Time-Out Restaurant is a well-known Chapel Hill eatery frequented by the town’s residents and students at UNC-Chapel Hill. It is located at 201 E. Franklin St., at the corner of Henderson Street.
Known for its chicken n’ cheddar biscuit, Time-Out was opened by owner Eddie Williams in May 1978 at 133 W. Franklin St, in the old University Square development. In August 2014, Time-Out moved to its current location once its former space was acquired for the Carolina Square development.<div>
In addition to its Southern-style cooking, Time-Out is also considered a Chapel Hill landmark by many and is known for remaining open 24 hours a day, the first Chapel Hill restaurant to do so. Williams based his decision to keep Time-Out open around the clock on the need to provide dining options to late-night workers and students.<div>
“I was driving around Chapel Hill late one night, after visiting the UNC Medical Center, and I noticed how few late night food options there were for those visiting the hospital,” Williams said. “As a small-business owner, I knew that being open 24 hours a day was a big commitment. With the support of my wife and family, Time-Out became the first 24-hour restaurant in Chapel Hill.”
In addition to its physical location, Time-Out also has a food truck, and in 2017 began licensing select menu items to other area restaurants. The restaurant also does catering for groups ranging from 10 to 180 people.
Williams, a third-generation UNC alumnus, opened Time-Out in May 1978. Williams’ wife, Val, inspired Williams to name the restaurant Time-Out because of his family’s background in UNC athletics. Williams’ father, Jack, served as UNC’s sports information director from 1966-75.
Williams’ sports fandom is reflected inside of Time-Out, where many visitors enjoy not just the food but also the atmosphere and the UNC memorabilia-decorated walls.
Aside from the chicken n’ cheddar biscuit and 24/7 service, Time-Out is known for its other Southern cooking staples, such as fried chicken, fried okra, collard greens, green beans, sweet potatoes and mashed potatoes. Eating just one item at Time-Out is seen as a rite of passage. “You have to eat here before you graduate,” a UNC student told Travel Channel.
In pop culture
Time-Out was featured on a segment of Travel Channel’s show “Man vs. Food” in 2009. Host Adam Richman tried the famous chicken ‘n cheddar biscuit, which “melts two slices of sharp cheddar on a perfectly seasoned, mouthwatering, boneless chicken breast and stacks it all in the middle of a buttery biscuit.”
The segment detailed the process of making the biscuits, which includes using a special tray that bakes 49 biscuits at once, with 30 trays each day, coming out to over 1,400 biscuits baked on a daily basis. The televised feature inspired Williams to add a “Man vs. Food” combo special to the menu, which replicates the meal eaten by Richman. Time-Out has also been featured by Cooking Channel, TODAY, Buzzfeed, Men’s Journal and CNBC.