Cheap Eats

August 26, 2011 

This month's tour of bargain dining destinations takes us from old-fashioned country buffet to contemporary café with a Latin twist.

Dame's Chicken & Waffles

317 W. Main St., Durham


Cuisine: fried chicken and waffles

In a nutshell: Start with the best fried chicken in town. Add a scratch-made Belgian waffle, choosing among several variations on the theme. Put them on the same plate, and you've got a delightful update of a classic soul food combination.

Try: Light Brown Leghorns (four drumsticks and a classic waffle with chocolate hazelnut crème and caramel sauce), Quilted Buttercup (chicken cutlet sandwiched between sweet potato waffles, topped with maple crème and candied pecans.

Eva's Cafe

2121-125 T.W. Alexander Drive, Morrisville


Cuisine: sandwiches

In a nutshell: Single-origin coffees, and a modest but varied selection of sandwiches and wraps with a Latin American accent, make this little shop a lunchtime favorite with the RTP crowd.

Try: Homemade chicken soup with cilantro and avocado, chicken chipotle wrap, South American-style baked empanadas (chicken or beef, available only on Wednesdays and Fridays), cardamom coffee.

Meadow Village Restaurant

7400 N.C. 50 South, Benson


Cuisine: Southern

In a nutshell: A buffet rivaling the biggest Southern family reunion spread you can imagine is well worth the 40-minute drive from Raleigh. Get there early, or you may find yourself waiting another 40 minutes for a table.

Try: Chicken and pastry, fried chicken, fried flounder (yes, the turnover is that fast), collard greens, chicken salad, green beans, field peas, butter beans, biscuits - you get the idea. Just be sure to leave room for a sampling from the eye-popping display of homemade desserts, from banana pudding to signature chocolate pie.

Wilmoore Café

223 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh


Cuisine: coffeehouse, sandwiches

In a nutshell: David Fowle, whose coffees at Café Udine won a loyal following (not to mention a few awards) before closing in 2002, is back. This time around, he's pairing his caffeinated offering with a menu of locavore fare between two slices of bread.

Try: Eastern North Carolina pork banh mi, house-roasted turkey with avocado mousse, Top Hogs bacon and hoop cheese on La Farm bread (white or honey whole wheat), braised Coastal Cattle beef brisket on baguette.

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