Crooks Corner Restaurant, Chapel Hill , North Carolina

As I mentioned in my previous post, I had occassion to visit the fine city of Chapel Hill, North Carolina on business this past week, but while I was there but a short time, I was able to steal a bit of time to taste the local fare. First of all, let me say that before I went to Chapel Hill, I mentioned my trip in passing to my buddy Jay Perlow, of eGullet and more recently Off The Broiler fame. He advised me that if I visited said fair city, and I did not visit Crooks Corner Restaurant, I would be getting no fruitcake from him this Christmas. Needless to say, I have a stalwart affinity for fruitcake (not!), and I always take food advice from Jay very seriously (do!), so I told Miggy that we had to visit the spot on pain of death. All I had to do was mention the restaurant in Chapel Hill, and it was clear that the trip was a no-brainer. So after my demo and class at the Southern Season Cooking School, Miggy and I went in search of the well known, and highly acclaimed culinary mecca.

The restaurant is unassuming enough, with a small town, country charm that brings to mind Sandra Bullock in “Hope Floats” or some such thing (yes, I admit to seeing it…it was hormones! that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!). The restaurant “mascot” is prominently featured outside, and any place that welcomes me with a pig, is definately my kind of place!

Miggy and I settled right in, having worked up an appetite during work hours. The sad thing is that we are both on a carb-free, alcohol-free diet during the Lenten season, so we wistfully watched pitchers of frosty beer, and gleaming hunks of golden cornbread whisked past our table. We carefull looked over the menu, and placed our order.

We would start out with the Country Bean and Ham Soup, and the Ceasar’s Salad. The soup was thick with beans and ham, and the smoky aroma woke up all kinds of growls in our stomach, but we both found it seriously underseasoned. The salad, however, was refreshing and delicious, with the dressing really sparkling from the lemon. The serving was huge, and certainly more than enough for two hungry girls trying to be good!

Now here is where it gets exciting; we ordered the Pulled Pork Platter which comes with Hoppin’ John, Cornbread and a side of Collards (saints save us!), and the signature dish of the house, the Shrimp and Grits platter . I have three words for you folks:




The pulled pork was briny and melt in your mouth delectable. I cried around the Hoppin’ John, and managed to salvage quite a number of those black eyed peas, but resisited the temptations of the perfectly cooked white rice, and of course, that soul tempting cornbread. The greens were smoky, and had a lovely note from the coursely grated Parmesan cheese on top. Miggy and I made short work of them, I can assure you. The shrimp and grits was a phenomenon. Sauteed in in bits of crispy bacon, and button mushrooms, the shrimp were a sweet, plump, and juicy foil, for the creamy (yet slightly chewy) grits and then you get a whiff of tabasco! Topped off with a generous sprinkle of chopped scallions, I can honestly say, that if the choice was ever put to me, what would my last meal be….this would be a serious contender!

Alas, diets and BBQ retaurants do not make for good companions, so we restricted ourselves severely, but Chef Bill Smith, who came out to introduce himself and say howdy, showered us with yet more of that famous Southern hospitality, and rewarded (or cursed!) us with a delicious Banana Pudding which sported a jaunty merengue topping and sweet slices of banana on the bottom. There’s something that’s going to end up in the confessional booth!

Thanks to all our friends in Chapel Hill, for showing us such a great time, and making us feel right at home! You’ve only ensured that we will be looking forward to another visit…real soon!
Crooks Corner Restaurant
610 West Franklin St
Chapel Hill, NC
919 929 7643


4 Responses to “Crooks Corner Restaurant, Chapel Hill , North Carolina”

  1. 1 Jason Perlow March 26, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    Cool. You liked it! Did you ever get to Loco Pops?

  2. 2 Migui March 26, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    We Loved it!!! The pulled pork…yummy!

  3. 4 migui April 17, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    Hey sweets! Como estas?

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