Best Hendersonville NC Restaurants Guide
- Arabella Breakfast & Brunch (Latin/American Fusion)
- Bold Rock Mills River Cidery (Gastropub)
- Flat Rock Village Bakery
- Harvey’s @ The Henderson (Fine Dining)
- HenDough Chicken & Donuts (Fast Food)
- Hubba Hubba Smokehouse (BBQ)
- McFarlan Bakery
- Mezzaluna (Italian)
- Moe’s Original BBQ
- Never Blue (Global Fusion)
- Pi Squared (Italian)
- Postero (Fine Dining)
- Shine (New American)
- Sierra Nevada Brewery Taproom (Gastropub)
- Umi Sushi (Japanese)
1. Arabella Breakfast & Brunch (Latin/American Fusion)
536 North Main Street, Hendersonville NC • (828)595-2449 • Official Website
HOURS: Daily 7AM-3PM
As a professional travel writer/restaurant critic, I love asking chefs and servers at good restaurants where they like to eat locally. If the same restaurants are mentioned by multiple foodies, we make dining there a priority!
That’s how we heard about Arabella, a great place for breakfast and brunch in Downtown Hendersonville with a huge covered outdoor patio right on Main Street.
Owned by Chef Mike Santacrose and his wife, Kimberly, the homey café fuses Latin and American culinary influences, with gourmet coffee and a full bar serving craft cocktails.
Their menu largely consists of omelets, salads, and sandwiches, but with enough international flair to stand out from the crowd. We devoured our hearty Apple Valley Grit Bowl with Homemade Chorizo, but you can order it with bacon, ham, or homemade sausage if you prefer a more traditional approach.
We also loved their Build-Your-Own Burrito/Tacos/Quesadillas option (getting ours with Cuban mojo pork, eggs, queso blanco, and chipotle sour cream), as well as the Loaded Hashbrowns. That same slow-roasted pork also goes on their Cuban Sammy, which was one of the best sandwiches we’ve had in North Carolina.
They also boast a fantastic Hendersonville coffee shop, offering unique specialty lattés such as Apple Crisp, Cinn Bun, Snickerdoodle Cream, and S’mores flavors.
2. Bold Rock Mills River Cidery (Gastropub)
72 School House Rd, Mills River • (828)595-9940 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon to Thu 12PM-8PM; Fri & Sat 11AM-9PM; Sun 11AM-8PM
Located in Mills River (just 7 miles from downtown Hendersonville), Bold Rock is clearly a cidery first, and a restaurant second.
Massive windows at the back of the 2-story warehouse allow visitors a look at their production and bottling process. And the first thing you see when you walk in is the sheer array of cider flavors they have available (all made with fruit from Henderson County apple orchards) by the case.
You place your order at the expansive bar (which also offers local craft beer), with food made by the Bold Bites Mobile Kitchen. Then you can sit inside or outside in their dog-friendly Cider Garden.
We recommend trying one of their Cider Tasting Flights. Each features 4 varieties ranging from dry, crisp, almost Champagne-like cider to seasonal fruit flavors like Blackberry and Watermelon.
The restaurant’s menu is fairly typical gastropub fare– burgers, wings, nachos, etc. But the Smokehouse Bacon Burger, Apple Grilled Cheese, Chicken Nachos (with Cider BBQ sauce), and Street Corn were all delicious and paired perfectly with the tasting flight.
READ MORE: Exploring The 12 Best Asheville NC Breweries
3. Flat Rock Village Bakery
2710 Us Highway 225, Flat Rock NC • (828)693-1313 • Official Website
HOURS: Daily 8AM-5PM
Best known for the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site and the Flat Rock Playhouse, the tiny North Carolina mountain town also offers an impressive array of quirky shops and sensational restaurants.
The Flat Rock Village Bakery is one of the our favorites. They offer made-from-scratch baked goods, wood-fired pizzas, and sandwiches (plus gourmet coffee, beer from local breweries, and wine) in a laid-back atmosphere.
