Eating out? Don’t know how to pick just one from over 70 restaurants downtown? Here’s a guide to keep you from wandering lost on Franklin Street.
For experiencing a tradition: Sutton’s Drug Store
Sutton’s Drug Store has been a Tar Heel tradition ever since it opened in 1923. With its orange and white awning, you immediately feel like Marty McFly in "Back to the Future," but with a Tar Heel utopia twist.
Vintage candies in wooden baskets welcome you upon your entrance. History is lathered on almost the entire surface of the walls, as photographs of UNC’s most beloved celebrities dining at the restaurant and signed retired jerseys hang above.
Customers are sitting on the bar stools or in one of the many yellow and red booths eating hamburgers, hotdogs and sandwiches. You must try the cherry smash drink; your palette will thank you. The food is simple and sweet, and most of all, cheap.
The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and shorter hours on the weekends.
Most people are regulars, and you can be one, as well. Join the Tar Heel community at Sutton's!
For tailgates before games: Sup Dogs
Sup Dogs is savage when it comes to their game-day banners, especially when we're playing Duke. The restaurant is at the epicenter of the Franklin Street game-day vibe, so if you have a lot of school spirit, you will find your people there either before home games or for watching away games.
Sup Dogs has over 20 beef hot dogs and 14 specialty burgers, and there is consistent rave about their cheesy tots and bacon cheese fries.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday to Wednesday, and from 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday to Saturday.
The best part is the outdoor seating, so you can simultaneously people-watch on Franklin Street, enjoy the game and pet some dogs at the tailgate!
For studying: Cha House
If you need a break from Davis or the Undergraduate Library, Cha House is your friend. The tea house indulges you in the tastes of Taiwan, specifically the rich flavors of boba milk tea. The owners are two sisters from Taipei, Taiwan, who opened a business that could spread the love for this tea in the United States.
The restaurant has an abundance of tea, coffee and Taiwanese goodies like popcorn chicken, green onion pancakes and shaved snow ice. It’s a modern-styled space with contemporary wooden tables and floors. If you appreciate natural lighting, the streams of sunlight beam through the open entrance and all the way to the narrow hallway of seating are right for you.
Cha House is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day so you can study at night, but not too late — so you can get a good night's sleep.
For a late-night craving: Cosmic Cantina
Cosmic Cantina is the late-night hole in the wall restaurant where the food is simple, yet delicious. If you are in dire need for a burrito in speedy time (which does happen), Cosmic is there for you.
UNC student Jenna Patton goes to Cosmic about twice a week for the chill atmosphere and good times with friends. She said she appreciates the cheap cost for the amount of food you get.
Patton loves it so much she even has an Instagram called The Burrito Diary to record all the burritos she eats, many of which are from Cosmic.
Not only is the food simple, but so is the entire process. Patton said she orders her usual vegetarian burrito, which is under $5.
Cosmic is my go-to restaurant. I go at least once a week when I’m already on Franklin Street and take my cheese and salsa quesadilla (which is also $5) with me to my late nights at Davis Library. Though I’m not on a name basis with the employees yet, they do recognize me. Maybe one day I'll get there, and you will too.
Honorary mentions that you may have heard of but have to try: Al's Burger Shack, Benny Cappella's, Linda's Bar & Grill and Tru Deli.
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