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Guide for Family Dining in the Chapel Hill Durham NC area


Family & Kids' Deals

Please call restaurant to be sure kids' deals still apply; information subject to change without notice given to CHillKids.com.

See MORE Kids Eat Free Restaurant Deals in Chapel Hill & Durham, NC


Mellow Mushroom Chapel Hill - Kids eat free every Monday 5pm-close at Mellow Mushroom Chapel Hill!
After 5pm, every Monday: 1 free kid's meal per adult entree of $7.99 or more.


Buns of Chapel Hill - Sunday Lunch is family time at Buns - Free Kids Meal Sundays 11am-4pm.
Kids 12 and under eat FREE on Sundays, 11am – 4pm. Purchase one adult combo and get one kids meal for free (dine-in only).

Parking is easy and FREE on Sundays in Downtown Chapel Hill.
(pro tip: On Sundays, you can park curbside in the loading zone and the bus lane right in front of Buns. Parking in the Rosemary Street/Columbia Street parking lot is just across the street and free on Sundays.)


Located in the heart of Downtown Chapel Hill
107 N Columbia Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27514

www.bunsofchapelhill.com


Buns of Chapel Hill Kids Eat Free Sundays 11am-4pm




Firehouse Subs - Meadowmont Village Circle, Chapel Hill
Kids 12 and under eat FREE on Mondays, Wednesdays and Sundays from 4-9 pm.  Purchase an adult meal and get one FREE kids meal (includes a sub or sandwich, drink, cookies and a Fireman's hat! Offer is valid only at participating locations). Yum!
603 Meadowmont Village Circle, Chapel Hill, NC 27330
919-969-4212


Carolina Brewery: Kids eat free on Mondays (one child per adult entree); downtown Chapel Hill location; also new location in Pittsboro


Dominos Pizza Two-for-One Tuesdays:  Tuesdays order a large pizza and get another pizza of equal or lesser value free.  Call your local Dominos for details and availability.

MORE Kids Eat Free Restaurant Deals in Chapel Hill & Durham, NC
 

Family-Friendly Restaurants

 
Mellow Mushroom (Chapel Hill & Durham)
 

Mellow Mushroom
For 40 years, Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers has been serving up fresh stone baked pizzas to order, hoagies/subs, calzones, appetizer/muchies and salads in an eclectic, art-filled and family-friendly environment. The Chapel Hill Mellow Mushroom features a very cool VW bus as part of the welcoming front desk/reception entry, along with signature mushroom dude sculptures and groovy art. Both indoor and outdoor seating at this primo Franklin Street location. Fun dining for the whole family; also perfect for date night outings (check out the Beer Club online at www.mellowmushroom.com/chapel-hill.)

Kids Eat Free Mondays 5pm - close at Mellow Mushroom Chapel Hill! 1 free kid's meal per adult entree of $7.99 or more.

EASY PARKING in the back (access via Rosemary Street; look for the Mellow Mushroom sign on the back of the building along with the sign for parking.)

Also visit the Mellow Mushroom Durham location at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (near DPAC)
.

 

Allen & Sons Barbecue
Chapel Hill restaurant:  6203 Millhouse Road, Chapel Hill, 27516.  (919) 942-7576. (Located on Hwy 86/Airport Road, between Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, one mile north of I-40.)   Hours: 10am-8pm Mon-Fri; 7am (breakfast)-8pm Sat; closed Sundays.

Pittsboro (roadside BBQ): U.S. 15-501, between Chapel Hill and Pittsboro, just north of the Haw River Bridge.  (919) 542-2294.

The Carolina-style barbecue and hush puppies are old favorites among Chapel Hill locals and visitors.  Voted Best Barbeque (Chapel Hill News Rose Award).

 

Amante Gourmet Pizza
300 E. Main Street, Carrboro.  (919) 929-3330.

Voted Best Pizza (Chapel Hill News Rose Awards 2004 and 2005).  Lots of gourmet pizza options; dine in the clean, bright casual restaurant (and see the art show next door at the ArtsCenter), or order for take-out or delivery.

 

Armadillo Grill
120 East Main St, Carrboro, NC 27510.  (919) 929-4669.

We love it!  Kids love it!  Grown-ups love it!  College kids love it!  A Carrboro local favorite for a quick and budget-friendly Mexican meal.  Tortillas are made from scratch on the premises; vegetables are all chopped fresh.  The upstairs level has a separate bar area.  The quaint store-shop window-front looks out onto Carrboro's Main Street.