From scones and cinnamon rolls to Danish made with fresh fruit from local farms, all the sweet treats we’ve sampled were scrumptious. But on our latest visit we went for lunch, sampling the savory side of the menu.
Mary loved her huge Chicken Salad sandwich on ciabatta bread, while my Ham & Gruyere Croissant was bursting with gooey flavor.
But our favorite dish by far was their BBQ Chicken Pizza, whose chewy crust, slightly sweet sauce, and generous toppings made it one of our favorite pizzas in Hendersonville.
4. Harvey’s at The Henderson (Fine Dining)
201 3rd Ave. West • (828)696-2001 • Official Website
HOURS: Thu to Sat 5PM-8PM; Sun 10AM-1PM; Closed Monday to Wednesday
It’s not often that we stay at hotels where the restaurant is as noteworthy as the accommodations. But the Henderson Hotel– a 17-room bed and breakfast in downtown Hendersonville– is not your typical hotel.
The hotel was built in 1919-1921 in a Classical Revivalist architectural style, and has changed names numerous times over the last century. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989, then underwent an extensive renovation in 2006.
Current owners Jeanne and Michael Gilligan have added a quirky love of retro Hollywood memorabilia to the historic downtown Hendersonville hotel’s decor.
Michael– an award-winning chef from various Michelin star restaurants, who also served as Food & Beverage Director for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines– makes Harvey’s Restaurant & Lounge a destination worth visiting in its own right.
We started with the delightfully flavorful Ahi Tuna Tartare (served with wonton chips) and a hearty NC Hickory Nut Gap Farms Charcuterie platter. We also loved the Oven Roasted Sea Scallops with Lemon-Chive Butter and the Seared NC Mountain Trout over Spring Greens.
Jeanne’s well-crafted cocktails and Michael’s decadent desserts offer a perfect way to wind down your meal. Next time we visit, we hope to try their critically-acclaimed Sunday brunch!
5. HenDough Chicken & Donuts (Fast Food)
532 Kanuga Rd • (828)595-2885 • Official Website
HOURS: Daily 7:30AM-3PM
I’ve been reviewing restaurants for 25+ years now, and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve heartily recommended a fast food joint to readers.
But despite going in with low expectations, HenDough Chicken & Donuts proved to be a fantastic place to get a cheap, filling meal that genuinely blew my taste buds away.
Located in a 2-story house, this quirky downtown Hendersonville restaurant has personality to spare.
From the cartoonish logo and the bold primary colors of the decor to the incredible smells emanating from the kitchen, it feels homey and welcoming from the moment you walk in the door.
For breakfast, biscuits and donuts are your only options. Go straight to the “HenDough Originals” menu, specifically the Donut Breakfast Sandwich (Glazed Donut, American Cheese, Bacon + Sausage) and/or Egg In A Basket (Donut, Eggs, Fried Chicken, Bacon + Jalapeño Maple Syrup).
I’m not sure I have the words to express how insanely delicious these artery-clogging combinations of flavors were, so just trust me and try it for yourself!
Their lunch menu also includes Fried Chicken, Chicken Sandwiches, and gourmet sides such as Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese, Roasted Jalapeño Grits, and Sweet Potato Salad with Bacon.
6. Hubba Hubba Smokehouse (BBQ)
2724 Greenville Hwy, Flat Rock • (828)694-3551 • Official Website
HOURS: Open May through October. Check their website for updated hours.
Barbecue in North Carolina is serious business. The best wood-fired BBQ in Hendersonville can be found in the village of Flat Rock, where Hubba Hubba Smokehouse owner Starr Teel favors the “low and slow” approach.
Teel (whose ex-wife Virginia owns The Wrinkled Egg gift shop on Flat Rock’s colorful “Rainbow Row”) is a classically trained chef who attended both French and American culinary schools.
But his Hubba Hubba Smokehouse menu is deceptively simple, focusing on homestyle dishes, hand-pulled meats, and made-from-scratch sauces and sides that use locally-sourced produce.
