Chef, Mama Dip's
Mama Dip’s, whether you’re looking for great family-style dining, a take-out meal to share at home, a picnic basket to go, or sauces and spreads from the general store, Mama Dip’s is the place to find delicious country cooking. Since 1976, Mama Dip’s has been a Chapel Hill favorite, and Mama Dip’s two cookbooks have been praised by some of the most famous chefs and food writers in the world. Stop in and see us any day of the week for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
In 1976, Mildred Cotton Council opened Mama Dip’s restaurant, named for the childhood nickname given to her by her siblings (her height and long arms allowed her to “dip” all the way into the bottom of the rain barrel).
Born in Chatham County to Ed and Effie Edwards Cotton, Mama Dip first learned to cook by watching her family and neighbors use the “dump cooking” method of cooking by taste. While working as a family cook, and later at Carolina Coffee Shop and St. Andrews Hall, Mama Dip honed her craft, developing the recipes her restaurant would become so famous for. In 1957, she worked alongside her mother-in-law at a tiny take-out kitchen, where they made a reputation for turning out some of the best country cooking in town.
So it was with much experience, and a crowd of people already looking forward to eating there, that Mama Dip’s first opened on a Sunday in November 1976. But it wasn’t with much money – that first day, the restaurant had $40 for purchasing food, and $24 to make change. It worked out fine that day, and it’s only gotten better as Mama Dip’s nears its 40th year as one of Chapel Hill’s most beloved dining destinations.