I had two notable burgers recently. After long hearing about Char-Grill, the famed Raleigh institution, I finally had a chance to stop by the new branch restaurant near the juncture of 54 and 55 in Durham. It was an extreme disappointment. The burger was dry and tasteless -- the kind of burger for which the "hockey puck" cliche was invented, though the cliche does not work in this case, as Char-Grill's burgers are oblong. We had to force feed our daughter, whose complaints, for once, were fairly legitimate. Ultimately we had to bribe her with a Dunkin Donut from next store. The fries are the standard frozen-reconstituted -- tasty, but essentially appealing to one's lower instincts for mere fat and salt.
The other night, meanwhile, we tried PT Grille, on Henderson Street, just off Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill. This is a hopping college bar that specializes in beer, burgers, and fries, all serves relatively cheaply and massively. The burgers were hefty but not special,
and the fresh cut fries, while crisp, were on the greasy side. If you are looking for this kind of food in a lively, youthful atmosphere, PT's is a fine stop. Chowhound types, however, will probably prefer Tyler's, which offers much the same chow with a degree of refinement.
I love, by the way, the beer store that has opened next door to Tyler's. I only just learned that Tyler's owns this shop. I highly recommend the Lammsbrau organic dunkel. This is one of the best beers I have ever had -- maybe the best.