Having gotten that out of my system: I did get a chance to go to 501 Diner in Chapel Hill several days ago. Some of you may remember 501 filling a hole in Durham's restaurant scene several years ago. I thought they were a great little place in a great location, and did a much better job of being a mid-list restaurant than, say, Elmo's (another diner-esque place that's co-located in Durham and Orange County).
This isn't an extensive review, but: I was greeted by friendly staff, seated quickly, got good-sized portions, and was really pleased at the quality of food I got for the money. I thought the specials looked particularly good. The inside is not large, but it's cozy, clean, kitschy-cute, and not at all crowded for dinner on a weekday night. It's far enough west in Chapel Hill to be extremely easy to get to from Durham, and definitely not walking distance from UNC-CH :) [Full disclosure: I have friends who work at this restaurant. The Agents of EAJ! are Everywhere. ;)]
Ham's on West Franklin Street in Chapel Hill has some legal mumbo-jumbo posted to its door related to their being closed. They seem to be down for the count, as are a bunch of others (apparently the Greensboro-founded chain had filed for bankruptcy). Better head to one of Chapel Hill's many other watering holes and sports bars instead. (Psst... some of them have better food anyway.)
Come on, you're in Chapel Hill on Franklin Street. Can't you find something better to do than go to Kildare's? There are better bars and better places to eat. Yeah, the fireplace and some of the seating is nice, but I kinda felt like I was in some faux-Irish Disneyland. Ok, well, if you must, enjoy yourself.
BTW, if anyone can point me at a good, complete listing of Chapel Hill's many watering holes, I'll post a link.