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Holes in the wall 

Everyone likes to be in the know, to be able to tell their friends about the hole in the wall with the best burritos, the coolest old Hawaiian shirts, the cheapest selection of used bookcases. But the Triangle's a big place, and there are so many holes and so little time.

That's where we come in. A team of interns at The Independent spent the summer putting together this week's Annual Manual: A Streetwise Guide to the Triangle. There are plenty of other guides that'll tell you when the City Council meets, or the phone number for the Angus Barn, or how to get your water turned on. But this one's different. It's designed both for people who are new to the Triangle and those who've lived here a while, to tell you about the special places it might take years to find, not just in your own city but across the Triangle.

Leading the team was Finn Cohen, a local musician and student who writes about music for The Independent. Finn grew up in Durham, worked at the Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill and plays in local bands. Being a student and musician, he knew what needed to be in a real-life guide meant for people who like to go out, live well, but don't want to spend a lot of money. The Thrift Stores section should open up new vistas for junkers across the region. The Cheap Eats section will keep you exploring for months. The Buy Local section is a reminder that we have a lot of hometown businesses that need our support. And the Music section is the best introduction to the history and vibrancy of the region's pop music life I've seen anywhere.

Working with Finn were a great team of interns: Diane Cordova, a senior at N.C. State who's an assistant editor at The Technician; Lauren Hooker, a music maven who just graduated from Duke in English; Brian Millikin, a senior at UNC-CH who's been writing for The Daily Tar Heel; Danielle Purifoy, a student at Vassar College who graduated from Northern High School in Durham and is a member of the N.C. Youth Tap Ensemble; and Mia Tyler, who just graduated from Salem College in communication and lives in Durham. They got help and advice from sources ranging from Chapel Hill music guru Ross Grady to our own theater guru, Byron Woods. If you want to give any of them jobs, give me a call.

The lists that we've put together are subjective and far from definitive. If you have favorites you think should be included next year, e-mail them to us at editors@indyweek.com. For instance, I realized that one of my favorite thrift store haunts, Duke University's surplus store, is missing (it's the best place I know to get old desks, glass beakers and arcane medical equipment). And so is my favorite hamburger joint, Wimpy's, across from The Independent's offices on Hillsborough Street in Durham. So those will be the holes in the wall that only the cognoscenti know about. At least until next year.

More by Richard Hart

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