 

Breadmen's
324 W. Rosemary, Chapel Hill. (919) 967-7110.  Open 7am - 9pm, seven days a week (closed most holidays - check first).

Voted Best Place for Breakfast (Chapel Hill News Rose Award - multiple years).  Menu features a wide variety of selections; you can also enjoy breakfast anytime - mornings, afternoons or evenings.  Casual dining; a Chapel Hill favorite!  KIDS LOVE IT!  Smoke-free; parking.  Sometimes there is a wait, but if there is a wait we have find that everyone usually is seated pretty quickly.  We normally don't have to wait, but when there has been a wait we usually haven't had to wait for more than 5 minutes or so.  You can typically tell by the parking lot how crowded Breadmen's will be . . . if the large parking lot is full and parking on the street also is full, count on a bit of a wait.  But the ambiance is fun and there are a few sofas in a little waiting area cove near the front doors.

 

Bun's Burgers & Fries
3107 N. Columbia St., Chapel Hill. (919) 240-4746. 

Voted Best Burger in Chapel Hill/Orange County: The Daily TarHeel 2009, 2010, 2011, Independent Weekly 2010 and 2011, The Chapel Hill News Rose Awards 2011 and Chapel Hill Magazine 2011.  Located in the heart of downtown Chapel Hill, Buns Burgers & Fries has a bright and cheerful decor and offers amazing combinations for gourmet burgers - all kinds of cheeses, and your choice of toppings including lettuce, tomato, onions, grilled onions, caramelized onions, mushrooms and lots more. (Buns also offers a veggie burger option). Award-winning fries, too, with your choice of delicious sauces. There is not a kid's meal option, but the burgers are so big that you can split a burger between two younger kids. The fries baskets are HUGE to be shared around the table. A fun, casual restaurant with award-winning eats!

 

Bruegger's Bagel Bakery
Eastgate Shopping Center,1800 East Franklin St (Eastgate), Chapel Hill, 27514.  (919) 929-5524

Voted Best Place for Bagels (Chapel Hill News Rose Award).  17 kinds of bagels baked freshly on premises, soup, fruit, brownies, cookies and a variety of beverages.

Authentic, kettle-boiled bagels made in the authentic New York way. Bruegger's bagles are kettle-boiled and hot out of the oven.  Bruegger's also offers lots of varieties of cream cheese, breakfast sandwiches and sandwiches for lunch or dinner, and coffee, fruit juices.  Dine-in in the roomy restaurant area (self-serve at counter then bring back to your table), or take-out.  Also offers catering.  We have found the Bruegger's Staff at Eastgate Shopping Center to be very friendly and helpful.

Conveniently located in Eastgate Shopping Center next to Starbucks and across the parking lot from Trader Joe's.  (Eastgate Shopping center is located inbetween Franklin St., Chapel Hill on one side of the shopping center, and 15-501 at the Trader Joe's end of the shopping center.)

Parking.  See Bruegger's Bagel website for hours.

Cafe Carolina & Bakery
601 Meadowmont Village Circle, Chapel Hill. (919) 945-8811.

Fresh baked breads, soups, sandwiches, muffins, cupcakes and desserts, using Carolina-grown fresh vegetables and meat.  Kids menu. Outdoor dining available. Grab & Go Coffee Express. Food and gift market.  Open Mon.-Sat., 6:30am-9pm; Sun., 7am-8pm.

 

Carolina Coffee Shop
138 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill.  (919) 942-6875.

A Chapel Hill favorite since 1922!  Carolina "Coffee Shop" is a bit of a misnomer; it's actually a restaurant/bar - it's casual, but a restaurant, and far more formal than today's version of an informal coffee shop.  Warm, cozy atmosphere with exposed brick interior and large booths.  Nice for a leisurely breakfast or lunch, especially if you have guests and want to show them around downtown Chapel Hill.  Walk to the Morehead Planetarium for a show afterwards or check out the neighboring shops on Franklin Street.  Okay with kids, but definitely not geared with children in mind.  Also more pricey than many of the other Franklin St. options.

 

Carrburritos
711 W. Rosemary St., Carrboro, NC.  (919) 933-8226.  

