The two Rs in R&R Grill represent father-and-son co-owners, Rob and Ross, who moved to Chapel Hill permanently after falling in love with the area. However, they soon noticed an alarming trend; cookie-cutter chain restaurants began to replace local businesses, a pattern Rob and Ross sought to change with R&R Grill. At their eatery, Rob and Ross infuse the menu of casual American cuisine with fresh produce and meats, making every dish in-house. St. Louis ribs glisten under a coating of chipotle barbecue sauce and a jumbo lump crab cake shares plate space with garlic sautéed shrimp. Diners can match their meals with draft beers, wine, and specialty cocktails or fresh air on the expansive outdoor patio.
Tony, the owner of Bandido’s Mexican Cafe, learned the tricks of the trade while working at his family’s Mexican restaurant as a teenager. Today, he and his wife own and operate three Bandido’s locations, which serve sizzling fajitas, crisp tacos, and burritos stuffed with beef, chicken, pork, or sautéed spinach. The Herald-Sun's readers praised Bandido's as the Best Mexican Restaurant in 2009, and the restaurant returns the favor by awarding individuals who finish the El Gigante burrito—a massive compilation of steak and chicken fajitas, rice, black beans, and shredded cheese—with a T-shirt and gentle pats on the back. The restaurant often hosts live entertainment, and the Durham location supplements its selection of lunch and dinner fare with a Sunday brunch menu served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The pies at Tomato Jake’s Pizzeria have whimsical names that play off of pop-culture mafiosos and hint at fistfuls of grilled italian sausage, pepperoni, and crumbled meatballs. Fresh basil, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and other toppings further cement ties to Italy, and forks twirl in plates of pasta and fresh garlic. In the kitchen, cooks prep party platters of subs, and the shop’s calzones brim with baby spinach, roma tomatoes, and virgin olive oil like the briefcase of a fake lawyer.
Chapelboro.com argues that Fitzgerald's does a fantastic job of "toeing the line between high-tech sports bar and cozy eatery." In the tradition of gastropubs, Fitz's embraces the casual environs of a traditional Irish bar, but elevates the food to the next level with a menu ranging from shepherd's pie to blackened Atlantic salmon. And, of course, there's a lot of beer—more than 20 taps dispense brews such as SweetWater Blue, Brooklyn Lager, and Guinness. Regular events include trivia night, live music, and sports games shown on the giant pub's many TVs.
Lauded by Vanity Fair and Bon Appétit for its handcrafted, specialty sandwiches, SANDWHICH lives up to its name with unique takes on familiar foods. A BLT becomes an Outrageous BLT with the addition of fire-roasted jalapeños and garlic mayo, while burgers are hand-formed and made with hormone- and antibiotic-free beef. Much of the eatery’s fresh sandwich ingredients are locally sourced, and it offers gluten-free bread options as well as a selection of draft beers from local breweries. SANDWHICH's Most Excellent brownies are made with Valrhona chocolate from France and add a delectable finish to any meal.