But don’t let the homespun vibe fool you. This is Southern-style BBQ at its finest, with tender, flavorful ribs and other meats every bit as good as the best I’ve had in Texas or North Georgia.
If you’re a newbie, we recommend ordering the Indecision Plate. It comes with 6oz of brisket and pulled pork, two sides, plus a choice of toasted bun, chips, or cornbread (we preferred the latter).
Traditional sides such as Tangy Baked Beans, Collard Greens, and Succotash were all terrifically tasty. But the can’t-miss dish was their Pimento Cheese Grits, with surprisingly light Banana Pudding for dessert.
It was a fantastically filling meal after a long morning of hiking the local waterfalls.
7. McFarlan Bakery
309 N Main St • (828)693-4256 • Official Website
HOURS: Tue to Sat 7AM-5:30PM; Closed Sundays & Mondays
If you’re looking for a taste of downtown Hendersonville history, just head to the McFarlan Bakery, a Main Street staple since 1930.
Originally owned by Earl McFarlan, the business was bought by the father of current co-owner Michael Cole in 1952 (the year Michael was born).
So Michael practically grew up in the Hendersonville bakery, cleaning at first, then eventually learning how to make pastries and pies from “old-timers that really knew how to bake.”
Michael and his wife Kathy bought the bakery in 1994, but very little has changed over the years.
All of McFarlan’s 160+ products are still made from scratch daily, with 90% of them using the original recipes (which date back 90+ years).
The have delightfully fluffy donuts, old-fashioned turnovers bursting with fruit, cinnamon buns, cookies, and the best apple fritters I’ve ever tasted. So it’s the perfect place to pick up breakfast before heading out to hike some of the waterfalls near Brevard.
8. Mezzaluna (Italian)
226 N. Main St, Hendersonville NC • (828)697-6575 • Official Website
HOURS: Daily 11:30AM-9PM
After working my way through college at a small pizza place in Atlanta, I have an inherent fondness for family-owned Italian restaurants.
Michigan native Robert Conroy and his family first fell in love with traditional Italian food during a vacation in Cozumel, of all places. In 2008, they opened Mezzaluna, offering an intimate Italian fine dining experience.
One of the most popular places to eat in Hendersonville NC, Mezzaluna has a huge European-style dining room and a lovely outdoor patio. They specialize in brick oven pizza, with a great wine selection and 50+ beers on tap.
Their Calamari Frito was slightly overcooked for our taste, but the Wedge Salad was hearty and packed a flavorful punch courtesy of the delectable maple smoked peppercorn bacon and Blue Cheese dressing.
The Mezzaluna Lasagna was more tender and refined than most we’ve tried in the Blue Ridge Mountains. But the dish we’d go back for in a heartbeat was their perfectly cooked Pancetta and Fig Pizza.
With its chewy hand-tossed crust, generous helpings of meat and figs, and an amazing sauce that combined arugula pesto and goat cheese with local wildflower honey, it’s among the best pizzas we’ve had in North Carolina.
9. Moe’s Original BBQ
114 N Main St • (828)595-9200 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon to Sat 11AM-8PM; Sun 11AM-4PM
Although we always enjoy discovering locally-owned restaurants when we travel, it’s also cool to find a franchise of a place you know and love from your own hometown.
Moe’s Original BBQ was founded by 3 Alabama boys who met at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. With skills acquired from countless backyard barbecues and years of private catering gigs, they opened their first restaurant in Colorado in 2002.
Within a decade they’d opened outposts in Alabama and North Georgia (our current home base), where it became a beloved hangout among many of our close friends.
Their menu is everything you would want from a Southern-style barbecue joint, with sensational smoked meats ranging from Ribs and Pulled Pork to Half Chicken, Turkey, and Jumbo Wings.
Don’t leave without trying soulful sides such as Baked Beans, Collard Greens, Mac n’ Cheese, and homestyle Cornbread, with decadent Banana Pudding for dessert!
