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A good old Southern brunch can transport you back to simpler days, when people outside Raleigh-Durham weren’t so worried about automobiles and skyscrapers. To that end, these are the five Raleigh-Durham restaurants you should check out for brunch:
1. Foster’s Market in Durham, where sandwiches and wraps get a gourmet touch. Bakery shelves overflowing with scones, big serving bowls of fresh salads and fruit, creaky wooden floors — it's picture-perfect, country-market charm. Chalkboards tout a menu that's tweaked daily. Step up and place your order, then sink yourself into a sofa, and your teeth into that sandwich.
2. Acme in Carrboro. Chef Kevin Callaghan whips up an inspired menu featuring sinfully Southern combinations, such as fried eggs over Hoppin’ John, topped with bacon-chipotle hollandaise.
3. Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill. Look for the big pink pig on the roof. Since the 1950s, the building has served as a taxi stand, a pool hall and a barbecue joint. Since 1982, though, Crook’s has been a purveyor of exemplary Southern cuisine. If weather permits, snag a table on the outdoor patio, where a trickling fountain and folk artist Clyde Jones’ chainsaw-carved “critters” create a magical vibe. Order the famous and oft-copied shrimp and grits - with a side of jalape"e;o hushpuppies.
4. Parker & Otis. Go all-in with the grilled pimento cheese sandwich topped with a few slices of bacon. You don’t stop at a place like this looking for health food; southerners love a good pimiento cheese, and P&O’s doesn’t disappoint.
5. Poole’s in Raleigh. Red leather banquettes and a double horseshoe bar give this spot retro-chic charm. A blackboard menu changes daily.
The Raleigh-Durham restaurants that serve the best brunch are The Fearrington Granary in Pittsboro, Poole’s Diner in Raleigh, Carolina Crossroads Restaurant at The Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, 411 West Italian Café in Chapel Hill and Brigs at the Village in Cary.