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Every year, food places and restaurants are born in North Carolina, but we’re rounding up the hot and exceptional ones here. Are you prepared to meet your new favorites? Check them out!

Stanbury, Raleigh

Caring, playful and uncomplicated, Stanbury is a place for coming together and sharing, to assimilate and celebrate our community.

It’s a place where dishes are inspired by the day’s offerings, reflecting seasonal availability and the unique qualities and mood of each day. A place dedicated to both integrating and highlighting our region’s local agriculture producers.

To amplify our lives through deeper connections, shared experiences, and great company, Stanbury certainly does create a stage for the transformative power of food.

Bull City Burger and Brewery, Durham

Bull City Burger and Brewery is about as cool as they come–a hip, down-home, college-y hotspot, featuring an in-house brewery, self-serve wine dispensers, Boylan fountain sodas, and menu items with pleasingly weird names like “duck frites and “bull nuts.”

BCBB uses North Carolina pasture-raised beef, bakes its own buns, and concocts its own condiments. Applause all around on those counts. Our first visit to BCBB was on the decidedly negative side, but, we thought, marking our path with reflective jungle-marking tape as we entered the restaurant, this was a day of new, exotic beginnings.

And if you’ve already heard of BCBB, you know about their infamous Tarantula Burgers. It’s as exotic as can be!

Lantern, Chapel Hill

Lantern is a marriage of Asian flavors and North Carolina ingredients sourced mainly from local farms and fisheries. It has been named one of “America’s Top 50 Restaurants” and “best farm-to-table restaurants” by Gourmet Magazine, as one of “America’s 50 Most Amazing Wine Experiences” by Food & Wine and as “Restaurant of the Year” in 2009 by The News & Observer.

Chef-owner Andrea Reusing was named one of “15 Green Chefs” on Grist’s international list, has written for Saveur, Domino, Fine Cooking, Gourmet.com and the News and Observer. She serves on the boards of the Center of Environmental Farming Systems and Chefs Collaborative. Reusing is the 2011 winner of the James Beard award for Best Chef: Southeast and the author of Cooking in the Moment: A Year of Seasonal Recipes (Clarkson Potter, 2011).

Lantern was opened in January 2002 by brother-sister team Andrea and Brendan Reusing, along with help from many friends including Silvia Pahola, Ric Palao and David Doernberg, who is responsible for our striking design and warm glow.