[Updated Jan 19, 2021]
During our 2009 visit to Blue Ridge, Georgia, restaurants were not really among the small town’s major selling points.
Sure, there were a few decent places to eat in Blue Ridge back then, but none were especially worthy of note. The only one I remember fondly– a New Orleans eatery on West Main St– went the way of the dodo just a few years later.
After long days of hiking in Vogel State Park, horseback riding, and browsing the shops in Downtown Blue Ridge, we usually just opted to go back and make dinner in our cabin.
Fortunately, with the arrival of James Beard Award-nominated chef Danny Mellman, the Blue Ridge restaurant scene began earning the town regional and even national acclaim.
Now, ten years later, there are tons of great places to dine. Blue Ridge, Georgia restaurants run the gamut from traditional and contemporary Southern cuisine to upscale Mediterranean and Asian and Mexican street food fare.
Here’s a look at our personal picks for the the 10 best restaurants in Blue Ridge GA, including Mellman’s Harvest On Main and Masseria Kitchen & Bar, Black Sheep, Mona Lisa’s Dessert House, South of North, Southern Charm, and more!
The Best Restaurants in Blue Ridge GA
- Black Sheep Restaurant (New American)
- Danielle’s Cafe (French)
- Hansen’s Grill (Danish/American)
- Harvest On Main (Upscale Southern)
- Las 2 Huastecas (Mexican)
- Mazzeria Kitchen & Bar (Mediterranean)
- Mercier Orchards Cafe (Southern)
- Mona Lisa’s Dessert House (Dessert/Wine Bar)
- The Rum Cake Lady (Cuban)
- South of North (Asian Fusion)
- Southern Charm Restaurant (Southern)
- The Sweet Shoppe of the South (Bakery)
- Toccoa Riverside Restaurant (American)
Black Sheep Restaurant (New American)
480 W Main St • 706-946-3663 • $$$
One of our favorite places to eat in Blue Ridge GA, Black Sheep Restaurant is located inside the historic home of Colonel William Butt, a former Blue Ridge mayor and Georgia State legislator.
Colonel Butt and his wife, Fanny, were early 20th century socialites who frequently hosted gatherings attended by their friend, Gone With the Wind author Margaret Mitchell.
Their home, built circa 1914, has been lovingly restored into the most romantic of the Blue Ridge restaurants we’ve visited. The interior decor is stylish and tasteful, the lighting moody and serene, with the small rooms lending an intimate air to every alcove.
There’s also an expansive covered patio under a 200-year-old oak tree, replete with fire pits, on outdoor raw bar, and craft cocktails, with classic New Orleans jazz providing the soundtrack. It’s a great place to savor what’s widely regarded as the Best Brunch in Blue Ridge.
As for the menu, every dish (and cocktail) we sampled was exquisite. Start with the decadent Pork Belly with maple bourbon glaze, or perhaps the Lamb Lollipop Chops, or savory Brussels Sprouts with Applewood Bacon. You literally can’t go wrong with any of their appetizers.
Our favorite entrees include Jumbo Lump Crab Cake with remoulade and pepper jelly; the sumptuous Black Sheep Meatloaf (two meats, four cheeses); and Rack of Lamb with red wine demiglaze and gorgonzola cream. They also have desserts, but we were too stuffed to try them!
Danielle’s Cafe (French)
611 E Main St • 706-632-3094 • $$
In the heart of downtown, you’ll find one of the oldest Blue Ridge GA restaurants, Danielle’s Cafe.
Opened by Paris-trained chef Danielle Coste in 2005, this popular Blue Ridge brunch spot also boasts a big outdoor patio. You’ll want to get there early on weekends in peak season if you want to avoid a lengthy wait.
Inside, the colorful decor and menu are provincial French, with a variety of different quiches and crepes to choose from. The Ham and Spinach Quiche and both gooey with gruyere, and served with your choice of soup or salad.
They offer an extrensive array of sandwiches, from Bratwurst and Italian Heros to Pressed Cubans and Tuna Salad. But we recommend the Croque-Monsieur, grilled to perfection with ham and gruyere, or Danielle’s Roast Beef Sandwich on fresh sourdough.
Whatever you do, DO NOT LEAVE without trying one of Danielle’s decadent dessert crepes. They’re available in 7 flavors, all topped with whipped cream. Our favorite are the Caramel Crepes topped with homemade French Toast ice cream.
