A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains.
Camos Brothers Pizza
7321 Six Forks Road, Raleigh
In a nutshell: If the Big Apple mementos (including two actual subway doors) plastered all over the walls don’t bring a happy tear to the eye of a homesick New Yorker, the pizzas (whole or by the slice) ought to do the trick.
Try: Lunch special (two cheese slices and a drink for $5.99; same deal for a house specialty pizza is $7.99). You can’t go wrong with Da Bronx: fresh mozzarella, house-made sauce, ricotta and garlic. Go ahead and splurge on a Caesar salad, served in an edible pizza dough bowl.
748-A E. Chatham St., Cary
In a nutshell: Locals have been coming back to this little strip-mall hole in the wall for years, as much for the friendly service as for the food, a quirky mix of American diner fare and Tex-Mex. Regardless of time of day (Christie’s is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.), breakfast is the main draw.
Try: French toast, pancakes, breakfast burritos.
962-A Airport Blvd., Morrisville
In a nutshell: Half-hidden behind a Mobil gas station, this family-run newcomer is worth seeking out for some of the best hot dogs around, where scratch chili and house-cut fries are just the starting point. They’re even working on a recipe for homemade sauerkraut.
Try: The Spicy Redneck (bacon-wrapped all-beef dog, chili, fresh jalapeños, slaw); and I don’t know about you, but as soon as that house-made sauerkraut is ready, I’m going back for a German dog (spicy mustard, kraut).
2608-135 Erwin Road, Durham
In a nutshell: Fresh salads, grilled-to-order kebabs and other Middle Eastern fare have made this counter service eatery a favorite with the denizens of nearby Duke Hospital. Don’t be intimidated by the line that forms around peak lunchtime. It moves quickly, and your patience will be amply rewarded.
Try: Wraps (chicken shawarma, falafel, artichoke), beef kebab platter with basmati rice, Trio-Veggie platter (choose three items from selection of salads and hot sides).
Sola Coffee Cafe
7705 Lead Mine Road, Raleigh
In a nutshell: This North Raleigh gem has everything you could ask for in a neighborhood coffee shop: properly brewed Counter Culture Coffees; friendly staff; and a comfortable, roomy space with regularly scheduled live entertainment. Excellent sandwiches and salads (and in the evening, small plates and pizzas) are a bonus, and homemade mini-donuts are icing on the cake.
Try: Southwestern chicken sandwich, Sola BLT (sandwiches come with a side: go for the arugula salad); mini-donuts – rolled in cinnamon and sugar, served warm – are an absolute must.
Spicy Green Gourmet
2945-126 S. Miami Blvd., Durham
In a nutshell: A cheery setting, fast service and inventive sandwiches made with an eye to fresh local ingredients make this shop a favorite with the RTP crowd for weekday lunch. And never more than Fridays, when every meal comes with a free freshly baked cookie.
Try: Cajun pork sandwich, Fall Garden Veggie Wrap, Southwest turkey club (if the jalapeño bacon isn’t spicy enough for your taste, you can amp it up with any of some three dozen bottles of hot sauce on the counter).