Located just 10 miles south of Boone, the tiny mountain town of Blowing Rock (population 1,163) is one of the most tourist-friendly towns in the Blue Ridge region of North Carolina.
The town is home to major attractions such as the Blowing Rock, Mystery Hill, and Tweetsie Railroad.
And its proximity to the Blue Ridge Parkway makes it easy to take day trips to Julian Price Memorial Park, Moses H. Cone Memorial Park, Grandfather Mountain State Park, and the Rough Ridge Trail overlooking the Linn Cove Viaduct.
So naturally there are an abundance of great restaurants in Blowing Rock to choose from, running the gamut from casual Southern and pizza restaurants to gastropubs and gourmet fine dining.
Read on for our guide to the best Blowing Rock restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, including longtime favorites such as The Best Cellar, Storie Street Grille, and Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Blowing Rock NC
Best Restaurants in Blowing Rock NC Guide
- Best Cellar (Fine Dining)
- Blowing Rock Market (Deli)
- Flavia’s (Bakery)
- Hellbender Bed & Beverage (Gastropub)
- Mellow Mushroom (Pizza)
- Moon Thai Sushi (Japanese/Thai)
- The Penny Path Cafe (Crepes)
- The Speckled Trout Restaurant (Southern)
- Storie Street Grille (New American)
- Timberlake’s Restaurant and Headwaters Pub (New American)
1. The Best Cellar (Fine Dining)
203 Sunset Drive • 828-295-3466 • Official Website
HOURS: Thu to Mon 5PM- ??; Closed Tue & Wed
Originally established in 1975, The Best Cellar is one of the oldest restaurants in Blowing Rock.
The name is derived from the fact that the original owners opened the restaurant in a basement on Main Street, in which they sold books (i.e. best sellers) as well as soups, sandwiches, and the like.
New owners eventually relocated the restaurant to the Inn at Ragged Gardens, and changed the food from light lunch fare to gourmet meat and seafood, fine wine, and fresh bread and desserts baked daily.
The romantic Inn’s wood-and-stone interior design makes this one of the most intimate restaurants in Blowing Rock, with warm lighting and the use of cell phones at the table strongly discouraged.
The menu is loaded with classic, classy dishes such as Oysters Rockefeller, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Maine Lobster Bisque, and Mediterranean Beet & Goat Cheese Salad.
But what these appetizers lack in culinary ingenuity, they more than make up for with perfect preparation and seasoning.
Entrees range from Southern selections like North Carolina Mountain Trout Picatta and Parmesan-crusted Buttermilk Chicken to New Zealand Rack of Lamb and Certified Angus Filet Mignon au Poivre.
Their heavenly desserts vary from day to day, but are uniformly decadent and delicious.
Their prices are admittedly a bit on the spendy side. But if you’re celebrating a special event in Blowing Rock, this place makes a great impression.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Restaurants in Boone NC
2. Blowing Rock Market (Deli)
990 Main St • 828-414-9322 • Official Website
HOURS: Sun to Thu 8AM-8PM; Fri & Sat 8AM-10PM
It may seem a little odd to include a place that isn’t really a restaurant at all in a story on the best restaurants in Blowing Rock.
But the Blowing Rock Market serves an essential purpose as the best place to grab sandwiches, snacks, and other picnic essentials before heading out for to explore the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Their deli opens at 8AM daily, and they’re located just two miles from the world-renowned scenic route.
Blowing Rock is near many of our favorite Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks and hiking trails, including Thunder Hill and Rough Ridge.
Major attractions such as Price Lake, Grandfather Mountain State Park, and the Linville Gorge are AMAZING places for a picnic lunch, offering some of NC’s most incredible views.
The deli offers an excellent array of gourmet salads and sandwiches to choose from.
Our faves were the Blue Ridge Sandwich (smoked turkey, Virginia ham, dill havarti, onion roll), Parkway Picnic (smoked turkey, cream cheese, cucumber, bagel), and David’s Special (roast beef, cheddar, horseradish sauce, onion roll).