Carrburritos offers great, fresh Mexican dining in a casual setting in downtown Carrboro.  Try the burritos and six types of salsa.  Everything is made fresh in-house daily. See the menu at www.carrburritos.com.

 

Chuck-E-Cheese
3724 Mayfair Street Durham, NC 27707 (919) 493-6084
National chain offers pizza, salad bar and other menu items along with kids' arcade, games and prizes. Located in Durham off 15-501(past the Super Target, near Sam's Club.)
Elmo's Diner
Carr Mill Mall, 200 N Greensboro St., Carrboro, NC 27510-1833.  (919) 929-2909.

The atmosphere is casual, friendly and inviting, and there are crayons and activity sheets for kids to color.  Exposed brick walls and large windows add to the open ambiance.  (Planning Note:  Elmo's is very popular and there is often a crowd on weekends; however, a waitlist is available and there is plenty to see in Carr Mill Mall while you wait.)

 

Fearrington's Galloway Deli and Market Cafe

2000 Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, NC 27312.  (919) 542-5505.
www.fearringtonvillage.com

Indoor and outdoor Casual dining.  In warm weather you can have lunch outside under the lovely wisteria-covered pergola and enjoy the sound of the fountain and the birds chirping, not to mention the gorgeous lush gardens!  Be sure to visit the downstairs folk art gallery while you are at the deli or cafe.  Kids enjoy visiting the Galloway "oreo" cows (their fur is black on both ends with a white stripe in the middle) and Fearrington's resident goats and other animals.

(**For a parents' night out, also note that the elegant, five-star Fearrington House Restaurant was voted the Best Place for Fine Dining - Chapel Hil 2005 Rose Award).

 

Fiesta Grill Mexican Restaurant
3307 Highway 54 West, Chapel Hill (West of Carrboro on Hwy 54 at White Cross Road).  (919) 928-9002.

In-restaurant dining take-out and catering.  Menu features a wide variety of Mexican favorites and numerous vegetarian options.  Open 6 days a week (Tues-Sat 11am-9pm, Sun. 11am - 8pm.

 

Pittsboro Roadhouse (fka General Store Cafe) -- (*Further afield, in Pittsboro)

39 West Street, Pittsboro (Located next to the downtown traffic circle, just across from the Pittsboro courthouse.)  (919) 542-2432.

Great ambiance, great food, and live music make the General Store Cafe a popular destination further afield in Pittsboro.  For hours and directions, visit pittsbororoadhouse.com/.

 

Jason's Deli - HEALTHY, Organic food options!
Jason's Deli

New Hope Commons, 5408 New Hope Commons Dr. #123A, Durham, NC 27707 (located near the Borders book store.) (919) 493-3350 (Visit www.jasonsdeli.com for many more locations across the NC Triangle and throughout the U.S.)

Kids LOVE Jason's Deli.  Parents love Jason's Deli!  FRESH, ORGANIC, Healthy, REAL food!  No Trans Fats!  No high-fructose corn syrup in anything (except sodas - but they are working on eliminating it from their soft drinks too, and they have organic milk options and tea options too.)  NO MSG in anything.  We are big Jason's Deli fans for the healthy food options - kids love it for the yummy, healthy food options, (but also for the free soft ice cream. . . with chocolate drizzle option . . . self-serve). 

Jason's deli has among the best, most economical kids' meal options in town.  The Kids' meals INCLUDE your choice of ORGANIC milk (regular or chocolate), organic juice, or choice from the soft drink/ice tea fountains.  There is a SALAD BAR option for the kids' meals also.  The salad bar has a great variety of SUPER-FRESH, veggie options (many are ORGANIC), romaine lettuce, spinach, red and yellow bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, hummus, bean salads, pasta salads, egg salad, sprouts, sunflower seeds, mixed nuts with cranberries, cottage cheese, ORGANIC apple slices, red onions, beautiful cherry tomatoes . . .

Jason's has lots of nice, roomy booths so the whole family can sit together.  Jason's is almost always bustling with lots of diners (a sure sign of a great restaurant), but we have never had to wait to find a table because the dining area is so large and spacious with lots of tables and booths. Going to Jason's Deli is a cause for celebration: easy, casual, healthy dining + free serve-yourself soft serve ice cream.

 

The Loop - Local favorite; fun, family-friendly cozy ambiance; kids love it!
Eastgate Shopping Center, 1800 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27514. (919) 969-7112.

