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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: A farewell to some Franklin Street staples

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Illustration by John Galapon.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of our favorite restaurants on Franklin Street have temporarily or permanently closed. Restaurants open and close all the time on Franklin, but since the pandemic began, it seems we've lost even more than normal. Nothing will be able to fill the void left in our hearts (and stomachs) from never eating Ms Mong’s fried tofu or Waffle House hashbrowns at 4 a.m. We didn’t even get to have a proper goodbye meal.

In light of the many changes happening on Franklin Street this year, the Editorial Board came together to write a short note on some of our favorite restaurants that have had to close their doors. Join us in mourning some UNC classics — these places might be gone, but they will never be forgotten. 

  • Ms Mong
Though often overshadowed by its close neighbor Hibachi & Company, Ms Mong and its delicious build-your-own stir-fry was a great option for both dine-in and takeout. We have nothing but fond memories there. 
  • Lula’s
Not Lula’s! Nothing could beat the fried chicken and biscuits with honey. The friendly staff and homey atmosphere will truly be missed. Its predecessor, Spanky’s, didn’t make it either — maybe that location is cursed. 
We have now officially lost all the restaurants on the intersection of Franklin and N. Columbia. We will miss eating our customized pizzas while people-watching through the windows. It's hard to imagine where hoards of first-years will gather after making the trek from South Campus. Hey, at least we still have Pizza Press.
  • Waffle House?
Though we aren’t sure if it’s closed forever, right now we’re missing a Franklin Street staple. Where else are we supposed to get breakfast food at 3 a.m.? The yellow sign outside beckoned the weary and weak who roamed Franklin into the morning hours. Nothing was more satisfying than waffles, hashbrowns and sticky seats inside. While there may be more Waffle Houses in the Triangle, it won’t be the same as our favorite one on Franklin. Waffle House was so much more than a house for waffles — it was a home.

Additionally, some restaurants have announced temporary closures as they wait to ride out the pandemic.

  • Linda’s Bar & Grill
COVID-19 has taken so much from us already… it cannot take Linda’s too. From loaded tots to that delicious baked mac & cheese, Linda’s never fails to provide us with a healthy dose of serotonin. The idea of Linda’s closing permanently is something we refuse to even consider.
  • Carolina Coffee Shop
Carolina Coffee Shop has been around longer than our grandparents — so it was distressing to learn that it has closed temporarily due to the recent increase of COVID-19 cases on campus. (Fun fact: Digital Managing Editor Will Melfi went on a date there once, and was ghosted shortly after.)

In all seriousness, though, the recent changes on Franklin Street are only a microcosm of what’s happening across the country — COVID-19 has had serious economic consequences for small businesses everywhere. But thanks to a smaller-than-normal student population and the uncertain future of sporting events — two huge sources of revenue for businesses in Chapel Hill — restaurants on Franklin Street have been hit especially hard. And with government financial aid running out, the fate of other businesses in the area remains unclear. 

However, most restaurants in Chapel Hill have shifted to takeout and outdoor dining operations to maintain the health and safety of customers and employees amid the pandemic. Grab a bite to go and support them if you can. 

P.S. If Cosmic Cantina closes, the Editorial Board will resign. 


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