The Blowing Rock Market features an array of locally made snacks, including Roots & Branches Crackers, Chapel Hill Toffee, French Broad Chocolate, Poppy’s Popcorn, Ritchie Hill Cheese Straws, desserts from Stickboy Kitchen, and even Cheerwine slushies in the summer.
They offer a tasty Blowing Rock breakfast, including meat/egg/cheese biscuits, bagels, and croissants, and Hatchett Coffee (out of Boone NC).
This is also a great place to get local craft beers from Blowing Rock Brewing, Lost Province, Booneshine, Kettle Brewing Company, and Appalachian Mountain Brewing.
READ MORE: The 10 Best Lakes in the North Carolina Mountains to Visit
3. Flavia’s (Bakery)
1179 Main St • 828-781-3272 • Official Website
HOURS: Varies (Call for Info)
Located in the SouthMarke Shopping Mall on Blowing Rock’s Main Street, the family-owned Flavia’s Bakery is a tiny shop whose diminutive size belies the fantastic flavors you’ll find within.
Their original patisserie is in Hickory NC, but the Blowing Rock bakery boasts the same sumptuous array of gourmet European desserts, all made fresh from scratch.
Their sweet selections range from cream puffs, eclairs, and macarons to a wide variety of cakes and cheesecakes (including key lime, oreo, and pecan pie cheesecake).
You can also find uncommon European delights such as Dobos, a Hungarian dessert that’s layered with chocolate mousse, sponge cake, orange zest, and ganache.
Every pastry we tasted was sheer perfection, bursting with fantastic flavors. It’s the kind of charming little place you’ll want to go back to over and over, just to try things you’ve never sampled before.
Unfortunately Flavia’s closes during the off-season, but that just builds anticipation for their return once the spring flowers begin to bloom!
READ MORE: Festive Fun at Tweetsie Railroad in Blowing Rock NC
4. Hellbender Bed & Beverage (Gastropub)
239 Sunset Dr • 828-295-3487 • Official Website
HOURS: Daily Noon-8PM
If you’re looking for a laid-back place to grab a tasty meal, a strong adult beverage, and a patio seat perfect for people-watching, Hellbender Bed & Beverage is the place.
As its name would seem to indicate, Hellbender is a unique bed & breakfast, bar, and restaurant combo. There are 8 rooms upstairs, with a bar and dining room downstairs.
But when the weather’s warm, the outdoor patio is really the place to be. Pro tip: Get there early if you want to get an umbrella-shaded table.
The Hellbender menu offers a mix of soulful southern and upscale gastropub fare. Starters include Bavarian-style pretzels, scrumptious NC Trout Dip, and Chick Pea Hummus (made with olive oil from Georgia).
In terms of entrees, we highly recommend the BBQ Plate (pulled pork, slaw, and two sides) and the vegetarian-friendly Collard Green Melt (to which you can also add bacon for $2).
But my personal favorite was the hearty Beef Tenderloin Sandwich, which is topped with sweet peppers, marinated mushrooms, and black garlic aioli.
They also have killer sides (try the Sweet Potato Fries and Mac & Beer Cheese), and a nice variety of cocktails, craft beer, wine, and whiskey flights.
READ MORE: The 6 Best Boone NC Breweries & Brewpubs (with Map)
5. Mellow Mushroom (Pizza)
946 Main St • 828-295-3399 • Official Website
HOURS: Daily 11AM-9PM
I’m biased on this one: I paid for college by delivering pizza at a Mellow Mushroom offshoot in Atlanta, and later managed one of the oldest Mellow Mushroom locations in my native city.
The first Mellow Mushroom location opened in ATL in 1974, and by the 1990s Mellow Mushroom was Georgia’s largest homegrown pizza chain. They’ve always used high quality ingredients and had a unique retro vibe to their restaurants.
Their funky style made them a perfect fit for hip mountain towns like Asheville and Blowing Rock, where they opened on Main Street back in 2001.
Their hand-tossed, stone-baked pizzas are obviously the star attraction on the menu, including personal favorites such as the Backyard BBQ, Kosmic Karma, and the House Special.
But we also love their sandwiches (especially the classic Steak & Cheese, Italian, and Meatball subs), pretzels, and salads, and their twice-baked wings have grown increasingly popular in recent years.
