8 Great Lunch Spots Near NC State University

UPDATED: October 2018

If you're a food lover and are visiting Raleigh, N.C. you will be glad to hear that you are coming to a fantastic part of North Carolina.  Restaurants in the Triangle area are expansive. We're quickly becoming a top culinary destination.The City of Raleigh has its share of good places to eat almost on every street corner and that's great news for a first-time visitor to Raleigh.

For this post though,we are going to concentrate on lunch spots near NCSU (NC State University). For those of you who may be visiting Raleigh for the first time, the good news is that you can get to a lot of local great restaurants (think downtown, North Hills and even Cary, NC) quickly, but I wanted to pinpoint where to eat near NCSU. We are concentrating on restaurants near Hillsborough Street, Western Boulevard, and NC State's Centennial Campus for these great lunch breaks. We could add more to this list about dining near NCSU, but I had to stop somewhere. There are so many choices for dining on Hillsborough Street and the vicinity of campus.

Where to Eat Near NCSU

When visiting Raleigh, the NC Farmer's Market is a must-experience when in town. It's adjacent to Centennial Campus and the wide-open area houses a hot dog stand, the NC Seafood restaurant, and the biggest draw of all, the State Farmer's Market Restaurant.  It's only open for breakfast and lunch, serving until 3 pm. It's one of the few places in Raleigh where you can get breakfast all day.  No matter when you go, it's always packed so be prepared for a short wait. It's first-come, first-serve. 

This Japanese restaurant in Cameron Village has a great lunch special. Ajisai, a Japanese-fusion-sushi restaurant, offers indoor and outdoor patio seating and attracts visitors with its specially-priced lunch menu for under $10. You can get two sushi-rolls, miso soup and a green salad for $8.95. For sushi fans, you know that is incredibly reasonable, but the best part of all, the sushi is delicious.  HireScene employees gave me this lunch recommendation and I tried it for the first time this month. I'll certainly be back. I adored the crunchy salmon roll. Lunch is served from 11 am to 4 pm.

sushi in Raleigh

This family-owned Mediterranean restaurant, located on Beryl Road (Near the NC State Fairgrounds) has been a Raleigh staple since 1989. Using family recipes, the deli offers daily lunch specials along with fresh sides, vegetables, kabobs, and shawarma.

When the Saleh family immigrated to the United States in the 1970s, they brought with them their passion for bread along with their mother's recipes. The brothers opened Neomonde Baking Company in 1977, a wholesale bakery and later moved that operation to the Beryl Road location. Neomonde has another restaurant location in Morrisville. Neomonde is some of the best Lebanese influenced restaurants in the Triangle. They are also a vendor staple at the NC Fair every October.

lebanese food in Raleigh, NC

The Player's Retreat, known as PRs, to the locals has been a popular spot since 1951. With lots of gourmet burgers on the menu, it's a hotspot from daytime to late-night. Burgers are a $1 off at lunch, ground from Angus beef on site, and its home to the NCSU Wolfpack Burger, either 4-ounces or 6-ounces, served with mustard, chili, and slaw. The menu has a variety of cuisine and all lunch specials are under $10.

This quick-service restaurant off of Western Boulevard that sources local offers free chips and queso with a meal every Tuesday. With a cool salsa bar with condiments and tacos in two sizes, it's easy on the wallet for a lunch-time break. My favorite taco is "Fish Called Wanda" Taco. It's crunchy breaded Alaskan pollock, Mexican slaw, ancho-honey, pico-de-gallo, and jack cheese. Wicked Taco will open a second location at Morgan Street Food Hall in downtown Raleigh.

6. Amedeo's on Western Boulevard

Nothing screams NC State like Amedeo's Italian Restaurant on Western Boulevard. It's a shrine to NC State athletics and the perfect choice for dining on a college visit to NC State. This college staple serves a daily lunch special from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. My favorite entree is spaghetti and meatballs, but they have solid pizza, too.


Cloo's Coney Island is so retro, it doesn't even have a website. What it does have though is food from a hot grill that will make you drool. Known for its hot dogs and chili-cheese fries, this little restaurant tucked away in Mission Valley Shopping Center off of Avent Ferry Road has been around for 30 years. You can also get cheesesteaks, burgers, gyros and fresh salads. It's open from 11 am to 8:30 pm.

8. Local Food Trucks in The Triangle Area

The Triangle area has an awesome food truck scene. You can find food trucks parked at breweries, businesses and on NC State's Centennial Campus. NCSU Dining has two food trucks parked on weekdays on Main Campus Drive from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. HireScene employees tell me that they mark their calendars for the days when American Meltdown arrives on campus. That's a day not to miss, apparently.

Hunt Library_Centennial Campus_NC State

These NC State lunch break ideas were recommendations from my OutaboutNC community and employees of HireScene, which is a Raleigh-based company.  While at their office on Centennial Campus, we did some live interviews about their favorite places in Raleigh and I received a demonstration on how this new employment app for the hospitality industry works. Developed by NC State Alumni, it's available for download on iTunes and the Google PlayStore. I was impressed with it and the best way for me to describe it is to compare it to Uber. Hire Scene is a mobile app, headquartered on North Carolina State's Centennial Campus, that has changed the way people work. Hire Scene has partnered with multiple hospitality venues in the Triangle that post to the app when they have a gig available. App Members are notified and get to pick where, when, and how often they work.

It's the perfect situation for students who need to work around their school schedule, retirees and people who want to earn some extra money, but need that flexibility.

FTC Disclosure: This post was sponsored by HireScene. Hire Scene is a mobile app, headquartered on North Carolina State's Centennial Campus, that has changed the way people work. Hire Scene has partnered with multiple hospitality venues in the Triangle that post to the app when they have a gig available. App Members are notified and get to pick where, when, and how often they work.

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