Talk like a Chapel Hill Local

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Froyo on Franklin Street is delicious no matter whether you call it YoPo or The Yogurt Pump.
Photo by Briana Brough

These are the dishes – past and present – that have allowed us to retain the title of ‘America’s foodiest small town.’ Just ask these locals:

Airport Road

The former name of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (or N.C. 86). Longtime Chapel Hillians still reference it when giving directions.

Blue Hill District

The new name for the Ephesus- Fordham district including Chapel Hill’s older, suburban-style shopping centers like Eastgate Crossing, Village Plaza and Rams Plaza.


This former mill town has the highest density per square mile of any town in North Carolina. It’s hard to tell where Chapel Hill ends and Carrboro starts as the downtowns seamlessly connect, but it’s right around Carrburritos.


A few miles south of Chapel Hill and Carrboro, Chatham is a more rural county that a number of relocators are finding to their taste. Chatham has both prominent developments like Briar Chapel, Fearrington Village and Governors Club, as well as cozy, smaller neighborhoods and streets.

Chatham Park

A huge development just beginning to grow outside Pittsboro. Planned to be built over the next 30 years, Chatham Park will have over 20,000 homes, schools, parks and trails over its 7,000 acres. The first homes are scheduled to be finished in 2019.

Dean Dome

The Dean E. Smith Center houses the home court of the UNC men’s basketball team.


Eastgate Crossing is an outdoor shopping center located right before Franklin Street and U.S. 15-501 merge heading toward Durham. Its tenants include casual restaurants, a Trader Joe’s and clothing and accessories stores.

Fordham Boulevard

As U.S. 15-501 crosses over Mt. Carmel Church Road just south of downtown, it becomes Fordham Boulevard. Fordham continues, crosses over N.C. 54 and then merges with Franklin Street before entering the Durham city limits and becoming Durham-Chapel Hill Boulevard.

Franklin Street

Chapel Hill’s main drag, divided into East and West by Columbia Street, is in the heart of town. The Franklin-Columbia intersection is where huge crowds gather to celebrate big UNC wins.


A favorite hashtag for Tar Heel fans, it means Good Day to Be a Tar Heel.


The county seat of Orange County was founded in 1752 and has a ton of history and the scenic Riverwalk.

Jordan Lake

A manmade lake in Chatham County, with boating, beaches, camping and other outdoor activities.


Kenan Memorial Stadium is the home of the UNC football team.


A mixed-use community. The main retail village includes a grocery store, banks, boutiques (including one for your dog!) and restaurants for everybody – a pizza spot, a cafe, a coffee shop, a taco eatery and more.

Med Deli

Mediterranean Deli downtown is a favorite for their homemade pita – check out the adjoining grocery store. (Not to be confused with The Mod, a pizza and deli spot in Pittsboro!)


Chatham’s largest town, about 15 miles south of Chapel Hill. Pittsboro retains a true small-town feel, with an historic downtown of shops and restaurants, its old county courthouse and various street fairs and farmers markets. Once off the radar, Pittsboro has a growing restaurant and arts scene.


UNC’s mascot is a ram, named after the star of the 1922 football team Jack Merritt’s nickname, “the battering ram.”

Southern Village

Another mixed-use residential and retail community with a movie theater, a community-owned cooperative grocery market and a large green space with a weekly farmers’ market and frequent events. Also a good landmark when leaving Chapel Hill or Carrboro to head to Chatham – the Orange/Chatham county line is just one mile south.

Tar Heels

North Carolina is “The Tar Heel State,” and the nickname has two possible origins. One story is that back during the Revolutionary War, the British troops discovered their feet covered with tar and some say North Carolinians dumped it in the river to slow down the army. An alternate explanation is that during the Civil War, North Carolina soldiers threatened to stick tar on the heels of other states’ retreating soldiers. General Robert E. Lee reportedly praised them saying, “God bless the Tar Heel boys!


Pronounced “Top-O.” Top of the Hill Restaurant and Brewery is on the top floor on the corner of Franklin and Columbia streets. The large outdoor patio is renowned for views overlooking town.


Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and their interconnecting roads and communities.

University Place

Formerly known as University Mall (or U-Mall), University Place has restaurants, a movie theater and Southern Season.


Franklin Street’s first frozen yogurt spot, The Yogurt Pump, is still a local favorite.

Think we should add a phrase or word to our local list? Email editor Jessica Stringer

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Julia Baker

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