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“Perfect Southern Comfort Food with a Twist”
Review of Crook's Corner

Crook's Corner
Ranked #19 of 292 Restaurants in Chapel Hill
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $21 - $30
Cuisines: American, Barbecue, Bar
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Bar scene, Local cuisine, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Breakfast, Late Night, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Bangor, Maine
Level Contributor
33 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Perfect Southern Comfort Food with a Twist”
Reviewed December 30, 2013

My husband and I ate here for our anniversary. We haven't eaten in Chapel Hill in years (15?) so we were looking for something a little special, but not too fancy. We picked Crook's Corner because we remembered the shrimp and grits - and it was still good. Tender shrimp, with a kick of bacon and tabasco and green onions, on top of a layer of non-gooey cheese grits. We also had the jalepeño hush puppies (yum!) and split a salad and a cup of pinto beans and kale soup. Normally I wouldn't order a soup that I could make myself, but I was intrigued. The soup is earthy, but not boring, and the kale is not overpowering.

Why 5 stars? The service. We were outside, under the heaters, because a rehearsal dinner was inside. I was trying to keep my white wine cool, and the waiter brought me a wine cosy! In addition, he understood that we were splitting all the appetizers, and brought extra plates and spoons, which sounds like a tiny detail, but matters.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank WittmannAbroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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267 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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    18
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Greensboro, North Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
35 reviews
32 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“Living on past laurels, at best”
Reviewed December 29, 2013

It has been 23 years since I've eaten at CC. Maybe my memory isn't what it used to be or my palate has changed dramatically. I think the main thing CC is known for is the shrimp and grits and they are still good. Beyond that it is one of the most over rated, unappetizing places you will find in Chapel Hill. We ordered the Jalapeño-Cheddar hushpuppies that were burnt on the outside and uncooked on the inside. They were served with a cocktail sauce that tasted like pure ketchup. We ate 2 bites and moved the plate to the side. Our waitress Wendy (found her name on the check) never bothered to ask why we didn't eat them. I had the mixed green salad with house vinaigrette that was pretty good. For dinner my wife ordered the fried flounder with cole slaw and it was also some of the worst food ever served in a restaurant. The cole slaw tasted worse then any grocery store prepackaged product I've ever tasted. The fried flounder was half cooked (they would have done well to have undercooked the hushpuppies and overcooked the fish to find some middle ground) with what also tasted like a store bought tartar sauce spread on top instead of on the side. What if I didn't like tartar sauce? The shrimp and grits were good but certainly not what I remembered from the last time I ate here. Again the service was deplorable and not once were we asked how our dinner was. I gave the waitress (Wendy) a 10% tip and really felt stupid for giving her that much. Save your time and money and go to McDonalds. At least you will get your monies worth.

As a follow up, the next day a gentleman named Gene called me in response to a Twitter post I made. He was seemingly very interested in my comments about our visit. Gene offered us a return trip on him, which we declined and as full disclosure we do not live in Chapel Hill but an hour away. He then offered to refund my money and he did so promptly. I will say again that it would have been nice if someone had just once asked how our dinner was and maybe this whole situation could have been avoided.

  • Visited December 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank rocrow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guaynabo
Level Contributor
55 reviews
48 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“Too much hype..”
Reviewed November 24, 2013

I really wanted to try this place out as it seems to be the "it" place in Chapel Hill.The first time I went they sat us in the back which I didn't like.I tend to be a little neurotic about where I'm seated at restaurants and Ive been known to walk out if it doesn't feel right to me.I was hungry though.I had a special and it was not memorable..I gave them another chance and went back for the soft shell crabs which were good but not the best I've ever had.When fresh you lightly batter and saute them in browned butter.Crooks Corner's soft shell crabs are dipped in a buttermilk batter which in my opinion is too heavy and the flavor overwhelms the delicate crab.It was crowded as the place is obviously popular.They have outdoor seating.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank CommeSicommeSa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New England
Level Contributor
255 reviews
161 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 649 helpful votes
“Unique”
Reviewed November 13, 2013

We dined here with 2 teenagers and local friends in July 2013. Although a limited number of choices on the menu, there was enough for everyone to try something unique and flavorful. Jalapeno hushpuppies, carolina bbq, shrimps & grits were some of the highlights and unusual dishes that we tried and enjoyed. Service was fine and we enjoyed the bustle of the place as well as the atmosphere. A bit on the pricey side, but we liked the food and had a good time and thoroughly enjoyed our experience at Crook's Corner. It's quirky and that's good. If you want something unusual that offers tasty options, give this a try.

  • Visited July 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank MaineTravel50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
49 reviews
33 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“Dissapointed: I thought I understood shrimp and grits...”
Reviewed November 13, 2013

Well this is a huge bummer. I have been in the area for a year and a half now. And I never went to Crooks Corner even know the entire world was telling me it's an institution you have to go. Finally this Sunday for brunch I got my chance with friends and my daughter. You have to order the shrimp and grits they tell me - it's what they are known for. I really wanted the mountain of french toast the kid had sitting at the next table but a signature dish is a signature dish....

After waiting for over 35 minutes for our food to arrive out came a small plate of shrimp and grits - I'm thinking $12.95 for this? The shrimp were tiny and barely any in there and barely any grits and I didn't see any cheese but apparently it's white cheese so perhaps it's just inside the grits. I am a Yankee, maybe I just don't understand it.

Then I tasted it and well it tasted like spicy polenta and shrimp - -not the way I am told shrimp and grits oughta taste - creamy deliciousness. I barely saw or tasted the cheese, all I tasted was corn mush and shriveled shrimp and hot sauce really....it was edible but I don't see what all the fuss is about...I've had better shrimp and grits at way cheaper and less known places where at least I know I enjoyed it and I know there was cheese in there and the shrimp was plump and juicy.

Too bad too because I looked up at the wall and saw their James Beard Award and thought to myself I wonder what the foundation would they think?

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank nygal5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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