Dip’s Country Kitchen

Review by: Michael Stern

“Mama Dip” is Mildred Council, founder/owner/chef at Chapel Hill’s beloved soul-food restaurant. Ms. Council, nicknamed “Dip” by her siblings because she was such a tall kid, wrote “Mama Dip’s Kitchen” in 1999; it is a valuable cookbook that includes many of the recipes she has used in her restaurant.

A few years ago, Mama Dip moved to spacious new quarters with a rustic theme – vintage kitchen implements decorate the wood-paneled walls. You can dine inside or on a broad porch outfitted not only with tables but with a row of rocking chairs for after-meal relaxing. Three meals a day are served, and while lunch and dinner offer great southern classics – fried chicken, chitlins, Brunswick stew – we love to start the day with eggs, pork chops, and gravy, sided by biscuits and grits. Other hearty wake-up meals include salmon cakes, brawny country ham, and blueberry pancakes.

Later in the day, what we love most about Dip’s meals, aside from the lumpy, crunchy, brightly salty crust of the fried chicken, are the vegetables. The daily list includes long-cooked greens, blackeyed peas, crunchy nuggets of fried okra, mashed potatoes and gravy, porky string beans, okra stew with tomatoes, corn-dotted cole slaw, always a sumptuous vegetable casserole, and cool sweet-potato salad. For mopping and dipping, there are buttermilk biscuits, cornbread, and yeast rolls.

All kinds of pies are available for dessert, as is yummy banana pudding, but the one sweet that wowed us the most was a simple yellow layer cake with chocolate frosting. The cake was soft and full-flavored, its abundant frosting a dandy fudgy foil.

Directions & Hours

11am - 7pm
  • Monday: Closed
  • Tuesday: Closed
  • Wednesday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Thursday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Saturday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM – 7:00 PM

What To Eat

Collard Greens

DISH
Mango Peach Lemonade

DISH
Sampler Plate

DISH
Yellow Cake

DISH
Yams

DISH
Chicken Fried Steak

DISH
Fried Chicken Wings

DISH
Fried Green Tomatoes

DISH
Southern Fried Chicken

DISH
Vegetable Plate

DISH
Fisherman’s Catch

DISH
Smothered Pork Chops

DISH
Brunswick Stew

DISH
Banana Pudding

DISH
Country Ham

DISH

Dip’s Country Kitchen Recipes

Discuss

What do you think of Dip’s Country Kitchen?

2 Responses to “Dip’s Country Kitchen”

Mike Iacoucci

January 2nd, 2012

Located deep in the heart of Chapel Hill, NC, Dips Country Kitchen is a typical southern soul-food restaurant, with much to offer. Once you get within a block or two of Dip’s, the smell of freshly-baked biscuits and fried chicken permeate the air, guiding you towards the front door.

The menu is very diversified, so starting off with the sampler as an appetizer was a good way to try a wide variety of fried items, the highlight being the fried green tomatoes, with just the right amount of breading and tartness. These are a “must-have” appetizer.

My main course was varied and consisted of smothered pork chops, chopped barbecue, and southern fried chicken with several veggie sides and a cup of Brunswick Stew, a southern staple.

The pork chops were cooked to perfection and served on the bone, tender and juicy, with every inch covered in a delicious brown gravy. Served two to an order, the pork chops were delicious and filling.

The chopped barbecue, an item that cannot be duplicated outside of the NC area, was delicious and mild. The barbecue had a nice balance between vinegar and tomato, with the emphasis on the latter. The result is well-balanced balanced barbecue with more a sweet and less of a vinegar taste than most of the barbecue in the area, and does not overpower the natural taste of the pork itself.

The true highlight of the meal has to be the southern fried chicken. The options are two white or dark pieces. Unfortunately you cannot mix and match, so I opted for the white meat. The skin is a beautiful golden brown, perfectly crisp, without a drop of oil on the outside. The meat beneath, however, is a different story. The meat was extremely juicy – multi-napkin juicy! Whatever you decide to have for your meal, make sure the fried chicken is part of it.

Being a “Yankee,” I not very familiar with what is considered good Brunswick Stew. Luckily, I spent dinner with a born and bred North Carolinian who suggested I try a cup, as she said it was good. I have to agree! Like the barbecue, the stew was a little heavy on the tomato-side, but very tasty. Loaded with veggies and shredded meat, it is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a good hearty bowl of soup. It was very well-seasoned and balanced and a perfect side dish to go with all these heavy meat dishes.

Overall, not the greatest soul food I have ever had, but very good in its own right. I highly recommend it to everyone who may be passing through the Chapel Hill area and is looking for a good meal. You will not be disappointed, and the menu is varied enough to satisfy everyone’s hunger cravings.

Reply

Anne Ritchings

November 16th, 2007

Mama Dip, aka Mildred Council, started her restaurant in 1976 with sixty-four dollars. Since that time the restaurant has grown steadily and become a beloved Chapel Hill institution. I would say that a visit to Chapel Hill is not complete without a visit to Mama Dip’s.

This is soul food in every sense of the word. Here you find fresh ingredients, carefully prepared. The menu offers Southern favorites such as chicken and dumplins, chicken fried steak, BBQ chicken and pork, and Southern fried chicken. You can choose from among 21 vegetables and the desserts range from freshly baked cobblers to pies you wish you could bake half as well.

When in season, think about starting your meal with fried green tomatoes, lightly breaded with cornmeal and cooked just until done. What a treat. Sometimes there is a special combo plate which includes fried catfish, shrimp and oysters. The catfish, lightly coated with cornmeal, is cooked perfectly, juicy and flaky. The oysters are plump and the shrimp cooked just enough. If you like fried fish and shellfish, you will definitely like this.

The fried chicken is lightly battered and served piping hot. There isn’t a hint of grease and the chicken is so juicy that you might consider wearing your napkin as a bib. The chicken fried steak is tender with just the right bite and chew. The vegetables are as good as the main dishes. The mashed potatoes are creamy, the black-eyed peas cooked with just the right amount of pork, the butter beans are plump and fresh and the fried okra is crisp.

Service is friendly and efficient. Even when the restaurant is crowded, you don’t have to wait long for your order to be taken or for your food to arrive. Mama Dip’s is defintely on my list of restaurants worthy of a repeat visit.

Reply

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