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Side streets: Suggestions for Chapel Hill-Carrboro restaurants

Lorenzo Zagarella, a manager at Italian Pizzeria III, preps a cheese pizza on Sunday, August 28, 2022.

Picture this: It’s a Friday night on Franklin Street. Sup Dogs is packed, the line for Raising Cane’s is around the block and Top of the Hill is full of families. You and your friends are tired of Chase and Lenoir dining halls. You can’t think of anywhere else to eat.

Luckily, there are countless other options just a little further outside UNC's campus. From Thai food inside of a renovated train station to New York-style pizza parlors, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area is full of unique restaurants.

The Loop

The Loop serves everything from burgers to pizza. The chain has 14 locations total, with ten in Florida and four in North Carolina. The restaurant’s Chapel Hill location was opened in 1995 at Eastgate Crossing. The Loop is open seven days a week with varying hours. On Sundays and Mondays, The Loop is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, its hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays, it's open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Try their chicken Caesar wrap, customizable pizzas or feta Mediterranean salad. 


Located at 107 N. Columbia St., Buns is just a short walk off campus. Patrons can either build their own burger — choosing between Angus chuck beef, turkey and veggie patties — or select one of the restaurant’s signature burgers. Buns also serves salads, sandwiches and milkshakes. With unique dipping sauces like “dragon sauce” and curry mustard, Buns is an individualized spin on a classic American burger joint. Buns is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

If you're not a fan of meat, try Buns' Very Veggie Burger, hand-cut fries or fresh, hand-spun milkshakes.


Kurama — located directly next to Buns at 105 N. Columbia St. — is an affordable, authentic Japanese restaurant, serving sushi rolls starting at $2. The restaurant was formerly home to a kaiten sushi bar — sometimes referred to as a sushi conveyor belt . Kurama is closed on Wednesdays. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, they are open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, Kurama is open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Try Kurama's $2 four-piece California roll or their miso ramen.

New York-style pizza parlors

Alfredo’s Pizza is located inside University Place at 201 S. Estes Drive, a short distance off of campus. They serve New York-style pizza by the slice or by the pie, as well as wings, salads, submarine sandwiches and pasta. Similar options include Carrboro’s Amante Gourmet Pizza  — located at 300 E. Main St. — and Anna Maria’s Pizzeria — located at 104 NC-54 inside Carrboro Plaza — as well as Italian Pizzeria III, which opened in 1980 and is located at 508 W. Franklin St. in Chapel Hill.

Thai Station

Thai Station is not your typical restaurant; it is located inside of several renovated train cars at 201 E. Main St. Suite C in Carrboro. Formerly home to the restaurant Southern Rail, dining at Thai Station is a unique experience. The restaurant serves an array of Thai food such as glass noodle soup, Bangkok duck rice and pad see ew. Thai Station is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. for lunch and from 5 to 8:30 p.m. for dinner.


Carrburritos is a family-owned and operated taqueria, serving San Francisco-style burritos as well as tostadas, tacos, quesadillas and fish. Opened in 1997, the restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating, located in the center of Carrboro at 711 W. Rosemary St.  

Try their mejor burritos or flour chips.


@dthcitystate | 

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