One of the greatest things about being a student at UNC-Chapel Hill is the hundreds of top-notch restaurants the city has to offer. Whether you want vegan, Indian, Vietnamese or your classic burger and fries at “Spanky’s,” the options are endless. This historic town has been great for a huge “foodie” like mem as I always want to try something different and unique. A couple weeks ago my roommate took me to what she claimed was one of the greatest hidden treasures in Chapel Hill—Merritt’s Store and Grill. What used to be a gas station in the early 20s is now a small sandwich shop on Columbia Street, serving up some of the best sandwiches I have ever had in my life.
From the outside, the restaurant looks like a small, rundown white building so I can’t deny I was pretty skeptical as I pulled in to Merritt’s for the first time. But right when I walked in, I was greeted by the friendly owner at the checkout counter in the store of the restaurant. The store was filled with small items for sale such as “packaged nuts” and jars of homemade cookies. Past the store is the tiny kitchen, where I eagerly grabbed a menu as my stomach began to grumble. I decided to order Merritt’s famous BLT. You have your choice between a single, double or triple layer of tomato, bacon and lettuce. My roommate kept it safe and went with the single while I went with the double. This was by far the best sandwich I have ever had in my life, and that’s saying a lot considering I’m not a big BLT fan. The tomatoes were bright red and juicy, and when I asked the owner about them he said they imported them from one of the best tomato farms in Florida. The bacon was crispy and the lettuce was fresh. I also think there is something special going on with the salt and pepper. I finished my lunch that day with the most satisfied smile on my face.
Since my first visit, I’ve been back to Merritt’s numerous times. I have ordered the egg salad, chicken salad and the turkey bacon with fresh guacamole, all of which were delicious. I really can’t pick a favorite because I usually just order what I’m in the mood for, but the BLT is by far the most special. Aside from the great sandwiches, they also sell canned Gatorade, which is extremely hard to find and a hundred times better than regular Gatorade (but that’s just a personal preference).
I probably haven’t been very good at keeping Merritt’s the secret it once was, and writing about it isn’t doing much help. Yet, I can’t help but rave about it. There is something awesome about a low-key restaurant that serves such amazing and tasteful food with such simple ingredients. Go to Merritt’s, order the BLT single, double or even triple and I promise you won’t be sorry.