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RTP food culture (and dinner spots)?


aeschylus
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hey all -- my research group at unc is hosting a visiting artist/activist in a few weeks. we've been focusing lately on making maps about the economic geography of the triangle, and RTP figures pretty heavily into that. anyway, our visitor is keen on seeing the park in all of its glory (and confusion!), and we're taking him around for an afternoon on a sort of situationalist drift through the Park.

the foodie question: we want to also explore some of the food culture of RTP, ending up eating dinner somewhere nearby. i've read nibbs fabulous april post on lunch spots, but wanted to throw this out for new suggestions; observations on what lunchtime culture is like in the park (we've heard rumours that there are some taco stands worth checking out?) and, most importantly dinner recommendations! what lunch spots stay open for dinner? i know serena turns into a more upscale tapas place at night, any other suggestions for places which epitomize the RTP 'scene'?

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>Serena's not bad for dinner. There's not a lot like it in the area.

They were closed one day for lunch last week due to some personnel issues. I hope they get them resolved, because I'd like to see them stay open. They make some great sandwiches at lunch. Could be too much sq footage, tho. Gotta turn a profit.

Another dinner option is 9N9 - They stay open. I often stop in and bring springrolls and sandwiches home for dinner. But it will be empty, so I don't think you'll get much 'culture'.

Just about everything else gets boarded up by 2PM. :)

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Saffron serves Indian haute cuisine and was at least quite full last friday night. My guess is that these places are making their bread and butter during lunch while hoping the area grows in terms of housing developments (which it appears to be doing). That, of course, should result in better dinners as well.

But yes, the shopping center where 9n9 is all about lunch.

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What about the 54/55 area? To me just a cruise around that intersection, with the Wok Buffet extravaganza, hidden Asian groceries, and perhaps a dozen nationalities represented says a lot about the culture of RTP and what the workforce looks like.

In particular, the following spots are tops on this cracker's list for RTP cuisine:

- VIT Goal Tofu -- Korean tofu soups and barbeque. Perfect for the cooler nights. The tofu soups are as good as any I've ever had.

- Sal's Birdland -- my favorite wing place ever, just be sure and get the sauce on the side. This place should be in Roadfood just for the crazy hotdogs (Jamaica style???) they serve.

- Sarah's Empanada's, but alas they're not open for dinner. Bolivian baked empanadas; the feel of the turnovers is a bit industrial (I sense campbell's mushroom soup sometimes, but hell, the best crawfish pie recipe I have employs the same), and damn the salsa is good.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sarah's Empenadas are really, really good. Also, if your person likes Korean barbecue, you might want to try Chosun OK on Hwy 54. A Korean friend of ours recommended it as very authentic Korean food. He knows about authentic, so we'll take his word on that -- all we know about is tasty. Which it was. Very. Spicy food options are available there if you want them, too, which we liked. Not sure if they stay open for dinner, but it would be well worth checking, though I should note the ambiance is not particularly elegant -- would be best for an informal kind of dinner.

Edited by albionmoonlight (log)
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