The restaurant, best known for its brunch and luch menu, introduced a new dinner menu earlier this year. It features French classics such as Escargots and Coq Au Vin, but we haven’t had a chance to sample the new items yet.
Hansen’s Grill (European/American Fusion)
560 E Main St • 423-761-0261 • $$
One of the most popular Downtown Blue Ridge restaurants, Hansen’s Grill was recommended to us by locals as one of the best places to eat breakfast in Blue Ridge.
Though the owners are Danish and the chef has experience in Denmark and the Caribbean, it’s a fairly traditional breakfast menu, with 3 different kinds of Eggs Benedict (Bacon, Salmon, or Shrimp Cake), Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast, etc.
For us, the broader variety of their lunch menu ultimately proved more satisfying. We especially enjoyed the European options, such as the Nordic Smoked Salmon Dip and the Sundried Tomato Hummus with Falafel Chips.
As far as entrees go, I’d highly reccomend the Smørrebrød (a Scandinavian open-faced sandwich topped with loads of veggies and meats) and Wienerschnitzel (a thin, breaded, pan-fried veal cutlet). But they also have American fare such as burgers, wings, and numerous seafood options.
Though we do consider Hansen’s one of the best places to eat in Blue Ridge, GA, their downtown location means they’re almost always busy. So get there early or order takeout if you want to avoid a potentially lengthy wait!
READ MORE: The Best Things to Do in Blue RIdge, GA
Harvest on Main (Upscale Southern)
576 E Main St • 706-946-6164 • $$$
Topping our list of best restaurants in Blue Ridge GA, Harvest On Main offers upscale Southern cuisine from James Beard Award-nominated chef Danny Mellman.
Under their Lit’l Pond Hospitality Group umbrella, Mellman and partner Michelle Moran have launched some of the best restaurants in North GA (including two featured on this list) since relocating to Blue Ridge from Florida in 2009.
With its riverstone steps, massive wooden beams, Elk and Deer antlers, and fishing/hunting decor, the restaurant’s interior feels like a classy, cozy Blue Ridge mountain lodge. Natural wood and nature art provide tasteful accents, and the huge stone heart fireplace sets a romantic mood.
But it’s the food that makes Harvest On Main our favorite Blue Ridge restaurant. The seasonal Farm to Table menu features many ingredients from The Cook’s Farm (which Mellman & Moran own), including fresh eggs, honey, produce, wild game, and more.
Every dish we tried here was exquisite. But we’d definitely recommend the remarkably fluffy and peppery Wild Caught Gulf Shrimp & Grits, the Locally Farmed Rainbow Trout, “3 Pork” Collard Greens (sweetened with molasses!), and Blueberry Bread Pudding.
Las 2 Huastecas (Mexican)
4114 E 1st St • 706-632-2121 • $
If you want to find the best places to eat in any town, just ask a great server for their favorite local restaurant recommendations.
It was through our Harvest On Main server that we discovered Las 2 Huastecas, a Mexican store in a strip shopping center just outside Downtown Blue Ridge.
You wouldn’t recognize it as one of the best restaurants in Blue Ridge from the nondescript outside. But the street-style tacos and “Especial” delights you’ll find inside tell a different story.
Owner Angelina Hernandez and her family build every delectable dish on a simple platform of perfectly prepared meats. From Azada (steak) and Carnitas (exquisitely seasoned pork) to Chorizo (pork sausage) and Lengua (beef tongue, our favorite), all are equally delightful.
On the advice of our HOM server we went straight for the Tacos– two with a side of rice and beans are just $4.50! It was easily our best lunch in Blue Ridge, and convinced us this is a place we will frequent EVERY time we come to town.
Masseria Kitchen & Bar (Mediterranean)
67 Roberts Way • 706-946-1511 • $$
Masseria Kitchen & Bar is one of the four Blue Ridge restaurants owned by Danny Mellman and Michelle Moran, the partners behind Harvest on Main, Cucina Rustica, and Blue Smoke BBQ.
As a pizza snob who paid my way through college working as a chef/manager of various Italian restaurants in Atlanta, Masseria’s chic Mediterranean vibe really impressed me.
Striking a stark contrast from the Southern cuisine and decor that dominates the Blue Ridge foodie scene, the stylish interior includes a gorgeous bar, refined tile, and a laid-back atmosphere that welcomes you to kick back, relax, and chill for a while.
