Chapel Hill’s University Mall used to be kind of…gross. In the last few years, it’s been infused with new life, thanks to a host of new businesses, including Silverspot Cinema and Bartaco. I love Bartaco. I’ve been there so often they know my name. The atmosphere is extremely hard to beat. I first went to Bartaco on a Wednesday night at 9 pm (this is not usual for me, people–just saying) and there were literally people HULA HOOPING out front. If that’s not an indicator of good times, I don’t know what is.
Other pluses: they have great music, a fun, beachy ambiance, and an ala carte menu that will please your whole crew. And I forgot to mention margaritas! (Although I’d have to say my one complaint is that the drinks need MORE TEQUILA.) Also, parking is a bit simpler than trying to park downtown.
Tip: Because it is such a happening spot, wait times can be long. You can’t make reservations, but you can call ahead half an hour before arrival to get your name on the list. Call 910-807-8226 to get put on the list. Then if you still have to wait, walk around Silverspot just next door and whet your appetite by breathing in the sweet scent of buttery popcorn.