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Column: A first-year's guide to food on Franklin Street

East Franklin facing South at Blue Spoon Microcreamery and Carolina Coffee Shop, two popular locations where students work, on Sunday, June 7, 2020.

At some point during the semester, you're bound to get sick of dining hall food and dorm room ramen and, in your search for decent takeout, you'll end up on downtown Chapel Hill's main thoroughfare.

Welcome to Franklin Street.

From cheese fries to churros, this street has almost everything you could ever want for any meal — and nearly every UNC student has a Franklin Street favorite. 

Here's a list of a few iconic stops. Make sure to call ahead or check social media pages to confirm opening hours!

1. Located right next to the pathway that connects Franklin Street with UNC's campus, Carolina Coffee Shop prides itself on being the oldest restaurant in the state and a go-to brunch option for students and families. Come for the convenient location, stay for the cheese grits.
“Carolina Coffee Shop has heard some of my deepest confessions and has the best hot chocolate of all time,” said Serena Dalsimer, a class of 2020 graduate. 
2. Sutton's Drug Store is another go-to spot among some students. This restaurant's familial atmosphere has kept many students flocking to Sutton’s over the years, such as Alyson Nelson, a rising senior.
“My roommate since freshman year and I are both from really small towns, so Sutton’s has always reminded us of home,” Nelson said. “Whenever we start to feel stressed and homesick, we go to get breakfast together! It’s become a tradition and we go at least a few times every semester."
3. Linda's Bar and Grill has been around since 1976 and is best known for late-night munchies. If you want something fried and dripping in cheese, this Chapel Hill classic is hard to beat.
“I probably wouldn’t have been able to get through college without all of the loaded cheese fry runs my friends and I made late at night,” said Diane Adame, a UNC class of 2020 graduate. 
4. Cosmic Cantina cranks out queso, quesadillas and other Mexican dishes until the wee hours — as late as 4 a.m. — and at cheap prices, too. Manager Yeshua Sanchez recommends the restaurant's classic burrito.
“If you come in here, you can’t not try a burrito,” Sanchez said. “I would definitely say go for a burrito, go for the steak burrito, that’s as good as burritos get.”
Nothing will change your life for the better like a Cosmic quesadilla after 2 a.m. Trust me on this one.
5. Mediterranean Deli, located on West Franklin, has more menu options than you could ever sample in full during your four years at UNC and, for some reason, the food at the restaurant tastes ten times better than what they serve in the kiosk at the Bottom of Lenoir. The DTH editors recommend the lamb and beef gyro and the eggplant stew. Come here when you want to eat approximately a pound of pita bread and still feel, like, kinda healthy after.
6. If you're still on a health kick and are looking for something quick and cheap, TRU deli sells customizable sandwiches and salads — grab it on the go, or sit down on the patio. 
“My best friend and I always ate at TRU before each semester started and at the end of each semester," said Sarah Creek, a student in the UNC School of Social Work. "I probably spent more time at TRU during undergrad than all other Chapel Hill places combined.”
7. And when it comes to — the college classic — pizza, you have a lot to choose from: Pizza Press (made-to-order and good for a quick dinner), Benny's (super-sized slices best ordered late at night), I Heart N.Y. Pizza (does anybody actually eat here?) and Italian Pizzeria III (family-run, god-tier pizza and pasta. Worth the trek to the western end of Franklin. You're welcome.). 

Walking down Franklin in search of dinner is practically a rite of passage in Chapel Hill. We got you started with some basics — but make sure to roam around and find your own favorite spots in time. 

@DTHCityState | 

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