The food, while complete different, easily rivals Harvest On Main in terms of quality. Hearty starters such as Hummus with harissa oil and focaccia and Zucchini Feta Bruschetta were bursting with flavor, providing a zing perfectly complemented by their mixed citrus Sangria.
Their pastas– from a vegetarian-friendly Baked Lasagna to the Pasta of the Day special– are scrumptious. But the Bianco Pizza, with a garlic oil base topped with confit garlic, homemade sausage, ricotta, and roasted kale, was a knockout that ensured we’ll be back for more soon.
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Mercier Orchards Cafe (Southern)
260 West Main St • 706-946-3411 • $$
Though it’s temporarily closed due to COVID-related issues, this is one of those Blue Ridge, Georgia restaurants that deserves a return visit after things finally return to normal.
Founded by Bill & Adele Mercier is 1943, Mercier Orchards has long been one of the most popular Blue Ridge attractions. This downtown cafe opened in 2018 in what was formerly the Fannin County Bank, with a private tasting room located inside the old vault.
Though best known for their Southern-style breakfast, we really enjoy our lunch there. The menu focuses on somewhat standard soups, salads, and sandwiches, but there are a few standouts that are certainly worthy of note.
Their Pecan Chicken Salad mixes GA pecans with a dash of curry, and their Jalapeño Pimento Cheese boasts corn relish and a spicy kick. In terms of sandwiches, the Apple Brie Panini is a must-try, with thin apple slices, creamy brie, and apple butter on cranberry walnut bread.
Other standouts include an insanely decadent Apple Cinammon Bread (with Crimson Crisp, Fuji, and Pink Lady apples), numerous Hard Ciders, and the addictive Apple Cider Donut holes that they bring to every table. We ended up buying a dozen donuts to take home!
Mona Lisa’s Dessert House (Dessert/Wine Bar)
116 W Main St #1A • 706-946-4040 • $$
If you’re looking for a place to chill after a long day of exploring all the hiking trails, waterfalls, and other outdoor attractions Blue Ridge has to offer, look no further than Mona Lisa’s Dessert House.
The family-run restaurant boasts a sleek, sophisticated interior design (by the owner’s uncle) so upscale, ATL residents might think they’re in Buckhead or Johns Creek. From the muted color palette and impressive art to hip music, it sets a mellow mood that makes you want to linger.
Of all the restaurants in Blue Ridge, Georgia, this one has the most decadent desserts. From tangy Key Lime Pie and rich Bourbon Caramel Spice Cake to 6 flavors of “Royal Jacqueline Shakes” (named after the family matriarch), this is THE place to indulge your sweet tooth.
But this family-friendly dessert house pulls double duty as a swanky wine bar, with an array of sweet “Rimmed Wines” to choose from.
We tried “The Orchard,” a delightful Moscato rimmed with artfully dripped caramel, and found it a great way to get the blood sugar going after a long day on the trail.
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Rum Cake Lady Cuban Cafe (Cuban)
205 W. First Street • 706-946-4525
The thing we love most about the Blue Ridge restaurant scene is its sheer diversity, which really separates it from most North Georgia mountain towns we’ve visited.
The Rum Cake Lady, launched by Liz Correa in 2014, is a perfect example, offering up traditional Cuban cuisine in a fast casual atmosphere just outside downtown Blue Ridge.
Correa isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel here: Her take on classic Cuban comfort food such as Guava & Cheese Pastelitos, Empanadas, Pork and Spicy Chicken Tamales, and Cuban Sandwiches is as traditional as it gets.
But the family-run restaurant’s welcoming atmosphere, congenial staff, and consistency of quality and flavor makes it an excellent lunch spot.
Make sure you try Correa’s killer Papa Rellena, a fried ball of mashed potato stuffed with savory beef spiced with cumin, oregano, pepper, and other seasonings. And you simply MUST try her range of Rum Cakes, one of the best desserts in Blue Ridge!
READ MORE: Review of the Rum Cake Lady Cuban Cafe
South of North (Asian Fusion)
257 E Main St, Suite A • 706-946-5560 • $$
If you’re looking for Blue Ridge food that avoids the Southern stereotypes completely, check out the refreshingly inventive Asian fusion of South of North.
Located in the Downtown Blue Ridge Art District, the restaurant offers a chef-driven take on traditional Vietnamese dishes, including Banh Mi, Bun Bowls, Pho, and more.
In our experience, you literally can’t go wrong with anything on the menu here. But for starters we’d recommend the Blistered Edamame, the Vietnamese Meatball Lettuce Wraps, and Pot Stickers filled with filet mignon, pork belly, and herbs.
In terms of entrees, the Vietnamese Noodle Soup had a fine bone broth, but really needed some spicy red pepper sauce for flavor.
But their Sticky Pork Belly “Naan Mi” (Banh Mi on Indian bread) was bursting with flavors, including cilantro, jalapeño, and pickled veggies. And their Bún Bowl with Tandoori Chicken, herbs, roasted cashews, etc was one of the best Asian dishes we’ve tasted. We’ll be back!
Southern Charm Restaurant (Southern)
224 W Main St • 706-632-9090 • $$
It doesn’t take a genius to surmise what you can expect from the aptly-named Southern Charm Restaurant, whose sunny yellow exterior and screened-in patios provide additional clues.
From the good old-fashioned smells of fried food wafting out from the kitchen to the sweeter-than-Georgia-tea disposition with which you’re greeted at the door, entering this place is sure to feel like a warm-welcomed homecoming for anyone who grew up in the Deep South.
Though some of the newer Blue Ridge restaurants may lure city-folk with their fanciful flair, this family-owned place is all about Southern hospitality. And it’s served up with heaping plates of fresh Buttermilk Biscuits with apple butter and lots of Fried Green Tomato dishes.
Vegetarians will find numerous dishes to choose from, including 4 salads and a classic veggie plate. Those trying to avoid fried foods may have a tougher time, especially when Fried Chicken, Country Fried Steak, and Fried Catfish and Shrimp are their most beloved dishes.
My advice? Spend a day hiking in the North Georgia mountains, have a light lunch, and loosen your belt a notch before you visit. And make sure you save some room for dessert, because their Caramel Bread Pudding is absolutely to die for!
The Sweet Shoppe of the South
721 E Main St • 706-632-6886
Widely regarded as the best bakery in Blue Ridge, the Sweet Shoppe of the South has been a beloved staple for 10 years now.
But the shop’s profile was elevated to national level in 2015, when co-owners Susan Catron and Nikki Kaylor won Season 6 of the Food Network reality show, Cupcake Wars.
Entering their relatively new location feels like exploring a mini-Willy Wonka factory for grown-ups. Sweet treats are everywhere, from Apple Fritters and Caramel Apples to Blondies, Brownies, Cheese Danish, Cookies and more.
Of course the cupcakes are the most famous attraction here. Their rotating lineup features fantastic flavors such as French Toast & Bacon, Boston Cream Pie, and Miss Scarlett alongside more traditional types like Oreo and Triple Chocolate.
If you get a chance, try their Peanut Butter & Jelly Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting. It’s the scrumptious recipe that sealed their win on Cupcake Wars!
Toccoa Riverside Restaurant
8055 Aska Rd • 706-632-7891
A read of Yelp reviews reveals the Toccoa Riverside Restaurant as a love-it-or-hate-it kinda place. Complaints range from a raging manager and indifferent staff to long waits and cold food.
During our recent visit (which was anonymous), we didn’t experience any of the above. But we went during lunch on a slow weekday, so maybe timing is everything here?
Whereas other Blue Ridge restaurants on this list are all about culinary quality and ambiance, Toccoa Riverside is all about location. The mountain lodge building sits on a gorgeous stretch of the river, with loads of indoor and outdoor seating taking full advantage of the incredible views.
We focused on their “Award-Winning Seafood,” including a delicious Smoked Fish Dip and delicately Fried Calamari with marinara for starters. My Smoked Trout Pasta with linguini and veggies was good, but Mary’s Pecan-Crusted Trout with sweet butter was the standout dish.
My advice? Visit during off hours, or do what we did and call in a pickup order and have a picnic in their amazing lounge area, at a table mere steps from the Toccoa River! –by Bret Love; photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN BLUE RIDGE, GA
Blue Ridge Inn Bed and Breakfast – Historic boutique inn w/ fantastic breakfast in downtown.
The Orchard Cabin – 8.1 miles from center, pet-friendly, hot tub, 2 bdrms/2 bths • 1335 ft²
Lazy Bear Den Cabin – 4.3 miles from center, pet-friendly, hot tub, 2 bdrms/1 bth • 1055 ft²
Cozy View Cabin – 3.1 miles from center, sunset view from hot tub, 1 king bed/1 bth • sleeps 3
Red Apple Cabin – 4.9 miles from center, mountain views, hot tub, 3 bdrms/3 bths • 2099 ft²