We had lived in Chapel Hill for several years before we "discovered" the classic Chapel Hill family-friendly restaurant, The Loop Pizza Grill.  (The Loop is also a favorite among local college students). Now The Loop is one of our family's favorites.  For a while I had seen the sign for "The Loop" in and between signs for clothing stores and outdoor stores, and didn't realize it was a restaurant.  As a mom with a bunch of kids I don't usually have the luxury to go clothes-shopping, so I had just not ventured that way to take a closer look.  But WOW!  We are so glad to have found this fun, cozy, casual restaurant.  Our kids love the personal-size pizzas, and there are some really good vegetarian entree options.  The steamed vegetables have been delicious every time I have been to The Loop.  They have so many delicious, gourmet options but in a casual, comfortable atmosphere.  You order at the counter, they give you a buzzer thing-y, then when the buzzer hums you pick up your food at the counter and bring it back to your table.  Drinks are self-serve and refills are free.  We have always had really good food at The Loop - a real treat for us and for the kids.  The Loop also seems to be open a bit later than some of the other family-friendly restaurants (check restaurant websites or call them to check for hours of operation).  We made our annual trip to visit the Carolina Inn's 12 Days of Christmas exhibit, then swung round The Loop for a great (late) dinner.  A lovely time was had by all.  Already looking forward to the next meal at The Loop!

Tuesday Nights at The Loop is Kids' Night!  On Tuesdays Kids' Meals are $2.99 with each adult entree purchase.

 

Mama Dip's Kitchen
408 W. Rosemary St., Chapel Hill.  (919) 942-5837.  www.mamadips.com

 "Put a little south in your mouth; Serving Real Down-Home Country Cooking" for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.  Traditional country cooking including barbecue, hush puppies, fried chicken, and more.  Voted Best Iced Tea (Chapel Hill News Rose Awards - Multiple Years)  Hours:  Mon.-Sat. 8am-10pm; Sun. 8am-9pm.  Open all day.  Traditional southern country cooking and a cozy, comfortable atmosphere, (but on the expensive side for Chapel Hill).

 

Margaret's Cantina
Timberlyne Shopping Center, Weaver Dairy Road, Chapel Hill.  (919) 942-4745.

 "Mexican with a Twist"; takeout and in-restaurant dining.  Homemade margaritas, mojitos, and sangria; vegetarian options; homemade desserts and ice cream.  Voted Best Frozen Drink (Chapel Hill News Rose Awards - multiple years)  GREAT HEALTHY options with lots of fresh veggies; fun kids' drinks (with little plastic monkeys to hold the cherry in a Shirley Temple-type-drink, last time we were there).  YUM.  The fresh, healthy food options are just so good - the ambiance is so fun and cozy!  A Chapel Hill CLASSIC restaurant.

 

McAlister's Deli

205 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill.  (919) 969-1102. (This location has closed.)

Also new location on 15-501 (new mall across from New Hope Commons):
5318 New Hope Commons Drive Ext., Ste. 104, (919) 419-9083

National chain deli offers made to order subs, salads, baked potatoes, nachos, chili, numerous vegetarian options and much more, as well as delicious and decadent deserts.  Generous sized meals and the prices are right!  Kids' meals include chips and packaged mini-cookies for desert.    Informal dining inside; outdoor tables also are available for outdoor dining in fine weather.  Enjoy lunch at McAlister's and then go for a walk at the botanical gardens down the street or stroll downtown.  KIDS LOVE IT!  Also a favorite among college students.

 

Mediterranean Deli and Catering - Authentic Middle Eastern & Greek Food
410 West Franklin St (Downtown), Chapel Hill. (919) 967-2666.

Casual restaurant dining and Middle Eastern food take-out by the pound.  Falafel, Hummos, Lamb & Beef Gyro, Chicken Gyro, Chicken Souvlaki, Tabouli, Grape Leaves Sandwich, Spinach Pie, and much more.  In 2010, Mediterranean Deli now also features a BAKERY where they bake their own authentic pitas . . . YUMMY!

 

Panera Bread Company
213 West Franklin St (Downtown), Chapel Hill. (919) 929-9189.
Full-service bakery and caf?offers fresh-baked pastries, sandwich breads, bagels, and deserts, made-to-order sandwiches, soups, salads, and coffees (javas, lattes, mochas, etc). Outdoor dining. 