10. Never Blue (Global Fusion)
119 S Main St • (828)693-4646 • Official Website
HOURS: Wed to Sat 4:30PM-9PM; Closed Sunday to Tuesday
We started this website in large part due to our interest in moving to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
One of the things we’ll miss most about our current home near Atlanta is the plethora of international cuisines (Cuban, Greek, Peruvian, etc.) available within a few miles of our house.
The restaurant’s artful decor is just as colorful as its menu, with vibrant paintings, stained glass, and mosaic tile artwork. Much of it was done by owner/Executive Chef Jesse Roque, who attended the culinary and pastry program at Johnson & Wales University in Charleston.
Every dish from her tapas-style menu was exquisite, starting with Zah’taar-spiced Lamb Kofta (served with warm pita and lemon-garlic hummus) and Devils On Horseback (bacon-wrapped, almond-stuffed Medjool dates with goat cheese mousse, and mango blossom honey).
We also highly recommend her Fried Chicken (1/2-lb Joyce Farms tenderloins, hand battered and southern fried) and Chop Chop (a bowl of turmeric basmati rice, chopped jerk chicken, lettuce, tomato, cilantro, lime, and your choice of curry mustard or chipotle ranchero).
11. Pi-Squared Pizza (Italian)
1972 Haywood Rd • (828)693-0799 • Official Website
HOURS: Sun to Thu 1AM-9PM; Fri & Sat 11AM-10PM
After working in (and managing) several Italian restaurants to pay my way through college, I’ll admit I’ve become a bit of a snob when it comes to pizza.
So when we learned that Pi-Squared Pizza in Hendersonville offered “Detroit-style pizza, calzones, and subs,” I approached their menu with a mixture of curiosity and trepidation.
My first question was, “what is Detroit-style pizza?!” Dating back to the 1940s, the rectangular pizza features a thick, chewy crust, with toppings put on before a Sicilian sauce and Wisconsin brick cheese.
It was historically baked in steel trays designed for use as automotive drip pans.
Pi-Squared twists the Detroit tradition with a modern array of fascinating flavor combinations, including the Fig-et About It (EVOO, gorgonzola, honey, mission figs & red pepper flake) and Greektown (banana peppers, feta, dill, garlic, Kalamata olives, etc.).
But our favorite was the Chicken Pesto Pizza, which didn’t skimp on thick chunks of chicken, EVOO, mozzarella, mushrooms, pesto, and roasted red peppers. We also loved their Detroit-style Italian Sub and Arugula Salad (with candied pecans, craisins, and gorgonzola cheese).
12. Postero (Fine Dining)
401 N Main St, Hendersonville NC • (828)595-9676 • Official Website
HOURS: Lunch Wed to Sat 11:30AM-2:30PM; Dinner Tue to Thu 5PM-8:30PM, Fri & Sat 5PM-9:30PM; Closed Sundays
If you’re looking for the best food in Hendersonville NC, look no further than Postero, which specializes in globally influenced New American fine dining.
Their prices probably won’t appeal to those seeking budget-friendly foodie fare. But the bi-level dining room, elegant decor, and expert staff makes this one of the most romantic Hendersonville restaurants.
The design puts the focus of the dining room on the open kitchen, where Owner/Executive Chef Jason Reasoner and his team work their magic. You won’t regret paying their 3% Kitchen Fee, which is split among all kitchen staff.
We started our meal with the exceptional Charcuterie Plate pictured above, as well as the adobe-marinated Tuna Tostada, with tuna tartare, avocado, jalapeño aioli, apple, and crunchy radish served atop a crispy corn tortilla.
In terms of entrees, their most popular selections include The Steak (served with crispy duck fat Potato Terrine, Grilled Squash, and a Bourbon & Green Peppercorn Sauce) and Heritage Farms Pork Chop (served with Broccoli & White Cheddar Gratin, Cream & Butter Mashed Potato, and a Port Wine Cherry Barbecue Sauce).
But our favorite was the red wine-braised Beef Short Rib Cavatelli, which came with hand-rolled Ricotta Cavatelli, English Peas, and Black Pepper Ricotta. Our only regret was that we were too full to indulge in dessert, but we’ll definitely rectify that the next time we visit Hendersonville!
