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

Sup Dogs on Franklin Street pictured on Sept. 23, 2021.

For new students navigating the food scene near UNC's campus, here is a guide to some of the popular restaurants around Franklin Street.

Sup Dogs

For hotdogs, specialty burgers and cheesy tater tots, look no further than Sup Dogs. It’s a place to go on a game day, with flatscreen TVs placed around the restaurant.

Owner and operator Bret Oliverio said UNC athletes come into the restaurant as well.

“When we beat Duke in basketball and the basketball players come in, it's pretty cool,” he said. “So you just never know who's going to walk through the door.”

Sup Dogs offers a “double your dog” deal, where a hotdog can be added to any meal for an additional $1.50. The restaurant opens at 11 a.m. every day of the week. More information can be found on its website or social media.

Top of the Hill Restaurant & Brewery

Top of the Hill serves American food with a view of Franklin and Columbia streets. Glass walls in the interior showcase machinery from its microbrewery, and the restaurant features a third-floor patio.

General Manager Guy Murphy said the restaurant has a little bit of everything to cater to town residents and other customers.

“We are a lot of things to a lot of folks, whether it's birthdays, graduations, engagements, proposals, just grabbing a quick meal,” he said.

Top of the Hill has lunch and dinner specials that rotate on a daily basis. It offers patio, dine-in and curbside service, as well as reservations. The restaurant is open every day of the week except for Tuesday, according to its website.

Mediterranean Deli

Since opening in 1992, Mediterranean Deli has offered authentic Mediterranean cuisine in Chapel Hill. The restaurant — which also has a limited selection available at the bottom of Lenoir Dining Hall — offers a variety of vegetarian and vegan options.

Referred to as “Med Deli” for short, the menu includes gyros, falafel, shawerma, rotisserie and more.

At its Franklin Street location, customers can enjoy indoor or outdoor seating. Med Deli is open every day from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. and also offers catering. Requests for catering can be put in on the restaurant's website.

Cosmic Cantina

When the late-night snack cravings hit, many students turn to Cosmic Cantina. Open from 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. every day, the restaurant serves chimichangas, burritos and other Mexican food.

UNC rising junior Case Redmond said the restaurant is casual and cozy. His favorite menu item is the deluxe chicken chimichanga. 

“It’s really clutch that they’re open as late as they are, and it’s really quality food too,” he said.

Kurama Sushi and Noodle Express

Kurama offers made-to-order sushi and noodle dishes at an affordable price. Customers can choose different portions of each menu item and mix-and-match different dishes.

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Kurama has a lunch special from opening to 3 p.m. every day. The special includes a bowl of miso soup, garden salad, a plate of assorted nigiri sushi (inari, crabstick, tamago, shrimp and salmon), a California roll and a small side of seaweed salad.

The Purple Bowl

The Purple Bowl is the place to go for a light meal, breakfast or post-workout snack. The family-owned-and-operated restaurant serves acai bowls, coffee and avocado toast, with vegetarian options.

CEO Paula Gilland said the most popular items are the build-your-own acai bowl and the iced lavender latte.

“I personally recommend to build your own bowl,” she said. “That way you can kind of create whatever you want.”

I Love New York Pizza

Located at 106 W. Franklin St., I Love New York Pizza serves specialty pizzas, calzones, strombolis and salads. Pizza can be customized and ordered whole or by the slice.

UNC rising junior Sydney Wible said her favorite order is cheese pizza with garlic knots. She refers to I Love New York Pizza as “I Heart,” as the restaurant sign depicts a heart in place of the word "Love."

“I feel like to attend ‘I Heart’ is to be a UNC student,” Wible said.

Franklin Street offers a variety of options for students looking to grab a bite to eat close to campus. Other options include TRU Deli, Hibachi & Company and Cholanad, which also has a limited selection available at the bottom of Lenoir.

To explore more options, the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership offers a full list of open establishments with seating and ordering options.


 @DTHCityState |

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