Despite the immense economic challenges of the past 18 months, some thrilling and one-of-a-kind eateries have debuted recently. Get to know them.
Bringing the streets of Asia to the Southern Part of Heaven (University Place, to be exact), Hawkers opened in the spring of 2020 and pays homage to Asian street vendors who prepare and sell family recipes from mobile stands and stalls. The colorful interior – replete with dozens of posters and neon lights – adds an extra flavor to Hawkers’ already vibrant menu of small plates, dim sum, noodles, curry, and playful cocktails. On the weekends, look for a brunch service that boasts bottomless mimosas and rosé; shrimp and “grits” (the “grits” consisting of hearty rice congee); and Korean fried chicken biscuits.
Roti Canai – two Malaysian flatbreads, served with a side of signature curry sauce
Korean Twice Fried Wings – twice fried chicken wings tossed in a garlic gochujang sauce and topped with peanuts, sesame seeds, and cilantro
Pretty Fly for a Mai Tai cocktail – refreshing and tart, featuring dark rum, lime juice, dry curaçao, simple syrup, and orgeat
Que Chula Craft Tacos & Tequila Bar
Whether you’re craving a chimichanga at lunch or a steaming platter of fajitas at dinner, Que Chula – located in downtown Chapel Hill’s 140 West and owned by first generation Mexican-Americans Jose Ramírez and Laurena Ibarra – delivers authenticity and bold flavors in a festive setting. Look for Tex Mex menu items such as chicken quesadillas and taco salads alongside more traditional Mexican fare like carnitas and chilaquiles.
The margarita tower – fun for your whole table
Empanadas – featuring picadillo ground beef, cheese, salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole
Platano relleno – a sweet whole plantain topped with skirt steak, Oaxaca cheese, avocado green salsa, and guacamole
Napoli in west Hillsborough is only open for curbside pickup right now, but that doesn’t mean you’ll need to settle for pizza that’s less than piping hot. The team recommends selecting their par-cooked option upon ordering. They cook the pizza 90 percent of the way and leave it unsliced. Customers can add it to their preheated oven (450 degrees) at home for about five minutes for the best and safest result. While wood-fired pies like the pancetta and garlic and the margherita are the star, don’t sleep on their small plates! The Nash Street location is Napoli’s third, with others in downtown Carrboro and Durham.
Burrata and tomato salad – featuring Red Hawk Farm heirloom tomatoes
The Calabria pizza, with a chili oil base, Spanish chorizo, and Calabria peppers
Napoli’s housemade gelatos, such as salted dulce de leche
This new restaurant – located on King Street in downtown Hillsborough – stays true to its name, delivering a diverse range of cuisine influenced by the owners’ travels around the world and the types of foods they’ve experienced in the process. Expect traditional ethnic dishes with a unique spin, served in a small-plate format, from samosas and steamed buns to noodle bowls.
The owners of Nomad – cousins Sejal and BJ Patel – also own and operate Viceroy in downtown Durham, known for its British/Indian dishes.
Almost a century ago, the Nomad building housed the Osbunn Theatre, and the team has designed a space that preserves as much of the movie theater as possible – with lots of exposed brick and exposed beams and ductwork.
Red Thai cauliflower – roasted cauliflower florets tossed in a zesty red Thai curry sauce, finished with toasted coconut and peanut powder
Korean vegetable dumplings – crispy fried vegetable stuffed dumplings served with chili crisp soy sauce
Hunan – twice fried chicken or tofu tossed in a gochujang honey glaze and finished with a Seoul barbecue drizzle and toasted sesame
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