Savoring local flavors with 3 Guys from Pittsboro having lunch at Al’s Diner

By Gene Galin

Pittsboro, NC – We, three guys from Pittsboro gathered at Al’s Diner on January 12 for a casual conversation over lunch. Eric Andrews, Greg Stafford and I, shared our insights (for whatever they are worth), anecdotes, and various recommendations. In our discussion, we covered everything from Al’s famed steak tips to updates on local establishments like Doherty’s and Havoc Brewery.

Al’s Diner – A Pittsboro Staple

As we sat down, our waitress Kaitlin, teased Greg for his lack of a tie. Amidst banter about sweatshirts and dietary choices, we dove into the Al’s Diner menu. We looked at items like the classic steak tips and Al’s famous hash brown casserole. Greg opted to indulge in the iconic steak tips, known for their exceptional flavor and preparation. According to our local “connoisseur”, the steak tips are a must-try, grilled to perfection and served alongside the renowned hash brown casserole. The diner, under new ownership by the Parkers since 2022, continues to uphold its reputation for good tasting burgers and delightful hash brown creations. As the three of us pontificated and enjoyed our meals, you can get the sense that Al’s Diner remains a cornerstone of Pittsboro’s culinary scene.

Pittsboro’s Culinary Landscape Beyond Al’s

Our conversation drifted to other local establishments, including Doherty’s, the Mod and Havoc. The Mod now boasts new ownership, promising exciting changes. Jeff and Jamie, proprietors of Leaf and Barrel in Sanford, have taken the helm, intending to maintain the beloved menu while introducing some of their signature dishes. Greg and Eric shared updates on Doherty’s anticipated reopening, revealing plans for a grand St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

The Success Story of Havoc

Havoc Brewery, a venue without a kitchen but famed for hosting food truck just about every day, has became a surprising success story. Initially thought to struggle, Havoc managed to draw record crowds during its New Year’s Eve celebration. We were pleasantly surprised at the turnout and speculated on Havoc’s future, especially with the forthcoming hotel at the Mosaic at Chatham Park, hinting at potential shuttle services and expanded food offerings.

“I told them when they were looking at it that I thought that they were two years early. I couldn’t be more wrong,” said Greg, admitting to underestimating Havoc’s immediate appeal.

Challenges and Transformations

Our conversation delved into the challenges faced by local businesses, particularly in light of the Mod’s recent changes in ownership. Due to an array of various factors The Mod had gone through a tumultuous period. However, the focus shifted to the hopeful future, as we discussed potential changes and improvements to enhance the town’s culinary offerings.

Mathiesen Clinic and Town Renovations

Delving into the local landscape, we touched on the Mathiesen Clinic and the ongoing renovations being done by the Staffords. Details about the clinic’s transformation and its role in community health also reminded us of the town’s evolving infrastructure.

A Taste of Pittsboro’s Charm

I hope our lunchtime conversation at Al’s Diner provided a glimpse into the vibrant culinary scene of Pittsboro. From the savory delights at Al’s to the anticipated reopening of Doherty’s and the unexpected triumph of Havoc, the town’s gastronomic landscape is evolving. As the town of Pittsboro navigates its future challenges and transformations, we hope the essence of community, friendship, and good food remains a constant. I believe our candid discussion reflects the town’s spirit, inviting both locals and visitors to savor the unique flavors that define our charming North Carolina town.


Summary of our “3 Guys from Pittsboro Having Lunch” at Al’s Diner

🍔 Three guys having lunch in Pittsboro, casual setting.
🤠 No one wearing a tie, relaxed atmosphere.
🍹 Ordering drinks like Diet Coke and unsweetened tea.
🍽️Ordering various meals like steak tips, burgers, flounder, hash brown casserole, green beans, onion rings.
🎉 Discussing plans for St. Patrick’s Day shindig at Doherty’s.
🍕 Talking about changes at The Mod under new ownership but retaining the menu.
🚗 Planning for potential shuttle service from new hotel to bars.
🍻 Havoc doing well, attracting visitors.
🚌 Discussing past events and potential future events like October Fest.
🏨 New hotel opening discussed and its potential impact on events.
🎉 Havoc’s success surprising with crowds coming from various places.
🎭 Mention of potential increased entertainment at Havoc in the future.
🍠 Trying sweet potato fries, expressing preference for brown sugar butter.
😋 Positive reviews for the food, casual banter with the waitress.
🤔 Reflecting on past events and planning for potential future ones.
🍹 Mention of whiskey club, plans to check out Leaf and Barrel.
🤵 Acknowledging law enforcement’s support during past events.
🚗 Possibility of future road trips to new places for lunch.
🍽️ Casual discussion, banter, and updates on local establishments.
🥩 The best part of the place is the steak tips and hash brown casserole on Fridays.
🍔 The burger is recommended, juicy with ketchup and mustard, and sweet potato fries with brown sugar.🕑 The restaurant closes at 2:30 during the week, open for breakfast and lunch on Saturdays, and dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.
🍟 Onion rings and green beans as sides, with a suggestion for hush puppies instead of onion rings.
👍 Overall, a thumbs up, worth visiting, and the staff recommends sinful but delicious food.
🍺 The establishment has weird hours, closed on Sundays, and owned by The Parkers.
📹 A YouTube video conversation with The Parkers when they bought the place is available.
🐕 Havoc is successful, allowing dogs and kids, with plans for a big St. Patrick’s Day event.
🏥 Update on the Mathiessen clinic, plans for renovations, and a goal for a rooftop restaurant and condos.
Plans for phase renovations starting with the back, then upstairs, and finally the front part of the building.📺 Positive results and recommendations to visit Carolina Properties to check out their TV displaying local news and information.
📰 The TV feeds information from the Chatham Journal Newspaper and Chatham Chatlist. No slide goes on for more than 9 seconds to avoid boredom.


Watch on YouTube – 3 Guys from Pittsboro having lunch at Al’s Dinner – 1.12.24

00:23 Three guys from Pittsboro having lunch at Al’s Dinner.

  • The group discusses their attire and banter about the lack of ties and proper dress code.
  • They also converse about the menu items, including the steak tips and the famous burgers and hash brown casserole.

03:24 Discussing meal choices and teasing kitchen staff

  • Conversation about meal choices and order details
  • Discussing the delayed opening of a restaurant called Doherty’s

06:52 New owners planning big St. Patrick’s Day event

  • The new owners are planning a St. Patrick’s Day shindig ho down round up.
  • They are not making big changes to the menu, but will add some smoked foods like brisket.

09:31 Havoc has been successful beyond expectations

  • Initially predicted to struggle due to low population, but now a popular destination
  • Attracted visitors from various places, even beyond Pittsboro

12:34 Discussion about the potential involvement of the hotel owners and the dynamics of having a hotel in the area.

  • The possibility of handing off the St. Patrick’s celebration event to bar owners and the interest shown by the owner of the new Hampton Inn.
  • Plans for providing transportation services and the positive response to advertising efforts.

15:03 Discussion about food preferences and southern habits

  • Different views on food preferences and habits, including using butter and ketchup
  • Recommendations and opinions on the food they tried at the diner

17:43 Review of the meal and restaurant experience

  • Recommendation for the juicy burger and mention of the sweet potato fries with brown sugar and butter
  • Information about the restaurant’s hours and the history of the ownership

20:07 Havoc Brewery attracts a diverse crowd with kids and dogs.

  • The brewery allows kids and dogs, providing ample space for them outside.
  • There are plans for a rooftop restaurant and condo at Mathiesen Clinic, with renovations in progress.