The Cheap Eats Express usually chugs on by McDonalds, KFC and the like without even slowing down. But weve discovered a few regional and national chains worth a stop.
2 Raleigh locations: 6325 Falls of Neuse Road; 8201-107 Brier Creek Parkway
919-878-7690 (Falls of Neuse); 919-806-5700 (Brier Creek)
In a nutshell: An extensive menu of traditional Middle Eastern fare spiced up with signature specialties such as Len-Chili (thats half lentils, half chili) and Farouks Falafel Pitza set this Ohio-based chain apart from the crowd.
Another Broken Egg Cafe
2608-120 Erwin Road, Durham; 1121 Market Center Drive, Morrisville
919-381-5172 (Durham); 919-465-1079 (Morrisville)
In a nutshell: Cant make it to New Orleans? Get your eggs Sardou fix here, where youll choose betweeen bayou-accented offerings ranging from biscuit beignets to a Cajun tuna sandwich to bananas Foster waffles.
2052-570 Renaissance Park Place, Cary; 3000-100 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh*
In a nutshell: Grass-fed beef on a trademark branded bun, house-cut fries and all-natural frozen custards make BurgerFi a welcome newcomer to the local scene. (Fans of In-N-Out Burger, the popular California chain that has yet to venture East of the Mississippi, take note: BurgerFi has a secret menu, too.)
* Note: Raleigh location scheduled to open around September 25.
Hurricane Grill & Wings
1389 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary
In a nutshell: Its no surprise, given the name, that this Florida-based chain turns out some mean wings, which you can get with your choice of more than 30 sauces. Come to think of it, I guess the Grill in the name is a clue that they make a mighty fine burger, too.
The Loop Pizza Grill
Locations in Cary, Durham and Chapel Hill; see website for addresses and phone numbers.
In a nutshell: Fast, friendly service, reasonable prices and a solidly executed something-for-everyone menu (entree salads, individual pizzas, burgers and wraps, old-fashioned shakes and malts) have made The Loop a local favorite for families.
4117 Davis Drive, Morrisville
In a nutshell: Chopped salads are the specialty choose from 15 signature combinations ranging from Cobb to Asian chicken, or create your own from the extensive cafeteria-style selection. An equally tempting selection of crêpe wraps, panini and sandwiches make the choice more difficult. Splurging on a house-baked double chocolate-chip cookie for dessert now thats a no-brainer.