A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains.
5410 N.C. Highway 55, Durham
• In a nutshell: A weekday lunch buffet with a Greek accent, combined with an extensive breakfast menu and sandwich selection, make this strip mall eatery an RTP favorite.
• Try: Moussaka, grape leaves, Greek-style vegetables and rice pudding are all winners on the buffet. Salad bar is solid, too.
Corbett’s Burgers & Soda Bar
126 Kilmayne Drive, Cary
• In a nutshell: Burgers – house-ground daily and grilled over an open flame – are the stars, with an eye-popping selection of more than 240 bottled sodas playing a colorful supporting role.
• Try: Take your pick of burger toppings from an extensive list that includes pimento cheese, chili and buttermilk coleslaw, all homemade. A Krispy Kreme burger with bacon, Velveeta cheese and “special sauce” is an occasional $5.99 special.
D & S Cafeteria
1177 Buck Jones Road, Cary
• In a nutshell: After years of working for K & S Cafeteria, Diane & Sylvester Smith bought the Cary location in 2010 and replaced the “K & S” with their own initials. The couple’s loyal following is evident in a frequently full parking lot.
• Try: Check the website for early-bird specials, the only way I’ve discovered to resist the temptation of loading your tray with more than you can possibly eat. Whatever you do, don’t miss the cabbage casserole.
404 W. Chatham St., Cary
• In a nutshell: Cuban fare, served cafeteria-style just like it’s done in many Miami restaurants, has made this Cary spot a haven for Cuban-Americans. It’s a worthy destination for anyone else seeking a taste of Havana on a budget, too.
• Try: Arroz con pollo, ropa vieja, fried plantains, Cubano sandwich.
Jubala Village Coffee
8450 Honeycutt Road, Raleigh
• In a nutshell: Counter Culture coffees and espresso drinks plus panini and an all-day breakfast menu like no other make this Lafayette Village shop a worthy destination (especially the breakfast).
• Try: Liege Belgian waffle (caramelized sugar-crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, with choice of fillings ranging from fresh fruit to Nutella); buttermilk biscuit with apple butter, maple bacon, country ham or Big Spoon Roasters nut butter.
Mixed Casual Korean Bistro
1404 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
• In a nutshell: Mix-and-match your way to instant bibimbap bliss at this fast food-style Korean restaurant.
• Try: Regardless of which protein you choose (bulgogi, soy-marinated chicken, spicy pork or tofu) and which rice you opt for (white, brown or multigrain), splurge on the hot stone bowl (dolsot). And sure, go ahead and top it with a fried egg.