The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday February 1st

What are local chefs planning for Labor Day?

For students, Labor Day means no class, and no class means a golden opportunity to venture out into Chapel Hill and eat good food.

Trey Cleveland, the head executive chef at Top of the Hill, said he thinks a good Labor Day meal depends on where you’re located.

“If I’m at the coast, I’m hopefully eating fresh cod fish and oysters,” he said. “If I’m at home, I’m smoking pork shoulders. And if I’m out and about — say here in Chapel Hill — I’m probably going to do Al’s Burger Shack, Buns, Trolly Stop Hot Dogs or Sup Dogs.”

If you stop by TOPO, Cleveland said that their locally grown beef burgers are the way to go.

Ruby Brinkerhoff, the manager of Mediterranean Deli, said she doesn’t think Labor Day really has a food theme, but that it’s important to eat summer foods while you still can.

“I’d definitely get fresh salads that involve vegetables that are only grown here during the summer,” she said. “It’s when everything is growing, everything is in bloom and coming out of the ground. It’s really a wonderful time.”

Med Deli specializes in many salads, but not everything is available year-round.

“I’d recommend the peach salad, which I really love,” she said. “We only have it here during the summer, but people miss it all year round.” 

Meanwhile, Greg Overbeck, a co-owner of Chapel Hill Restaurant Group, said he thinks the brown sugar baby back ribs at Spanky’s Restaurant and Bar is a great Labor Day dish.

“It’s extremely popular and fits in with the holiday feel,” he said. “First, we dry rub them with brown sugar, broil them and serve them with barbecue sauce, which makes it scrumptious.”

Although Labor Day is an opportunity to eat, it’s also a chance to spend time with family and friends.

“My daughter has a soccer tournament in Greenville, South Carolina, over the weekend, but I’ll be back on Monday,” Overbeck said. “I’ll work a little bit and then spend time with my wife and kids at home.”

However, Brinkerhoff said that Labor Day marks the start of a renewed energy in Chapel Hill since students are back on campus.

“When all the students come back, life kind of revives itself around here,” she said. “It’s so cool to have all these people here. There’s so many things going on and people to see.”


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