The Best Places to Eat at NC State: Hillsborough Street

friends eating at a table togetherSometimes you just gotta have dinner out.

And the best places to eat off campus at NC State are just across the street on Hillsborough Street.

Hillsborough has pretty much everything — world cuisine, bars, casual dining, upscale restaurants, you name it. If you’re trying to find the best things to eat for not too much money, you’ll likely find it here.

The best restaurants on Hillsborough Street

Here’s a map of local NC State dining favorites along Hillsborough Street.

And here’s a breakdown of the best places to eat on Hillsborough by restaurant type, including local favorites and general prices.

Bar & Grills on Hillsborough Street

There’s four taverns on the NC State stretch of Hillsborough — East Village Grill, McDaids, Mitch’s Tavern, and Players’ Retreat.

Mitch’s and Players’ Retreat are both icons of NC State, since Mitch’s made an appearance in the movie Bull Durham and Players’ Retreat was where the NC State basketball team from 1983 went during the documentary Survive and Advance. 

Price Rating & Popular Menu Items

East Village Grill & Bar ($$): Burgers, beers, and wings

McDaids Irish Restaurant & Pub ($$): Blue cheese mac & cheese, cottage pie, sliced corned beef

Mitch’s Tavern ($): London Broil sandwich, Rodolfo’s Feast, and drink specials

Players’ Retreat ($$): Mimi’s sausage dip, made-to-order burgers, and scotch choices

Coffee Shops on Hillsborough Street

coffee at a wooden tableYou’ve got a whole lot of places to explore, including hookah lounges and quiet cafes. Cup A Joe and Global Village are two of the most popular coffee shops for State students, so you’ll find a bunch of students hanging out between classes with their laptops and favorite drinks in hand.

For nightlife, Oasis and Nara Lounge are popular hookah bars near campus with good seating and fun hookah flavors.

Price Rating & Popular Menu Items

Cup A Joe ($): Iced latte and chai fusion

Global Village Organic Coffee ($): Mediterranean Irish blend

Moroccan Oasis Cafe & Hookah Lounge ($)

Nara Lounge Hookah Cafe ($$)

Reverie Coffee Den ($): Raspberry bar, apple walnut muffin, and chai tea latte

Saxbys Coffee ($): British Islander blend, campfire latte, and mango pineapple smoothie

Fast Food Places on Hillsborough Street

You’ve got a whole range of choices for fast food. There are several Chinese and Korean restaurants, Tex-Mex places, sub shops, and several pizza spots.

fast food burger and fries basketBut the atmospheres are different, too. A lot of these fast food places, especially Chipotle and NY Pizza, are full of college students during peak lunch hours and dinnertime, and there’s NC State-themed decor all throughout these stores.

Most of the fast food restaurants on Hillsborough Street offer your typical franchise favorites, like at Zaxby’s, the two Subway locations, and Jimmy John’s.

But you’ll also get your fill of hole-in-the-wall restaurants that are unique to NC State. Stop by WABA and enjoy authentic Korean cuisine while soft K-pop plays in the background. Or head to Sub Conscious and get your fill of thick sub sandwiches and waffle fries.

Price Rating & Popular Menu Items

Bruegger’s Bagels ($): Tomato feta bisque, blue apple salad, and breakfast sandwiches

Checkers Pizza & Subs ($): Cheese steak sub and Greek pizza

Chipotle Mexican Grill ($): Burrito bowls, cilantro lime rice, and quesadillas

Freshii ($): Pangoa bowl, carrot ginger juice, and veggie wraps

Golden Dragon Restaurant ($): Peanut chicken, lu wei, and crab rangoon

Gumby’s Pizza ($): Pokey Stix, pepperoni rolls, and extra large pizzas

I Love NY Pizza ($$): Cheese pizza specials, meat lovers’ pizza, and specialty pizzas

Jasmin Mediterranean Bistro ($): Chicken zaki, pesto panini, and Jasmine platter

Jersey Mike’s Subs ($): Veggie subs and Philly cheese steak subs

Jimmy John’s ($): Italian Nightclub, Totally Tuna, and veggie subs

Marco’s Pizza ($): Italian sub, White Cheezy, and Cheezybread

Pizza Hut ($): Pizzas and chicken wings

Shanghai Express ($): Sweet & sour chicken, sesame chicken, and fried rice

Sub Conscious ($): Turkey sandwiches, waffle fries, and Philly cheese steaks

Subway, Belltower location ($): Made-to-order subs and free cookies for students

Subway, Dan Allen Drive location ($): Made-to-order sub sandwiches

WABA ($): Dolsot bibimbap, Kim Chi, and Duk Bokki

Zaxby’s ($): Wings and Things and anything with Zak Sauce

Sit-Down Restaurants on Hillsborough Street

wine glass at nice restaurant dinner tableIf you’re looking for a more upscale restaurant than your typical fast food digs, you can find some popular spots on Hillsborough, too.

Sit down, order what you want, and have fun with friends at several restaurants, most of which offer international cuisine.

Price Rating & Popular Menu Items

David’s Dumpling & Noodle Bar ($$): Malaysian Chicken Curry, General Mao’s Chicken, and David’s Original Half-Fried Dumplings

Groucho’s Deli ($): Apollo, STP Dippers, and their signature 45 sauce

Kabab & Curry ($$): Rani thali, vegetable korma, and badami kheer

La Rancherita Mexican Restaurant ($$): Grilled steak tacos, seafood molcajete, and drink specials

Oishi Japanese Cuisine ($$): Bubble tea, curry chicken rice bowl, and sushi

The Wild Cook’s Indian Grill ($$): Chicken biryani, chana masala, and shahi paneer

Tasty Treats on Hillsborough Street

It’s after dinner and you’re in the mood for something sweet. Maybe you’re just not feeling a pint at The Creamery for the seventh time this week. There’s a couple of places you can try on Hillsborough.

If you’re eager for frozen yogurt and other desserts, check out Freshberry just across from DH Hill. But there’s not just fro-yo staples here. You can also get real food, too!

chocolate chip cookies with milkInsomnia Cookies and Get Baked both offer warm cookies in your favorite flavors for a decent price. Want some delivered to your dorm or apartment if you’re craving cookies and milk at 2 AM? Sure thing, they both deliver! Just be sure to check the delivery areas for both Insomnia Cookies and Get Baked — if you live far enough away from campus, they might not deliver to your apartment or house.

Price Rating & Popular Menu Items

Freshberry Frozen Yogurt Cafe ($): Cupcakes, frozen yogurt, and chicken salad sandwiches

Get Baked ($$): Heath bar cookies and Snickerdoodles

Insomnia Cookies ($$): White chocolate macadamia and double chocolate chip cookies

Enjoy the best of Hillsborough Street!

I hope this helps you find a great place to eat around NC State. Keep up with my blog because I’ll be posting a restaurant list for three other best spots to eat near State’s campus.

What’s your favorite thing to eat on Hillsborough? Let me know in the comments!


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