When Jennifer Lemmons was choosing a name for her business, she decided to combine the names of two of her favorite things: Lorelei, her grandmother, and pralines, a delicious treat that inspires fond memories of her childhood. At Lorelines, she and her crew smother North Carolina pecans with their signature slow-cooked buttery caramel to craft authentic pralines just like the ones Jennifer used to enjoy during trips to her grandmommy’s house. Though pralines are the specialty, they also whip up other confections ranging from chestnut pralines and chocolate-covered espresso beans to peanut brittle, chocolate-covered sea-salt caramels, and coconut-apricot pralines.
Inside the large dining room of Vesuvio’s Italian Kitchen, light floods in through lofty windows over plates of steaming homemade lasagna and lobster-stuffed ravioli, carried hot from the kitchen by servers. Dark booths line a pair of walls, where a mural window looks out through curving arches onto a bright sea, dotted by sailboats and famous philosophers surfboarding. Next to the stone fireplace, rows of tables are arranged across the rustic hardwood floor, and wine and beer flow freely below the tiled awning that hangs over the bar. A range of house specialties populate the lunch and dinner menu, and an expansive salad bar supplies garden-fresh greens.
Cultivating a boisterous sports-bar atmosphere, the West End Station is stocked with seven TVs broadcasting gridiron matches and full-contact primary debates. After diners fully load bellies, they can imbibe in friendly competition with four pool tables, darts, and a smattering of arcade games.
Just Pizza—family-owned for two generations—houses an old-fashioned brick oven, which slowly bakes hand-tossed pies to a chewy, crispy finish that occupies a happy medium between thin crust and deep dish. On February 5, the sports-minded staff supplies get-togethers with enough party fare to fuel marathon cheering sessions or celebrations lasting one hour for each year the president—the first president—has aged. Two large pies support a duo of toppings—such as pepperoni, hot dogs, or jalapenos—under a turf of stringy, gooey mozzarella. Between slices, guests can run routes around their fellow diners while clutching a basket of cheesy breadsticks and diving toward frosty two-liters of soda sitting on the table.
Dick & Jane's Tapas and Martini Bar’s entire menu is designed to be sipped, savored, and shared among friends over conversation. Classic tapas include housemade white cheddar pimento cheese, baked brie drizzled with caramel, and shrimp sautéed with chilies, and an equal portion of the menu is devoted to unfussy, bite-sized takes on American comfort favorites—roast beef and turkey stuff mini croissants, pulled pork fills a sourdough panini, and smoked salmon or medium-rare filet mignon lie atop tartines. At the bar, beer and wine join 30 martinis that range from a classic dry martini with pimento-stuffed olives to the sneaky Bruce Willis, which looks like a traditional martini but sneaks orange liqueur and white cranberry juice in through the glass’s ductwork.
Beyond the red walls and checkerboard floors of the dining room, bright umbrellas alight on the patio, where little windows in the wooden fence peek out on flower boxes. On the brick wall just above, a recently refurbished antique mural shows a fresh-faced woman cheerily obeying the instruction to Drink Coca-Cola, adding a splash of vintage character to back up the historical downtown Mebane locale. Some nights find Dick & Jane’s serenading their quaint neighborhood with the sounds of live musicians.