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“Amazing shrimp and grits”
Review of Crook's Corner

Crook's Corner
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Ranked #21 of 320 Restaurants in Chapel Hill
Price range: US$21 - US$30
Cuisines: American, Barbecue, Bar
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Restaurant details
Good for: Bar Scene, Local cuisine, Child-friendly
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, After-hours, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: Crook's Corner is on the corner of West Franklin Street and Merritt Mill roads, where Chapel Hill meets Carrboro. It's very casual and unpretentious, yet the food and the drinks are outstanding. Crook's Corner is where you'll find the original Shrimp and Grits (introduced in 1983) and also the best Fried Oysters and Banana Pudding renditions anywhere. Chef Bill Smith's dishes are often modern takes on heirloom dishes, or originals, for example: Atlantic Beach Pie or Jerusalem Artichoke Relish on grilled steaks. Some are wholly original, like Green Tabasco Chicken and Honeysuckle Sorbet. Some are super seasonal like Soft Shell Crabs (the best of the best). And some are quirky like Orange Red Hot Sorbet. Some are gutsy and only on for a few days (like Turtle Soup or Sweetbreads). Things on the menu since the 80s and ordered a plenty are Frozen Mint Juleps, Shrimp & Grits, Mt. Airy Chocolate Souffle Cake. Join us for dinner or Sunday Brunch inside or on the patio.
Reviewed December 5, 2017

I always have shrimp and grits when I'm in town so I've had my fair share of different styles. This one was one of the best I've had. Scallions, mushrooms and lots of shrimp made this particularly tasty. Service was a little slow and inattentive to me even though it was only a Tuesday night. I really wanted to try and appetizer but was alone and didn't want to have plates and plates of food. It's a little noisy so if you're trying to talk, you might be straining a bit.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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25 - 29 of 308 reviews

Reviewed November 18, 2017

Crooks in an institution and as we have lived here for over 30 years, it used to be almost the only place with character and good food in town. I love the building with it's old Pig on top and I love the funky garden with the bamboo screening and fountain. BUT
the food is just not that great. They have some core standards -- they may change their menu somewhat seasonally, but it is a small menu and many of the dishes are standards like the shrimp and grits and the Tabasco chicken and the BBQ plate. They used to make their own BBQ many years ago, but they have been importing BBQ from Bullocks in Durham for almost as long as I can remember. There are so many better places to get BBQ now that going to Crooks to get imported BBQ just doesn't make sense to me. I do still love their jalapeno hush puppies which are always great. I would really recommend them. Otherwise it's really the atmosphere, which is great, but since going out to dinner really should combine both good food and good atmosphere, Crook's falls short. We used to always bring guests from out of town here for a taste of Southern -- but the last few times I was really disappointed in the food and think there are better places to be baptized with southern food. Last night I tried the cheese pork which is a scallopine-style pork cutlet that is egged and breaded with grated cheese and then crisp fried. I guess I should have expected it but it was very heavy and not that appealing. It was served on rutabagas that were so heavily infused with garlic that none of us garlic-loving diners could eat them. The desserts were good -- we really liked the Lemon Lime Pie with Saltine Crust and the Classic Brownie and Ice Cream is always good. I think it must be a challenge to change just enough to keep the same charm but change is really needed at this beloved institution.

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Thank HollyR56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed November 13, 2017

I ate here with friends on a recommendation from a coworker. A cold Saturday night, a not full restaurant and we got seated by the door, so every cold draft hit us dead on. We had the jalapeno hush puppies--could not tell there was jalapeno in them except as color, and the sauce was basically ketchup. My Carolina sampler had local pork that was dried out and collards that were cold; the hoppin' john was the only fresh item. My friends enjoyed their cheesy pork, but the chestnut mousse dessert tasted more like liqour than chestnut. Expensive to be so unimpressed. Service was friendly and attentive.

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Thank ElaineMI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 29, 2017

I had them both. A classic Southern cocktail and the entre that made this place famous. Or, was it the art in the bathroom. Or the hustling waiter with the accent. Or the Carolina football game before the dinner. Or the Elvis on the bookshelf behind the bar. Or was it just that the shrimp and grits were topped with fresh chives and chunks of seared garlic and tons of of butter. I don't know. But I love this restaurant and am glad that Chapel Hill has it to add to the halo of Southern awesomeness.

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Thank Agman1114
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed October 28, 2017 via mobile

I had the fried oyster appetizer and the Cajun rib eye steak. The oysters were great and the steak I ordered it rare and it came out medium rarish ( I like mine bloody when I order rare) Also in the group were the bay scallops, shrimp and grits, and cheesy pork. All had good flavor and would order again

Thank John J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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