13. Shine (New American)
202 N Main St, Hendersonville NC • (828)692-0062 • Official Website
HOURS: Wed & Thu 3PM-10PM; Fri 3PM-11PM; Sat 11AM-11PM; Sun 11AM-10PM; Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
Another excellent place for romantic dining in Hendersonville, Shine is owned by North Carolina native Executive Chef Robert Rogers and his wife, Layla.
Together they oversaw a complete renovation of their historic building on Main St, complementing the original brick interior with warm wood booths and bars, windows that let in natural light, and mood-enhancing lighting.
With its full service bar, this is a trendy nightspot. If there’s any complaint to be made, it’s that the bar area can get crowded and noisy at time.
Thankfully the main dining room is quieter, but we recommend going after Happy Hour for the most intimate dining experience. There’s also a lovely rooftop patio that offers excellent views of downtown Hendersonville.
From buttery Escargot pastry with white wine and gruyere to the Crusty Hot Pretzel with warm pimento cheese and the Asian-style Pork Belly Bites with Szechuan peppercorn, every appetizer we tried was excellent.
In terms of entrees, we both loved the aptly-named “Big Ass Bowl of Mussels” (with a savory tomato saffron broth) and the Walnut & Spinach Ravioli, which includes chicken and feta in a sun-dried tomato pesto cream sauce.
But my favorite dish was the delicious Bulgogi, a Korean-style BBQ ribeye served with Jasmine Rice and Kimchi. Pro tip: Skip dessert and get one of their Shine Slushies, especially the one that tastes like Cheerwine for grownups!
14. Sierra Nevada Brewery Taproom (Gastropub)
100 Sierra Nevada Way, Mills River NC • (828)708-6242 • Official Website
Originally based in Chico CA, their state-of-the-art NC brewery opened in 2015.
This was the first production brewery ever to receive the Platinum certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
The menu at the Sierra Nevada Brewery Taproom is seasonal and designed to showcase local farmers, using the finest produce, poultry, meat, and cheeses Western North Carolina has to offer.
A lot of their veggies and herbs– including those used in their Audition Greens Salad and Beet & Citrus Salads– are grown on-site in their certified organic Kitchen Garden.
For entrees, check out their House Pizza (with soppressata, house Italian sausage, and mozzarella), Slow Roasted Pork Belly (with Porter baked beans, cornbread, and pickled okra), and 1/2-pound Farmhouse Burger (with Pale Ale jack cheese, caramelized onions, and roasted tomato mayo).
READ MORE: The 6 Best Boone NC Breweries & Brewpubs
15. Umi Sushi (Japanese & Thai)
633 N Main St • (828)698-8048 • Official Website
HOURS: Lunch Mon to Fri 11AM-3PM; Dinner Mon-Fri 4:30PM-9:30PM;
Open Sat & Sun 12PM-9:30PM
So finding a Japanese restaurant in Hendersonville with the same name was promising for me, as an avid sushi fanatic. Especially when we learned it had been voted one of the best restaurants in Hendersonville 12 years in a row!
Opened in 2006, Umi Sushi NC offers an expansive menu that includes traditional Japanese entrees, sushi, Bento boxes, and a limited selection of Thai dishes. It’s especially popular in the afternoon, when local office workers meet for lunch and drinks on the shaded outdoor patio.
At $11 to $13, their lunchtime Bento Box includes your choice of Tempura (chicken, shrimp or veggie), Teriyaki (shrimp, salmon, scallop, steak, or tofu), or Katsu (chicken or fish), plus a California Roll or Spring Roll, Bean Sprout Salad, and Pork Dumpling.
We also loved their sushi rolls, which at lunchtime are 2 for $10.50 or 3 for $14. Hungry after our tour of the Historic Johnson Farm, we opted for the latter, and greedily devoured our Salmon, Yellowtail, and Eel & Avocado Rolls.
Suffice it to say Umi ranked alongside Never Blue and Postero among our favorites of the downtown Hendersonville restaurants we visited. –by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted