurant burger, but I’d come here for the cheesy tots and atmosphere, probably not to quench a burger craving.
Price rating: $ All burgers cost $7.99 and are served with an order of fries.
Anything else: The World Class Bacon Cheese Fries Burger is another one of my favorites. Warning: do not eat anything else throughout the day if you want any chance of finishing it.
Sutton’s Drug Store
Atmosphere: Sutton’s is a Chapel Hill classic, steeped in local history. Its walls are lined with Carolina jerseys, memorabilia and photos of smiling customers sitting in its booths.
What I got: I ordered a single patty burger, which was crispier and thinner than the other burgers. It tasted like a backyard barbecue burger, which fits the overall atmosphere of the restaurant. And the bun was noticeably sweet.
Price rating: $ The single patty burger costs $6.09 and the double burger costs $7.59.
Anything else: If you’re craving something sweet to go along with your burger, the strawberry ice cream float for $3.69 is sure to hit the spot.
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