Panera Bread also has a Durham location close to Chapel Hill at Patterson Place (plenty of parking) - near AC Moore and PetSmart.
Pizza Hut -
109 South Estes Dr., Chapel Hill - This Chapel Hill location CLOSED as of June 2016
*A Pizza Hut "express" has opened at Ram's Plaza in Chapel Hill, but with limited seating and no salad bar. Hard to see/no street frontage but it's in the back of Ram's Plaza.

370 South Churton St., Hillsborough - Pizza and offers lunch buffet with salad bar.

 

Pop's Pizzeria & Ristorante
Chapel Hill North Shopping Center, 1822 Airport Rd., Chapel Hill. (919)  932-1040.
Roomy restaurant booths are available in the pizza/deli area (TVs are installed on the ceilings for viewing sporting events, etc.); adjoining restaurant dining room has a more formal atmosphere.  Specialty Pizzas (whole and by the slice), Pasta, Subs, Stromboli, Grille Sandwiches, Hamburgers and Cheeseburgers, Salads.

 

Quizno's Subs
Quizno Subs shops (national franchise) in Chapel Hill

1802 Airport Rd (Chapel Hill North), Chapel Hill.  (919) 969-7482Quiznos Chapel Hill locations have both closed.

S & T's Soda Shoppe Ice Cream Parlor (further afield - in Pittsboro)
85 Hillsboro Street, Pittsboro.  (919) 545-0007.
Beautifully restored old-fashioned ice cream parlor located in the heart of Pittsboro.  Menu includes a wide variety of lunch and dinner selections for grown-ups and kids.  A destination in itself; but you may also wish to visit some of the many Pittsboro area attractions, such as the Carnivore Preservation Trust.  Normal hours are 11am-7:30pm, Mon. - Sat., closed Sundays. Beginning SEPTEMBER 2008, will be closed on Sundays and Mondays, open Tues - Sat.  Closed some holidays; you may want to call before making the drive.

 

Torero's
15-501 in the former "On the Border" location near JoAnn's Fabrics

Great menu of authentic Mexican cuisine, including lots of great Vegetarian options, and numerous kids' meal options. Kids get coloring pages placemats and crayons for coloring.  Catering also available.

Little Amigo Menu (Kids' Meal options - subject to change):  Taco, Rice & Beans; Mini Burrito, Rice & Beans; Enchilada, Rice & Beans; Mini Mexican Pizza; Cheese Crispy, Rice & Beans; Mini Quesadilla, Rice & Beans; Chicken Fingers with Fries; Kids Cheese Nachos with Fries.

Other Torero Mexican Restaurant family-owned and run locations in Chapel Hill (Cole Park Plaza - 11520 US 15-501); Durham, Raleigh, Cary, Goldsboro, and Roxboro.

 


This guide is for family dining in the Chapel Hill area.  If you are planning a day-trip to Raleigh to visit the museums, etc., try this link for Top 10 Breakfast Restaurants in Raleigh.  If you would like to suggest area family-friendly restaurants for inclusion in this list, please click here.

Smoke-Free Dining


The Orange County Health Department has published on its website a Smoke-Free Dining Guide listing smoke-free restaurants in Orange County.  View the Orange County Smoke-Free Dining Guide.

 

Delivery Service


Some of the restaurants listed above offer delivery service, but if you are looking for delivery for something other than pizza (and your favorite restaurant does not offer delivery), www.tarheeltakeout.com and/or www.triangletogo.com may be the answer!

Tarheel Take-Out Express offers delivery service for many local restaurants, including Subway, Elmo's Diner, McAlister's Deli, Owens 501 Diner, Mama Dip's Kitchen - (yum!), the Mediterranean Deli, Chinese restaurants, Indian restaurants, Irish pubs, and many more, as well as Ben & Jerry's ice cream!  (lunch delivery is available M-F from 10:30am-1:00pm; dinner delivery is available daily 5:00pm - 9:00pm.

TriangleToGo.com offers the same services for an expanded area in Durham and different restaurants, including Quiznos, Rick's Diner, Ninth Street Bakery, Turtle Creek Farm (gourmet cheesecake), and more.
www.tarheeltakeout.com and www.triangletogo.com
(919) 942-7678.

 

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