While Chase Hall and Lenoir Dining Hall certainly have a place in the food scene at UNC Chapel Hill, nothing beats the restaurants on Franklin. Whether it’s authentic Japanese, classic southern diners or something off the beaten path, there’s enough variety to appeal to any of the 28,000 students on UNC’s campus. Not to mention, with some restaurants appearing or disappearing in a single semester, there’s always something new to try.
However, eating out isn’t always great for a college budget. So, in order to save you and your wallet some pain, Fresh U has comprised a list of the best wallet-friendly restaurants to try at UNC.
1. Linda’s Bar and Grill
Just like any college town, UNC has many different dive bars perfect for a college budget. While other noteworthy restaurants include Goodfellows or Speakeasy in Carrboro, Linda’s seems to be the student body’s bar of choice. Linda’s offers a large variety of budget-friendly drink options and other dive classics — cheese fries, large televisions and trivia night.
2. Ms. Mong
A newer addition to Franklin, Ms. Mong is already taking the student body by storm. A Mongolian fusion restaurant, Ms. Mong offers a unique menu where customers build their own meals. You can pick from a variety of meats, veggies and sauce options. Not to mention, the restaurant also allows you to pick how spicy you want your food — a real life saver. With huge portions and a reasonable price, it looks like this restaurant will be a big hit.
3. The Yogurt Pump
Simply referred to as YoPo, this technically isn’t somewhere you’d want to get a full meal — unless you just really like frozen yogurt. Nevertheless, this fun little shop is a staple of UNC life and there’s hardly a student on campus who hasn’t been at least once, especially since it's always changing its flavors. Just be sure to save your receipts! For every ten you collect, YoPo will give you free yogurt.
4. Mellow Mushroom
While Mellow Mushroom is known for its delicious pizza and psychedelic decor, its menu prices aren’t particularly friendly for a single diner. Thankfully, pizza isn’t the only thing this restaurant is serving. Though a lesser-known option, Mellow Mushroom also offers a delicious selection of sandwiches. Customers can chose between a half sandwich, about six inches, or a full sandwich, which is about a foot. Higher quality for about the same price, this is a great option for any student willing to make the walk.
5. Buns Burgers and Fries
A Chapel Hill classic, Buns doesn’t seem like it’s leaving anytime soon. With large portions and a huge variety of tops, this beloved burger joint is a favorite among the UNC students. Don’t be afraid to experiment at this restaurant. Whether it’s a new topping you haven’t had before or a new dipping sauce, nearly everything here is delicious. Also, be sure to check out the burger contest to win free Buns for a year.
6. Mediterranean Deli
Colloquially known as Med Deli, this restaurant is a favorite for both lifelong Greek eaters and newbies. Crowd favorites include lamb gyros, fatayers or falafel, a vegetarian option. Still, you can’t go wrong with anything on this menu. Med Deli makes its own bread and its entire menu is reasonably priced.
A small and discrete restaurant, Vespa doesn’t seem like a go-to destination for UNC students. And with entree prices averaging between $16 to $18, it's little wonder more students don’t make this traditional Italian restaurant a habit. However, stop by on a Wednesday night and you might have trouble getting a seat. Because every Wednesday, Vespa’s entree menu becomes half off. making it a great place for an affordable date night.
8. Benny Capella's
Benny’s is a staple for after-dark adventures in Chapel Hill. With Frat Court right down the road from Franklin, it’s little wonder that people are looking for late night snacks. Benny’s fills this need by offering huge, cheap slices of pizza at all hours of the night. It isn’t uncommon to see a line out the building and down the sidewalk, so be prepared for a wait.
9. Cosmic Cantina
For those on a serious budget, look no further than Cosmic. A small Mexican cafe, Cosmic is the go-to place for cheap burritos and nachos. Because it has a variety of options and is friendly to anyone’s wallet, this is a great place for large groups to eat. Not to mention, it’s open until 4 a.m. — perfect for those late night study sessions.
10. Sup Dogs
While Sup Dogs is always a great place to grab a quick burger or hot dog, this place is never more relevant than it is during basketball season. Though Franklin offers a variety sports bars, Sup Dogs is the place to be for sporting. It offer the best deals, the biggest televisions and the best location when it's time to rush Franklin. Not to mention, the place has a notorious sense of humor. Just be sure to show up early — people will camp on the sidewalks for a good table.
All in all, there are so many different restaurants along Franklin and the surrounding Chapel Hill community. Even after four years, seniors will tell you that they still haven’t managed to try everything and they certainly haven’t gotten tired of their favorites.
Just don’t be afraid to be adventurous or try new things. College is about expanding your horizons and, naturally, this also includes food.
Good luck and bon appétit!
Lead Image Credit: Cignoh via Flickr Creative Commons