BUNS of Chapel Hill
107 N. Columbia Street
Chapel Hill, NC
PH: (919) 240 - 4746
I am very sorry for the extra long delay between posts. Sean had computer problems (i.e. no computer) and I have just been swamped at work (i.e. lazy). In fact, my notes are dated July 5, 2010. Luckily they are both thorough and copious.
Well, I must say that Sean and I need to find a crappy veggie burger place soon lest people begin thinking that we are shills for the veggie burger industry. Only two reviews and so far two home runs. Buns veggie burger is outstanding.
I arrived early and had a Corona while I waited for Sean and Rider (his “not-quite-burger-eating-age” son). While I was waiting I chatted with the co-owner (I’m embarrassed that I don’t know which one-I should have written down his name). He was extremely friendly and answered all of my questions, many of which were asked again by Sean once he arrived.
The Buns website (see above) actually provides a pretty thorough explanation of their burgers/practices/philosophy, but in a nutshell our conversation revealed that Buns had opened two years ago (in the spot that used to be Jersey Mike’s on Columbia street-next to Kurama), and what differentiates them from many burger joints is that they make all of their burgers fresh (nothing frozen) including their veggie burgers. I was immediately won over by his philosophy that most people who order veggie burgers don’t want “fake meat”, they want to taste the ingredients (which in this case include brown rice, quick oats (to bind), red beans, vegetables (carrots, zucchini, garlic, mushrooms, onions), cilantro, salt & pepper & soy sauce). I absolutely agree with this philosophy. If I want “fake meat” I’ll get a Boca burger.
When Sean arrived, he re-asked the questions I had asked and we retired to our table. The atmosphere is cafeteria-style: order & pay at the register and your food is brought out to you; local sports on the TV and a great view of Franklin/Columbia St. The burgers arrived shortly after ordering and they were fantastic. You really could taste the ingredients and you could tell they were fresh. The cilantro & soy sauce balanced the taste to the degree that you really didn’t need a lot of toppings to add flavor. That said, there were an impressive amount of toppings available. The chipotle mayo alone would have ensured that I return to Buns. The “buns” themselves (also excellent) are from The Bread Shop in Pittsboro (the same place Spotted Dog uses), the French fries were also phenomenal (especially w/ the dipping sauce). The consistency, flavor & choice of toppings were all outstanding. I highly recommend Buns to anyone who is looking for a fantastic veggie burger. 5 beans out of 5
If attending with meat eating friends (check menu for fish options) I refer you to www.thestraightbeef.com.
I have to extend the same list of apologies and excuses that Tom has for not posting this review sooner. See his review for more details, but the long and the short of it is I had no computer for a long time, plus life and laziness interfered with everything as it always does with me.
I’m trying to dig into the memory banks for my Buns experience. I remember a few distinct things about that afternoon. Here they are in bullet points.
· I was really hungover due to some sort of activity the night before. I think we must have had a show or something. Consequently the idea of going out to lunch was not very appealing and I wasn’t hungry at all.
· I had my son Rider, who at the time of the visit was five months old, with me. He didn’t want to go anywhere either, especially since he doesn’t eat anything other than formula. He was making that very clear to me in the car on the way there, exacerbating my already fragile condition.
· The guy at Buns was super nice, and answered all of my questions even though Tom had just asked the same ones ten minutes before I got there. See his much more detailed review if you want to see them.
· The veggie burger I had was awesome. Even though I felt lousy and wasn’t very hungry, I devoured it and could have eaten another one. Perfect combination of toppings on a firm (but not card-boardy, as some veggie burgers are) patty. Nice, fluffy bun from the Bread Shop in Pittsboro.
· I ordered Dragon Sauce to dip my fries in. It’s really friggin’ hot. But tasty if you like your sauce really friggin’ hot. Consider yourself warned.
Buns gets a five out of five beans from me. It’s eight o’clock in the morning right now, but writing this review makes me want to go get another one right now.