5 Triangle gems off the beaten path

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This month, we venture off the beaten path for a grab bag of cheap eats worth putting a few extra miles on the odometer

Bagels Plus

100 Dickens Road, Fuquay-Varina

919-285-4980

bagelsplusfuquay.com

A little slice of New York in Fuquay offering authentic bagels with a variety of fillings (if you’ve been searching in vain for white fish salad, your search is over). And the “Plus”? Three-egg omelets, sandwiches on house-baked breads, and a pastry case filled with everything from Danish to sfogliatelle.

Belgian Cafe

1232 W. Williams St., Apex

919-372-5128

belgian-cafe.com

Authentic Liege-style waffles are just the beginning of a European cafe adventure where the very names of dishes (l’oeuf à la coque, asperges à la flamande, croissant aux amandes) are magic incantations that will make you forget that this was once the site of a Subway.

El Señor

2001 Widewaters Pkwy., Knightdale

919-261-0808

elsenormexican.com

Consistently well-prepared Tex-Mex fare – and a few specialties such as chiles poblanos stuffed with grilled shrimp – have made this colorful strip mall eatery a local favorite since 2003. If you’re a fan of carnitas, you’ve hit the unctuous, crackly-edged jackpot.

Hometown Cafe

3370 US Hwy. 1, Franklinton

919-494-1500

hometowncafeus1.com

You can’t miss with anything fried – chicken, chicken livers, shrimp – at this strip mall eatery specializing in down home Southern-style cooking. Fair warning, though: If you go on a Tuesday, when chicken and dumplings are one of the daily specials, you’ll have to loosen your belt a notch and plan on leftovers.

Small B & B Cafe

219 East St., Pittsboro

919-537-1909

smallbandbcafe.com

Farm to fork on the cheap? That’s the delicious deal at this quaint hideaway in downtown Pittsboro. How do lemon ricotta hotcakes sound for breakfast? For lunch, maybe a local egg salad salad sandwich and homemade soup. Or play the Wild Card daily special, and you could be dealt anything from banh mi to house-roasted beef with mashed potatoes.

Originally published 8/25/2016