As a college student in Wilmington, David Berent picked up odd jobs in restaurants to get by. In the process, he stumbled into an unexpected love of the restaurant business, and in 2005 he married his love of cooking with his love of fishing and opened Blue Fin’s Bistro. In addition to presenting the eatery’s fresh seafood dishes and tangy ribs, Berent pays homage to his heritage with Italian pasta plates and marinated chicken dishes. To foster a strong community spirit, he strives to keep the restaurant small, refusing to fill massive orders of krill from hungry blue whales. And he still cooks the clam chowder himself, eager to please diners seated in the exposed-brick indoor dining area or chatting in the restaurant’s outdoor area.
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.
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.