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To be Frank(lin), you should eat here off campus

Don’t worry; to take some of that pressure off, we have surveyed and compiled a whole host of other cheap things for when you just don’t feel like grocery shopping. Moving off campus opens up a veritable smorgasbord of new restaurants to experiment with.

Waffle House

Waffle House might not be haute cuisine, but it’s a cheap alternative to most dining hall breakfast staples: omelets, hash browns and waffles (obviously). It even mimics the limited vegan options!

Italian Pizzeria III

Awesome pizza at awesome prices. The two brothers who have operated the pizzeria since 1980 don’t limit themselves to pizza, either. IP3 offers up a wide variety of quality Italian dishes, and if you’re still not sold, Indy Week has called it the “Best Place to Watch International Soccer.”

Insomnia Cookies

Insomnia delivers as many cookies as you want to your front door. Don’t pretend like you need to be sold on this.

Elmo’s Diner

Elmo’s does its best to master food from enchiladas to French toast, making it a sure bet to satisfy any desires you might normally turn to the dining hall for. They even have a menu of specials that changes daily, adding an element of surprise to their already huge selection.

Vimala’s Curryblossom Cafe

Vimala’s serves Indian cuisine at reasonable prices. It started out in 1994 as a series of donation-based dinners that Vimala held in her own home, a tradition that spawned a restaurant in 2010.

Donating to the restaurant’s Food for All fund helps continue the community dinners’ legacy and provide food for those who can’t afford it, supporting activism and cuisine with one donation.

Literally Any Fast Food Joint

Sometimes you throw health out the window and decide to do something like eat nothing but a bowl of dining hall whipped cream before taking a midterm. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

There is no greater (or cheaper) way to replicate that experience than to visit literally any fast food place. The lingering, inescapable sense of shame will be quickly dulled by a full stomach and a sense of wonder at how little you spent.

Remember: Gluttony is only a deadly sin if it kills you.

Fast food in Chapel Hill is limited to Wendy’s and McDonald’s, both of which are great choices. But if you’re willing and ready to drive (or Uber, we won’t judge you), Cook-Out is less than a 30 minute drive away. So is Taco Bell. Please choose wisely.


It’s pricey, but it’s not as pricey as spending $11 to eat in the dining hall if you’re swiping your debit card to visit your friends. Get a better version of the Lenoir cheeseburgers with excellent fries or get adventurous with beets and bean sprouts.


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Sure, you can make your own cheese fries in the dining hall. But you haven’t lived until you’ve tried the loaded cheese fries at this bar and grill establishment. And there’s no substitute for the ranch that they come with — parmesan peppercorn. Eating these at 1 a.m. is a religious experience, but eating them at normal people hours is good, too.