I’m continuing the Raleigh/Durham series with my top lunch picks. Included is a fairly wide range of lunch spots, from sit-down/business lunch appropriate to order at the counter type places. I don’t have quite as many lunch recommendations for Durham, as we mostly only made it there on the weekends (and that usually means brunch). Make sure to check out my Jauntful guides below for additional recommendations.
Other posts in this series:
Where to Lunch in Raleigh
One of our all time, go-to, lunch places. I love to get the pierogi and sausage platter, two half sausages and an order of pierogies, it is delicious. All the sausages are made in-house and are SO good. When I’m not in the mood for sausage, I really enjoy their caesar salad, it is the real deal with anchovies, a salty/lemony dressing, and pumpernickel croutons (made in-house). The pork schnitzel sandwich is also a favorite, and you shouldn’t pass up the fries. The potato salad should be tried, at least once. Basically, I just love all the food there 🙂 They also keep four rotating drafts of german beers to pair with your sausages, so having lunch here is almost like a mini-vacation 🙂 If it’s a work day, they have some of the best iced tea in town (comes unsweetened with a side of simple syrup).
Great Italian spot for lunch or dinner. Their flatbreads are amazing, and their soup and salad is a close second. This is popular for lunch or dinner, so I suggest reservations. We have always had good service and food here. If you visiting the Art Museum, this is a great choice for lunch.
I know, I recommended Joule for brunch too, but good is good. They offer a nice variety of sandwiches and salads. Make sure to ask what the soup of the day is, the several times I had the soup, it was always excellent. P and I went to lunch here at least once a month. If you are in the mood for a sweet treat, their desserts are excellent and make a work-week lunch feel extra special. No time for dessert, they also have cookies (though not listed on the menu); I might have ordered them a time or two to take back for an afternoon pick-me up 🙂
This is a fun find, tucked away in the Oakwood neighborhood. Oakwood is a beautiful neighborhood adjacent to downtown, full of historic houses. I highly recommend a stroll around and then settle in for lunch. Quality Grocery is an order at the counter deli, with tables inside and outside for you to enjoy your meal at. My pick is the rib sandwich, but the chicken salad is also quite good.
This is my burger joint pick. There are many debates, on who has the best burger in the Triangle, the top contenders are usually Bull City, Only Burger, Chuck’s, and Fat Daddy’s. For me the winner is Chuck’s. I like how they cook the burger, the toppings are excellent, and I’m a big fan of their belgian fries. Plus they have malt vinegar aioli and well nothing beats that 🙂 If you order the fries, get the malt vinegar aioli, just trust me. My two favorite burgers on the menu are the Big House and Bradley Time, but make sure to ask if they are running a special burger too (it’s usually quite creative). To complete your meal, order the Salted Peanut Butter Banana Shake…then plan a nap afterwards 🙂 Chuck’s is open for dinner and lunch, with the same menu for both.
Is a hot dog institution in Raleigh, and you should go at least once. It is CASH ONLY and has very limited seating. Their hot dogs are good, I like mine all-the- way: mustard, chili, slaw, and onions. These four toppings are the extent of what you will find as topping options, don’t ask for ketchup (or anything else). This place is an experience and was also featured on Man vs Food. Also, it’s the only place that ordering a Miller High Life seems right.
Where to Lunch in Durham
I already wrote about our lunch experience in a prior post…my advice order the grilled ham and cheese…just do it!! Mateo only serves lunch Tuesday through Friday. If you can make it there for lunch, it is a great way to sample some of their dinner options for a less expensive price. Their food is amazing and they are on my dinner list too 🙂
Fun fact, P had one of his beers on tap there. He won their very first homebrew competition and had his black IPA recipe brewed on their system and he got to name it (PBIPA). It was pretty awesome! Their burgers are good, and they focus on sustainable and local ingredients. They always have a great selection of beers, brewed on premises…you really can’t go wrong. I highly recommend finding a seat at the bar. If you sit at the bar you can order your food right from the bartender, instead of standing in line.
A very popular and authentic cuban sandwich shop. All the ingredients used are high quality and the sandwiches are crafted with care (ie no fatty meat pieces). Bring your appetite as the portions are very filling. They also offer house-made sodas, which I love.
What is your go-to lunch spot?