The options of great restaurants here in the Triangle are endless, but there are many places that draw a crowd for a singular menu item. Whether the item is true to North Carolina, bizarre, unique or just plain good, we’ve got ‘em all! We will be featuring different items each time, so that gives you plenty of time to try out all these goodies before we launch our next list!
307 E Main Street, Carrboro, NC 27510
This gastropub is tucked off Main Street in downtown Carrboro. Local hipsters and UNC students come to grab a drink from Milltown’s extensive beer collection and grab a bite from their menu of revamped, seasonal bar favorites. Don’t pass up ordering their gnocchi tots. They are crisp and salty on the outside; soft pillows of perfection on the inside. With hints of truffle and rosemary, these tots are nothing like the ones you grew up eating.
105 N Columbia Street, Chapel Hill NC 27514
Kurama Sushi & Noodle Express has a brief menu offering classic sushi, sashimi and noodle options that are affordably priced for both Carolina students and visitors alike. The namesake Kurama Roll hits every taste sensation and texture with its roll of tempura shrimp covered in seasoned sushi rice, nori and topped with salmon, masago, tempura bits and spicy mayo. Come for the novelty of the moving conveyor belt chock-full of sushi and stay for the simple, delightful bites of Japanese goodness.
1207 Kildaire Farm Rd, Cary, NC 27511
Located in Cary, Pita Bon offers the standards of hummus, pita and tabbouleh that make you feel like you’re sitting down somewhere along the Mediterranean. The bright décor only foreshadows the fresh, healthy and vibrant flavors included in all of the dishes. The delectable gyro is filled with tender, juicy meat drizzled with a bit of decadence known as tzatziki, a sprinkle of marinated tomatoes and just enough crunchy lettuce to leave you feeling refreshingly satisfied.
121 Fayetteville Street, Raleigh, NC 27601
Tasty 8’s transcends the taste bud boundaries of time by serving up original dogs and sausages that tantalize both during a quick weekday lunch or after a late night of perusing the bars of downtown Raleigh. The garage-door siding offers a glimpse onto Fayetteville Street while you sink your teeth into such creations as the Windy City Weenie, Yo Adrian or El Perro. Walk your dog next to Belgian frites, sweet potato fries or a gourmet shake and you will be howlin’ for more.
2815 Brentwood Road, Raleigh, NC 27604
Soo Café is nestled in a quiet shopping strip just off Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. With K-pop songs playing from the TV and a simple paper menu to look over, you know you are there for the Korean Fried Chicken, not the ambiance. Their SOGA (soy and garlic) wings are the most popular, but don’t overlook the Original wings if you are a spice fiend. Deceptively sweet and crunchy on the first bite, the heat slowly hits you after each consecutive bite and gets you hook, line and sinker.
North Carolina BBQ Company
PNC Arena, 1500 Edwards Mill Road, Raleigh, NC
Whether you’re catching a game or a concert, don’t miss out on the Pulled Pork BBQ Nachos offered up at PNC Arena. This dish crushes any previous stadium nacho conceptions you may have. Topped with house-smoked pork and drizzled with nacho cheese, you can’t go wrong. The freshly made coleslaw is an optional add-on, but this is crucial if you want to take your nacho game over the top.
2114 East Hwy. 54, Durham, NC 27713
Imagine a spicy tuna roll that has morphed into a burger. This is exactly what you get when you order the Ahi Tuna Burger from William’s Gourmet Kitchen in Durham. This mammoth of a sandwich is comprised of crunchy slaw, spicy mayo and sweet soy sauce all nestled on top of a perfectly rare sesame-crusted ahi tuna steak. No detail is left undone as these elements all come together inside a nicely toasted brioche bun. Grab more napkins than necessary. You’ll need all of them; promise.
Tessa Nguyen is a chef and registered dietitian working in the Triangle area. She is an alumna of Johnson & Wales University and Meredith College. When Tessa isn’t traveling and discovering new food spots, she teaches culinary nutrition cooking classes at Duke and works as a consultant in the health and wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram or Twitter @