‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate’

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Best of Chapel Hill voters share their most-loved dishes at our readers’ favorite restaurants for comfort and Southern food  

By Ella Sullivan | Photo by Beth Mann

Acme's skillet cornbread


“The first time I ate at Acme was 16 years ago to celebrate my father’s 65th birthday. I was not living in North Carolina at the time, and we went for Sunday brunch, which obviously meant I had to order grits. And wow – just wow! [That was the] first time ever I didn’t have to season my restaurant grits. Acme captured my taste buds with something so simple as grits and continues to delight them to this day with everything I order.” – Samantha Swan, Cottage Lane Kitchen

“The cornbread skillet [pictured above] from Acme is the epitome of comfort food. A timeless classic. What’s not to love about your very own piping hot skillet of baked-to-order cornbread that’s topped off with a dollop of melty butter? You simply cannot resist slicing off wedge after wedge …” – Carrie Brogren, founder of Chapel Hill Carrboro Foodies Facebook Group

Mama Dip’s Kitchen

“[This] is the place you go when you need to feel the comforts of home. It is always filled with a cross section of the community, coming together in a place filled with love and acceptance. The perfectly crisp and juicy fried chicken is better than your own mama’s, and every side should be ordered and shared family style to keep from having to choose. I always order extra fried okra and mac and cheese, and far more hush puppies than anyone should eat in one sitting – they melt in your mouth when they come out of the fryer. [I always take] a slice of freshly baked pecan pie with me, helping me savor every comforting morsel of home long after I’ve [visited].” – Rachel Jennings 

Merritt’s Grill

“Whenever I’m in need of major comfort food, Merritt’s Grill and their turkey sandwich with bacon and cheddar are always there for me. Seriously, is there anything that excessive amounts of bacon can’t fix?” – Kristi Kaas

Elmo’s Diner

“The place is fantastic. The servings are large. The food is great. I love their omelets, waffles and their biscuits. It is a wonderful place for delicious comfort food!” – James Burton 

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