All posts by Nicholas Rardin

Housing & Residential Educ

The Beginner’s Guide to Carrboro

Great question. As a student at Chapel Hill, you not only live on a beautiful campus, you also live right next to the coolest small town on earth.

I’m biased since I grew up there, but take it from me – Carrboro is full of great stuff. Too many of my friends never made it up there during their first few years at Carolina, and now they can’t get enough.

Trying to figure out where Chapel Hill ends and where Carrboro starts can get a bit confusing. It’s kind of a local meme. I always tell people anything past Wings Over is officially in the next town, but the two towns are so close-knit that they might as well be the same place.

Except Carrboro is way cooler. I’m talking fresh donuts, fresh greens, fresh dance moves, live music, live people, live bars, dive bars and anything you could want to do while in college. Chapel Hill is great and I love it. Campus is wonderful and incredibly conducive to learning and bettering yourself and all that jazz. Carrboro is conducive to some straight up ignance.

Try it out the second weekend after you move in.  Get your friends together and stroll on over to Jade Palace. Or 2nd Wind if you’re 21. Just really soak in the small town goodness, and make sure you complete the taco truck rodeo at least once before you graduate. 

Only thing about Carrboro is, you might not actually want to live there just yet. It was a great place tog row up, but man does it suck to have to walk to the bus stop at 6 in the morning. Great place to visit, less great place to live as a student. Being able to walk to class in 10 minutes is a get out of jail free card you don’t even realize you have until it’s gone.

The best time to visit ton is going to be during one of the music events, which happen pretty much all of the time. Weaver Street Market is a really great spot to go and relax and eat something healthy, and they’ve always got a band or two playing there. If you’re more of a night owl, Cat’s Cradle puts on some seriously kick-ass concerts year round. They’ve got Towkio and Amine coming up in October.

So get into your class routine, buy all of your textbooks, then take a night off and go appreciate some dank tacos and tunes in the sleepiest town that never sleeps.

The Comprehensive Guide to Hating Dook

You did it. You’re a Tar Heel, now and forever. You go to the University of National Champions (or I guess technically it stands for North Carolina but whatever).With great power comes great responsibility, and no responsibility is greater than upholding the proud tradition of hating Dook.

If you’re new, you’ve probably heard of the tobacco road rivalry, and you probably also spell the other school’s name “Duke”. You’re in college now so it would be pretty embarrassing to make such basic spelling errors in public. Stay ahead of the curve of incoming first-years and make sure to refer to them as Dook as much as possible 100% of the time.

Now, you guys only have a little bit of time before basketball season starts, so now more than ever it’s important to teach yourself the basics. Basketball is kind of a religion here, and being able to point out exactly which foul Grayson Allen just committed will be sure to make you a few friends.

As for watching the games, the golden rule is one person per square inch of space on the TV screen. Basically watch the games with as many people as possible. It’s a bonding experience, and one that can help you make friends with literally anyone on campus.

On a more serious note, there are very specific etiquette rules surrounding interactions with students from opposing schools. First let’s talk about NC State fans.

Now these guys will stop at absolutely nothing to get you to acknowledge a rivalry between UNC and State. One of the great truths you must learn during your time here is that there totally isn’t. State’s a good school, so are we. On the off-chance that they make the NCAA tournament, you should absolutely cheer for them.

Dook is another story. They are evil. Their mascot is a devil. They know they’re evil. Now you know they’re evil. For you humanities kids, Dook by any other name would smell as gross. For you comp sci kids, Dook.equals(“the worst”). For the rest of you, just check out this guys face, it says it all.Image result for ugly grayson allen

When interacting with Dook students however, it’s important to treat them with as much respect as physically possible. They’re good people who work hard and a lot of the time are actually studying the exact same thing as you. Just remember that you’re school is infinitely better because their shade of blue sucks and this one internet review you read told you they are arbitrarily evil.

Whenever Dook plays someone in the tournament, it is absolutely imperative that you cheer against them. Obtain opposition gear and memorabilia whenever possible. If another school defeats Dook or knocks them out of the tournament, that school is now cool and must be treated as such.

Finally, the most important tip, and what may become one of your best memories at Carolina…………….the Franklin Rush. If you’re from in state you might have heard of Franklin Street. It’s a pretty cool place that;s usually bustling and full of exciting things and people. After we beat Dook you won’t be able to walk. If you’re a current student, I’m sure you remember the championship rush. If you’re new, just picture one of the horde scenes from The Walking Dead. That about sums up how much elbow room you’ll have during the celebration.

Image result for unc championship rushThe town absolutely explodes after a win and there’s a right and a wrong way to do it. If you cheer a little bit and then go back to your lab report, that is incorrect and your roommate will become morally responsible for delivering a swift smack to the back of your head. If you scream and run out of your dorm straight for Franklin Street as fast as possible that is correct and you will have an incredible night. Running is very important. If you were on the cross country team, you have an obligation to run the entire way. If you were on the debate team, keep a steady pace that is doable for you and think of clever slogans to paint on the signs (my favorite is “Duck Fook but hey).