In our opinion, this place has the best pizza in Blowing Rock NC.
READ MORE: The 20 Best Downtown Asheville Restaurants for Foodies
6. Moon Thai Sushi (Japanese/Thai)
7179 Valley Blvd • 828-414-9905 • Official Website
HOURS: Lunch Wed to Mon 11:30AM-3PM; Dinner Wed to Mon 4:30PM to 9PM; Closed Tuesdays
Anyone who knows me well knows that I am something of a sushi fanatic. So I was delighted to discover a solid sushi restaurant in Blowing Rock, less than a mile from our room at the Meadowbrook Inn.
Located on Valley Blvd near Blue Ridge Parkway milepost 290, Moon Thai is the only Asian restaurant in Blowing Rock. So the menu offers a great mixture of Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Vietnamese cuisine.
The appetizers are fairly diverse, from the ever-popular Crab Rangoon, Fried Calamari, and Pork Gyoza to intriguing items like Duck Wontons, Shrimp Shumai (a dim sum favorite), and Soft Shell Crab Buns.
In terms of entrees, the menu features an expansive assortment of Asian classics, from Masaman Curry and Thai Fried Rice to Pad Kee Mao (a.k.a. Drunken Noodles), Pad Thai, and Pho.
But we went straight for the sushi bar, where traditional maki such as the Black Dragon and Rainbow Roll are augmented by unique offerings.
We loved the Captain Crunch Roll (tuna, salmon, cucumber, avocado topped with snapper tempura & eel sauce) and Friend With Benefits (salmon, yellowtail, escolar, wakame topped with tuna and avocado).
In fact, the only thing we didn’t love was their tiny outdoor patio, which was full early on a weekday evening.
READ MORE: Things to Do at Moses H. Cone Memorial Park Near Blowing Rock NC
7. The Penny Path Cafe (Crepes)
278 Shoppes on the Parkway Rd #35 • 828-372-7020 • Official Website
HOURS: Daily 10AM-7PM
Located in the Tanger Outlets shopping center, the Penny Path Café is an amazing little crepe shop that brought back fond memories of my time performing improv comedy in Atlanta.
The theater where I worked had a crepe-maker who set up shop on the patio. Every time I went to work, I’d have a savory crepe for dinner, then a sweet crepe (usually with Nutella and Banana) for dessert.
The Penny Path is much larger, with a cool interior design (including a literal path made of shiny pennies), an awesome outdoor patio, and a menu that features more than two dozen crepes to choose from.
The budget-friendly place offers HUGE portions, despite the fact that most items are under $10.
We couldn’t even finish our entrees, which included a Pesto Crepe (with ham or turkey, pesto, roasted peppers, and cheese) and yummy Brie Crepe (with cheese, red pepper jelly, and roasted walnuts).
But that was partly because we wanted to save room for our massive dessert, the Bananas Foster Crepe.
It includes bananas coated in almond flour and cinnamon, cooked in butter and honey, then flambéed with spiced rum and served atop a crepe with powdered sugar and vanilla ice cream.
It was arguably the most delicious dessert we had in Blowing Rock, from a great little family-owned restaurant we definitely look forward to revisiting!
READ MORE: The Top 25 Blue Ridge Mountain Towns in GA & NC
8. The Speckled Trout Restaurant & Bottle Shop (Southern)
922 Main St • 828-295-9819 • Official Website
HOURS: Lunch Thu to Mon 11AM-3PM; Dinner Mon/Thu/Sun 5PM-9PM, Fri/Sat 5PM-10PM; Closed Tue/Wed
The Speckled Trout is an iconic Blowing Rock landmark dating back to the 1950s. But it was originally best known as a gas station before reopening in 2017 with a new menu, staff, kitchen, etc.
Now it’s a combination of farm-to-table restaurant, bar, and bottle shop, with a mission to “explore the roots of Appalachian food and beverage culture, and recreate it in our kitchen by preserving and reviving ingredients of our local heritage.”
The Speckled Trout’s food and beverage program both take pride in their Western NC roots, using fresh ingredients from local farms and “home-grown” beers from local breweries.
The food menu runs the gamut from classic Southern dishes (see: Fiddlers Biscuits, Hoe Cakes, Chicken & Dumplings) to forward-thinking fusions (see: Southern Fried Duck Confit, Roasted Wild Mushrooms with Ravioli, High Country Galletta with grilled beets, gouda, apples, and more).
The craft cocktail menu is equally tantalizing, including unique innovations like Grandma’s Ginger Highball (Wheat beer, domaine de canton, lime juice, orange cherry syrup) and Biscoff Or Bust (Biscoff cookie bourbon, angostura bitters, spiced honey syrup).
With their spacious outdoor patio and prime location at the corner of Main St and Hwy 221, it’s one of the best restaurants in Blowing Rock to grab a drink and a bite after a long day of exploring the nearby hiking trails.
READ MORE: 30 Fun Facts About North Carolina State History & Culture
9. Storie Street Grille (Mediterranean/American)
1167 Main St • 828-295-7075 • Official Website
HOURS: Tue 5:00PM-8:30PM; Wed/Thu 11:30AM-8:30PM; Fri/Sat 11:30AM-9:00PM; Closed Sun/Mon
The Storie Street Grille may not be the fanciest or the most trendy restaurant in Blowing Rock.
But the family-owned eatery has been around for 20+ years now, and– after our recent visit– we can only assume that the delicious food is what keeps locals and visitors alike coming back for more.
The restaurant was purchased from the original owners by Lela and Aaron Silver in 2018, with Aaron serving as Executive Chef for two years before the Keeles retired.
His Mediterranean-inspired menu offers a welcome break from the traditional Southern fare that tends to dominate the Blowing Rock restaurant scene.
Appetizers such as rice flour-battered Calamari (with piquillo pepper tarter sauce), Baba Ghanoush, and Fig & Balsamic Flatbread (with roasted red pepper, goat cheese, pancetta, and arugula) are simply fantastic.
Even classic entrees like pecan-crusted NC Trout and Italian Shrimp & Grits taste unique in Silver’s skilled hands.
He adds parmesan polenta and a lemon caper beurre blanc to the former, and sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, roasted garlic, and white wine to the latter, leading to a revelatory flash of flavors.
The restaurant also has a creative craft cocktail menu, and a sensational selection of fine wines, making Storie Street Grille one of our favorite date night places to eat in Blowing Rock.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Things to Do in Banner Elk NC
10. Timberlake’s Restaurant (New American)
Chetola Resort, 185 Chetola Lake Dr • 828-295-5505 • Official Website
HOURS: Breakfast Daily 7:30AM-10:30AM; Lunch/Dinner Sun to Thu Noon-9PM, Fri/Sat Noon-10PM
We don’t normally mention other websites in our restaurant reviews.
But the fact that Timberlake’s Restaurant only has 4.3 stars (out of 5) on Google and 4.0 on TripAdvisor is so radically different from our personal experience, it’s difficult to imagine how anyone would not consider this one of the very best of the Blowing Rock restaurants.
Part of Chetola Resort, Timberlake’s Restaurant opened in 2012 in the Manor House of former owner J. Luther Snyder, who was known as “the Coca Cola King of the Carolinas.”
Their menu was inspired by local artist Bob Timberlake, with meats and veggies largely sourced from farms in the North Carolina mountains.
We had 6-7 meals there during our stay at Chetola, and each one was superb. Breakfast favorites included Country Eggs Benedict (with smoked salmon or country ham), a hearty Breakfast Burrito (with chorizo, spinach, pepper jack cheese & more), and Chicken & Biscuits (served with a tasty white pepper gravy).
Lunch options included Barbacoa Short Ribs Tacos (with chipotle aioli), the “Rambling Poppy” Burger (made with 8 oz of Prime Brisket), and excellent beer-battered Fish & Chips (served with Cajun Remoulade).
But the romantic dinners we shared at Timberlake’s were our favorite.
From appetizers like Ahi Tuna Nachos and Roasted Beet Salad to entrees such as Fossil Farms Elk Short Loin and Pumpkin Seed-crusted NC Trout, Chef Matt Rivers and team proved their restaurant one of the best places to eat in Blowing Rock. –by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted