It’s happening. One of our writers, Daniel Bayer, wrote a while ago about his desire to see Kenan Stadium introduce local restaurants to the concession stands. Well, Daniel’s wishes, along with many other Tar Heel fans, have been fulfilled. The rich and vibrant Southern culinary scene of Chapel Hill is going to find itself a place amongst the stands of Kenan in time for the 2016 season.
Carolina Football has announced that, in a move to increase the game day experience at football games, several Chapel Hill favorites will begin to sell food at Kenan. While Daniel’s article dreamed about chicken biscuits from Sunrise, sweet tea from McAlister’s and lamb gyros from Med Deli, three different restaurants will now be serving at the stadium: Italian Pizzeria III (“IP3”), arguably the best pizza in town, Al’s Burger Shack, arguably the best burger in town, and Merritt’s, inarguably home to the best BLT in town (don’t question it).
Now, along with your typical football fare like Chick fil A and Bojangles, UNC supporters have plenty of tasty options to choose from to accompany a pleasant afternoon watching the Heels. It’s an exciting move by Carolina football, meant to simultaneously decrease long lines and increase customer satisfaction. As North Carolina continues to improve on the football field, maybe all that’s left to create a dominant home-field advantage is giving the fans the best food possible. A satiated home crowd is a happy home crowd.
All three restaurants are unique and inspired selections, as well. While they aren’t your Top of the Hill’s or your Mama Dip’s, they still consistently offer some of the best food in the area. IP3 has been a staple at the end of Franklin Street, serving a wide variety of delicious sandwiches and, of course, classic Italian pizza (not to mention great food & beer specials). It’s typically been a popular spot for dinner after mid-day football games but, now, their cheesesteaks will be available at Kenan.
Al’s Burger Shack sits close to IP3 down on Franklin Street and offers a great assortment of intriguing burgers sure to make you feel right at home watching Coach Fedora and the boys. Moreover, Al’s is relatively new to Chapel Hill, and it’ll do wonderful business thanks to its new relationship with Carolina football.
Last, but definitely not least, is Merritt’s, an institution in Chapel Hill for legitimately everyone. Visiting families, hungover college students, famished professors and more all go to Merritt’s for their sandwiches. The really thrilling part, though, is the announcement that their BLT sandwich is coming to the stadium. This item could easily skyrocket to becoming the most popular concession in all of Kenan.
The season is about to finally begin. UNC football is primed for another stellar year, and there’s some real optimism in the air in Chapel Hill. Add the smell of cheesesteaks, BLT’s, pizzas and more, and Saturday’s at Kenan are an enjoyable, exhilarating experience for all involved. Go Heels, go America (*shouted through a mouth full of bacon, lettuce and tomato*).