For more than 40 years, the iconic Ye Olde Waffle Shoppe in downtown Chapel Hill has produced transcendent morning meals savored by students, locals and visitors. Let me just say this right up front: There’s not a place within 100 miles that serves up a better made-to-order full-service breakfast.
Without question, Ye Olde is a bona fide hole-in-the-wall
breakfast joint. Where else do you go and find a guy washing dishes in the open
air right beside the dude who’s cracking the eggs? Never mind that on the day I
visited, the cozy dining room in the back was easily 10 degrees too cold. But
nobody seemed to complain, as they filled their mouths with savory omelets,
sweet waffles and diner-grade coffee.
The restaurant also has significant history literally built
into its walls. The back
dining room’s cross-timbered beams and exposed brick walls were sourced from an
old Greek Orthodox Church where Ye Olde’s late founder, Jimmy Chris, married
his wife in 1968.
you manage to score a counter seat up front, you can watch the cooks make
omelets and pour the special mix into the waffle irons. It’s an inspiring
the 10 available omelets, the beef-infused stroganoff and spinach-feta rise
above the rest. Whatever you do, be sure to try Big Jim’s hashbrowns, which are
topped with sautéed onions, bell peppers and mushrooms. Simply otherworldly.
it comes to waffles, you can’t go wrong with pecan, blueberry or apple cinnamon.
Fluffy, hubcap-sized pancakes are equally rewarding.
is efficient and mostly pleasant, even when servers occasionally struggle to
keep coffee cups filled. The lines can get wickedly long, particularly when the
Tarheels have a home game. The best time to go? Try 9 a.m. on a Monday.
Thankfully, Ye Olde recently broke from its longstanding cash-only policy and
now accepts major credit cards.