You can’t really appreciate the full magnitude of Dook’s suckitude until you get here, so I’ll leave it at that. Come watch Grayson Allen trip someone in the Dean Dome and you’ll understand.

Image result for unc >duke

Watch with your friends, buy running shoes before the big game, Go Heels, Duck Fook.

Living Local Means Local Food

You’ll find yourself looking for food on Franklin inside of a week. When you do, do it right.

Chapel Hill is home to a number of local restaurants run by families and long term employees who’ve been with the town long enough to see countless students graduate.

Mediterranean Deli

Roderick Flannery is a manager at Mediterranean Deli, one of the better known local restaurants on Franklin Street. He’s been with the restaurant for several years and said it was opened by a local couple back in 1992.

“The owner used to work at the Sheraton Hotel, and he and his wife decided they really wanted to start their own gig,” he said.

Flannery said the tradition started with simple Greek dishes, but has grown to include all kinds of Mediterranean food.

“They started off just serving falafel and Greek salad, whereas now we’ve expanded the menu to at least 80 different dishes,” he said.

Even though Med Deli has dishes all the way around the room, Flannery said people still haven’t forgotten the basics.

“Just as far as what people order, definitely falafel is still a standard,” he said. “For the meats, chicken kebab. For our vegetarian stuff we have a salty cauliflower dish that’s really good.”

Flannery said he and his team are aware that most of their business comes from students, and that they are always trying to keep up with the latest on campus.

“We’re really trying to expand our menu with current health trends, so for example we’ve got a lot of new dishes with quinoa,” he said.

Flannery said Med. Deli stands out as one of Chapel Hill’s iconic local restaurants for one reason – it’s really local.

“A lot of our greens are sourced locally,” he said. “Not local in the sense of Carrboro farmers market, but at least regional which is a lot better than most other providers can say. Our humus for example doesn’t keep for more than a day because there are no preservatives in it.”

Med Deli is located on West Franklin Street just past the Mellow Mushroom – and yes, they cater.

“I would just emphasize that when you order something here, you’re really getting like knife and cutting board fresh,” Flannery said.

Italian Pizzeria

Angelo Marrone owns has owned and operated IPIII on Franklin Street for the past seventeen years. Before that, it was run by his parents.

“My family used to like in Brooklyn New York, but we came down South in the 70s to find a new home,” he said.

Marrone has been the owner for almost two decades, but if you walk through his doors odds are you’ll still see him tossing dough behind the counter.

The inside of the pizzeria is covered wall-to-wall in everything UNC, from signed jerseys to pictures of the greats.

“IP3 right I think is one of the most important places in Chapel Hill,” he said. “We’re one of the only locations that’s got the same location, same food and same everything. A lot of people come back here and they see the same restaurant still where it was and they freak out.”

Unlike restaurants like Med Deli which offer students a lot of different food options, Marrone and his staff like to keep it simple.

“Most popular dish is pizza man, come on,” he said. “People like cheese and they like pepperoni.”

For Marrone, what makes his pizza stand out is its authenticity and taste.

“Quality is the first thing,” he said. “Personality is the second. Then it’s food. We’re from Naples, we know how to make pizza.”

While Marrone and his family have been in business on Franklin Street for 35 years, new pizza places have been popping up everywhere. You’ll find pizza places up and down East and West Franklin, and Lotsa stone fired pizza just took over for Jasmine Mediterranean on the corner of the historic intersection.

“We’ve been here for many many years and that’s what makes me proud,” he said. “We do a lot for the community and the community does a lot for us.”

“For me, this town, they don’t need any more pizza,” Marrone said. “We got a half-dozen pizza places just in this part of town.”


In case you thought the number of pizza places downtown was exaggerated, Angel Alvarez from Artisan Pizza Kitchen has got you covered.

“I’ve been working here for around nine years,” he said. “About since we opened.”

IP3 is over on West Franklin, and APK holds it down over on East. Both of the restaurants have their own type of pie, and both claim high quality.

“We’ve got the artichoke basil pizza, it’s the signature dish,” Alvarez said. “The place used to be called artichoke and basil.”

Since it’s so close to campus, APK puts out a lot of deals to try and cut prices for its market of mostly students, Alvarez said.

“We do have a lot of promotions,” he said. “We do a lot of discounts on U-connection, and we got the punch card for free slices.”

One of the most frequented pizza joints in town, Alvarez said APK’s success comes down to one thing – the taste.

“I’m not totally sure but I think it’s just good pizza,” he said. “We make everything fresh here every day. We get here early in the morning to make the bread fresh.”

While each of these three restaurants has its own backstory and recipe for success, all of them focus on quality and community.

Marrone said it best – “We’ve been here for many many years and that’s what makes me proud,” he said. “We do a lot for the community and the community does a lot for us.”