Mama Dips: A True Southern Culinary Experience





0017-mama-dips-kitchenOVERALL SCORE: 84/100

Category: Southern   Address: 408 W Rosemary St. Chapel Hill, NC 27516               Phone: (919) 942-5837   Website:

Mama Dip’s is a restaurant located in Chapel Hill, NC. It was founded in 1976, by Mildred Cotton Council, who is otherwise known as, Mama Dip. She learned to cook when she was a kid watching her family prepare her favorite meals. She got into the restaurant business by starting a little take out kitchen with her mother-in-law.[1] She would master her craft over the next decade or so, and would eventually open the restaurant that Chapel Hill natives know and love today, Mama Dip’s.

Mama Dip’s has a large variety of southern favorites like fried chicken, barbecue ribs, as well as chicken and dumplings. All of the entrees served have their own unique flavor that sets it apart from other restaurants serving Southern style home cooking. Mama Dip’s gives off a down home kind of atmosphere, with food that is both gourmet and reasonably priced. Mama Dip’s is a great place to go out for a family dinner that everyone will enjoy.

Over the years, Southern cooking has become such an important part of of the South’s cultural identity. There are many variations of styles used all across the South, giving all of the different states and regions a sort of culinary identity. People in the South take their cooking very seriously, and take a lot of pride in maintaining the traditions of the generations before them. While the food is great, and has a lot of rich tradition behind it, Southern cooking means more to the community as a whole than anything else. Food brings people together. No matter where you are from, or what your background is, everyone enjoys a good meal. Food has the ability to break down racial barriers, as well as social classes. Throughout the last century, with all of the civil unrest in the South, the one unifying factor between African Americans and Whites was that they both went home and cooked the same meals that had been passed down for generations. This sense of unity is what Southern cooking is all about, and why it is such an important aspect of the South’s cultural identity. Mama Dip’s exemplifies this exceptionally well by serving authentic food in an environment that is inclusive to the whole community.

Reviewer Score: 84/100                                                                                                       When first walking into the restaurant, you get the down home kind of feel. Everything is wooden, and you can see the freshly made pies in the display case. For an appetizer, my family and I ordered the sample platter. We really enjoyed the hushpuppies and fried zucchini, but the fried green tomatoes were by far the best.

Sample Platter courtesy of

There were many options to choose from for our entree, so the four of us decided to order different things and try each others. We ended up getting the chicken and dumplings, the fried chicken, and the ribs. The fried chicken was very crispy and flavorful. The ribs were also excellent as the meat was very tender, and the house made sauce was delicious. The chicken and dumplings were also good but they weren’t very warm when they were served to us. Although this was up for by the sides we ordered. The fried okra was great, as well as the cole slaw.


chicken and ribs courtesy of


Chicken and Dumplings courtesy of


All around it was a very good meal that was not exorbitantly expensive. While the chicken and dumplings were a little cold, the meal was still excellent, and epitomized everything that you would expect in a Southern homestyle meal.

1.”Mama Dip’s History.” Mama Dips Mama Dips History Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2015.

3 thoughts on “Mama Dips: A True Southern Culinary Experience

  1. Zach, I’ve been meaning to try this place for a while now. I love to use Mama Dip’s sauce to cook pork in the crock pot. I think your commentary on the power of food to break down barriers is very interesting and worthy of further exploration. It’s such a complex and convoluted history full of beauty and ugliness. If you haven’t heard of it before you should check out the Southern Foodways Alliance –– –– which is working to uncover and preserve the rich culinary history of the South.

  2. Hey Zach, it was a pleasure to read your post. I grew up in Durham, but regrettably never came to know Chapel Hill very well. Consequently, you would think a local like me would have heard of a place like Mama Dips, but I had no idea it existed. The description of your Southern culinary experience made my mouth water and has put Mama Dips on my radar for the future. My only critique is that you could pursue the idea of Southern cuisine a little further. What specifically characterizes a Southern meal and what are the kinds of recipes that have been passed down through the generations? This could be one avenue that you could use to expand your analysis.

  3. Great post Zach. I have been to Mama Dips multiple times and can personally attest to how good the food is, especially the fried chicken and the barbecue ribs. I liked your commentary on how Southern food has typically been considered a unifying factor among people in the South due to its association with people gatherings. Southern food truly does bring together people of various backgrounds and beliefs with a common, seemingly simple purpose. You did a good job of explaining how whites and blacks ate the same food separately, but possibly explain how the southern food more so brought them together physically and mentally. In what ways did the food unite the two cultures?

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