San Marcos Mexican Restaurant

Recently opened in September 2015, San Marcos may not be well known by Elon students, but is definitely worth a try.

San Marcos has a large menu with more traditional Mexican dishes such as arroz con pollo and enchiladas, but also American dishes such as burgers with fries or a garden salad. The menu also features quesadillas, seafood, fajitas, burritos and tacos.

The lunch specials are well-priced: most are under $10, usually between $6 and $7, and the portions are hefty, leaving leftovers for the next day.

The next time you’re planning on running to Q’Doba or Taco Bell, think about giving San Marcos a try. This family-friendly restaurant has richer and more filling food than you would find at your average fast food Mexican restaurant. The staff and atmosphere have more of an authentic Spanish charm compared to these chains as well.

Located at 3111 Waltham Blvd. in Burlington, San Marcos is open 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. weekdays and until 11 p.m. weekends. 

Little Italy

For anyone craving a big bowl of pasta, Little Italy is the place to go.

Restaurant owner Gino Carannante immigrated to the United States from Bacoli, Italy in 1996 before opening Little Italy with his cousin several years later.

With more than 20 classic and baked pasta dishes on the menu, pasta is definitely first choice. The gnocchi bolognese is always a crowd pleaser, while the linguine pescatore is Carannante’s personal favorite.

The restaurant also serves pizza, subs, salads and soups. For those with gluten allergies, gluten-free pasta and pizza are served on request.

Little Italy’s menu is heavily inspired by the foods of Carannate’s childhood and give him memories of his mom.

Located in the Target shopping plaza at 1441 C. University Drive, Little Italy is open 10:30 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. and 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sundays.

Hursey’s Bar-B-Q

Originally a small family operation run out of a backyard pit in the 1940s, Hursey’s Bar-B-Q has remained a constant source of affordable, finger-licking North Carolina barbecue for Burlington area residents.

For first-timers, the chopped pork barbecue and chicken combination plate is a must. Each combo comes with french fries, hushpuppies and coleslaw. This plate could run up to about $9.

Hursey’s also offers its customers a small dessert menu with the homemade peach cobbler with ice cream being a standout.

For college students on tight budgets, Hursey’s offers weekday specials Mondays through Thursdays. A favorite is the $2.19 chopped barbecue sandwiches on Wednesdays.

Hursey’s now has four locations across Alamance County with the nearest one to campus being 1834 S. Church St. in Burlington.

Mixed Rice

Wedged between NC Jelly Donuts and Painted Grape: Craft & Paint studio in Stans Plaza on South Church Street, Mixed Rice is one of few restaurants in Burlington that offer authentic Korean cuisine at affordable prices. 

The menu features Korean classics including bibimbap, a bowl of warm white rice topped with sauteed and seasoned vegetables, chili paste and a choice of meat.

The menu also includes duk-boo-kee, spicy rice cakes and spicy glass noodles served with barbecued chicken, pork or beef. All items — including entrees which come with a choice of a spring roll or egg roll — are under $10.

For students who haven’t tried Korean cuisine, co-owner Jihe encourages them to try some of the restaurant’s staple foods to taste something new.

Zack’s Hot Dogs

Self-declared “famous since 1928” on the sign that hangs above the take-out pickup counter, Zack’s Hot Dogs has been serving classic American cuisine for generations of hungry customers.

With a sizeable menu including double bacon cheeseburgers, chili dogs, grilled cheese sandwiches, Zack’s is the place to go for anyone looking to go back to basics with simple American diner food.

The chili dog is heavily seasoned but not spicy. And for an extra kick, each table is stocked with a bottle of Zack’s Secret Hot Sauce, which should be used with caution and an extra glass of water.