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May 30, 2022, 4:34 p.m.

Best of the Blue Ridge: Where to Eat in the N.C. Mountains


The charming and welcoming towns of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountain are filled with great local flavors. Whether you’re in the mood for a laid-back dinner with a view, a classic burger and fries, or some traditional Western N.C. barbecue, you’ll find it here.

Order up a glass of a locally crafted beer, wine, mead, or spirit to go with your meal. Ask about local drinks at one of these restaurants, or visit the stops along the High Spirits Trail to raise a toast to craft beverages.

Try these favorite Blue Ridge restaurants

No matter the time of day, if you’ve worked up an appetite from exploring the great outdoors, strolling main street sidewalks, or just relaxing amid the mountain majesty, choose a great local restaurant to refuel before your next adventure.

Here are a few of our favorite spots to get a bite to eat.

Best breakfast to start the day

Grab a locally roasted coffee and a pastry or breakfast burrito at Old Fort Ride House — perfect for kicking off a day of mountain biking or a morning of checking emails work-from-anywhere-style. In nearby Marion, Sharon’s Cafe, Elevate Breakfast Company and Bantam Chef serve breakfast classics including eggs, sausage, omelets, a local "meat favorite" Hunter's Liver Mush, and pancakes.

Top stop on the N.C. Historic Barbecue Trail

For 40+ years the folks at the Switzerland Cafe in Little Switzerland have been smoking applewood trout and hickory pork barbecue, delicious enough to earn them a place on the state’s official barbecue trail!

Barbecue fans will also want to check out Smokey Que’s in Marion for chicken, ribs, and fried catfish.


Fan favorites in Marion’s Downtown District

Along a 0.3-mile stretch of Marion’s historic Main Street—and a few side streets—you’ll find a variety of fantastic restaurants, including:

  • McDowell Local — a relaxed, neighborhood eatery with dishes made in-house from locally sourced ingredients
  • Crabby Abby’s — stop here for a casual cocktail, fresh seafood and hand cut steaks
  • Bruce’s Fabulous Foods — a lunch-only spot featuring quesadillas, sandwiches, salads, and wraps
  • Link Hot Dogs — every type of hot dog you can imagine, from classic ketchup-and-mustard to specialty dogs topped with house-made sauces.


Best restaurant with a truly tri-county location

If you’ve never eaten at a restaurant that sits in three distinct counties, that’s only one reason to visit Famous Louise’s Rock House Restaurant — the delicious American classics on the menu are the main attraction.

Best place to unwind after a hike

After a long day on the trail, you can’t beat a soft pretzel and a cold beer on the creekside deck at Hillman Beer. Or enjoy a sandwich and a slice of pie on the patio at Taylor’s Brewing Company.

Hillman Brewing.jpg

Best dinner with a view

Dinner (or breakfast or lunch) on the terrace of The Chalet restaurant at the Switzerland Inn comes with a side of breathtaking natural beauty, thanks to its view of the surrounding mountains. And at Lake James, the grill at Bear Creek Marina is a prime spot for watching the sun slowly set over the water as you enjoy fresh seafood, pizza, and wings.

Family-friendly classics: Pizza, Mexican, and dinner buffets

If you’re looking for a great place for a family meal, take a look at one of these local favorites:

Find more delicious Blue Ridge restaurants here.