Where’s the best restaurant in the Triangle? This one tops a new Yelp list

A Durham restaurant was just named the best in the Triangle — so come hungry.

The restaurant review website Yelp said its users can’t get enough of KoKyu Na’Mean, a shop that says it dishes out “global-inspired” fare and values its customer service. On Tuesday, those attributes helped the restaurant reach No. 1 on Yelp’s list of places to eat in the region.

On its Yelp page, KoKyu Na’Mean gets more than 4 stars out of a 5-star rating, with some users raving about the restaurant’s takes on the popular Vietnamese dish banh mi and a chicken sandwich flavored with gochujang, a chili paste often used in Korean foods.

KoKyu Na’Mean started as a spinoff of an earlier food truck called KoKyu BBQ, The News & Observer reported last year. The restaurant originally focused on serving sandwiches from a strip mall location close to Research Triangle Park but has brought an expanded menu of salads, tacos and more to a shop on N.C. Highway 54 near the Streets at Southpoint mall, according to co-owner David “Flip” Filippini.

KoKyu Na’Mean earned recognition after Yelp studied eateries in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and nearby towns. The site said it chose the top 50 eateries after weighing several factors, including reviews and the number of ratings from 2001 to June 10, 2021.

“If a local or regional chain appeared on the list more than once, we only included the highest rated location,” officials said. “All businesses were marked open on Yelp as of August 10.”

Craving something else? Here are the other Triangle restaurants that rounded out the top five:

  • No. 2: Sushi Mon in Raleigh

  • No. 3: City Market Sushi in Raleigh

  • No. 4: Peri Brothers Pizza in Raleigh

  • No. 5: Sushioki in Durham

During the pandemic, Yelp urges people to check for updated business hours before dining out. Coronavirus-related restrictions and staffing shortages have led some North Carolina businesses to struggle in the past several months.

“We survived last year based on a core group of people that have been with us for a decade now since we started our food trucks and just a huge shoutout to everybody that came and drove — whether it was just buying food regularly or back in April buying gift cards like crazy and all that,” Filippini told McClatchy News in a phone interview.

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