Cheap Eats: A look at home-grown restaurant chains

By Greg Cox

Originally published February 2015

A monthly roundup of ethnic eats, counter service chow and other tasty bargains. This month’s edition shines the spotlight on home-grown restaurant chains. Unless otherwise noted, the location given is the original. (Originally published 2/20/2015)

8111 Creedmoor Road, Raleigh
In a nutshell: Hearty breakfast specialist also serves sandwiches and salads for lunch. Five locations in Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest and Durham.

Cafe Carolina & Bakery
401 Daniels St., Raleigh*
In a nutshell: Sandwiches on house-baked breads, soups, salads, tempting assortment of pastries. Four locations in Raleigh, Cary and Chapel Hill. (*Original Cameron Village restaurant on Woodburn Avenue relocated to Daniels Street in 2000.)

Carolina Ale House
500 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh*
In a nutshell: Sports pub with extensive draft beer selection. 24 locations across the South, including six in the Triangle. (*Original location on Creekside Drive relocated to Glenwood South in January of this year.)

The Char-Grill restaurant on Hillsborough Street has been a popular burger establishment for decades.

The Char-Grill restaurant on Hillsborough Street has been a popular burger establishment for decades. Photo by Gary Allen

618 Hillsborough St., Raleigh
In a nutshell: Old-school drive-in burgers grilled over an open flame. Ten North Carolina locations, including eight in the Triangle.

Crazy Fire Mongolian Grill
1270 Buck Jones Road, Cary
In a nutshell: Choose your own meats, veggies and sauces, then watch as they’re cooked to order on a large, flat wok. Four locations in Raleigh, Cary, Fayetteville and Burlington.

8531 Brier Creek Pkwy., Raleigh*
In a nutshell: Loaded hot dogs and house-recipe sausages. Two locations in Raleigh and Cary. (*Original Cary location on Kildaire Farm Road now closed.)

Jasmin Mediterranean Bistro
2430 Hillsborough St., Raleigh*
In a nutshell: Pita sandwiches, kebabs and other Middle Eastern fare. Four locations in Raleigh and Cary. (*Original location in Cary Towne Center food court now closed.)

3710-118 Shannon Road, Durham
In a nutshell: Food truck featuring burgers made with naturally raised beef now has two locations in Durham. Check Twitter for the location of the truck, which is still rolling.

Rise Biscuits & Donuts
8200-1003 Renaissance Pkwy., Durham
In a nutshell: The name tells you what they do, but not how wicked good they are. Two additional locations slated to open in Cary and Midtown Raleigh in the summer.

1931 Wake Forest Road, Raleigh
In a nutshell: “Hot dogs, burgers & more” – but mostly hot dogs. Four locations in Raleigh and one in Garner.