And of course, wherever there are fresh fruits and vegetables being grown, there are likely to be great restaurants using those ingredients to create delightful meals.
Despite being a small town with a population of around 1,700 people, there’s no shortage of great Ellijay restaurants to choose from.
In fact, there are more than a dozen highly-rated restaurants located within short walking distance of the historic square in Downtown Ellijay.
Read on for our guide to the best restaurants in Ellijay GA for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with options ranging from cheap eats to fine dining.
Best Restaurants in Ellijay GA Guide
- Back Porch Bistro (Café)
- Bavarian Chocolatier (Sweets)
- Cantaberry Restaurant (American)
- The Chili Dog (American)
- Ellijay Coffeehouse (Café)
- Ellijay Wood Fired Pizza (Italian)
- Emily’s Bar & Restaurant (Fine Dining)
- Mr P’s Takeout Food (Southern)
- The Roof (Southern)
- The Shack of Ellijay (Asian Fusion)
1. Back Porch Bistro (Café)
10 North Side Square • 706-636-1111 • Official Website
The Back Porch Bistro is our favorite lunch restaurant in Ellijay, in part because they offer a spacious dog-friendly patio, with umbrellas for shade on hot summer days.
The bistro is located behind the Downtown Ellijay square, in back of TJ & Co Antiques. There are tables inside for dining on rainy days or rare days with snow, but the porch for which the Ellijay restaurant is named is really the place to be.
There are water bowls for dogs, well-spaced tables, and lots of charming folk art that provides splashes of eye-catching color.
The Back Porch Bistro menu is fairly simple, with a dozen sandwiches/paninis/wraps, a half-dozen salads, homemade soups (which change often), and sides like Potato Salad and Cowboy Caviar. There are a handful of vegetarian options as well.
We went with their Gyro sandwich and the soup/sandwich combo, pairing 1/2 a Hot Ham & Cheddar with Tortilla Soup. Both sandwiches were delicious, and the soup was really more like a hearty chili with tortilla chips sprinkled on top.
2. The Bavarian Chocolatier (Sweets)
4 North Side Square • 706-610-2010 • Official Website
Located right next to TJ & Co Antiques on the square, The Bavarian Chocolatier is THE place to embrace your sweet tooth in the town of Ellijay.
Ferst and his wife craft exquisite gourmet chocolates, fudge, German waffles, and an array of other sweet treats.
We skipped dessert after our lunch so we could sample an array of their most popular items, including Buckeyes, Pralines, Truffles (including Bananas Foster and Pumpkin), and an amazing Chocolate Gingerbread Fudge.
This is arguably among the best places in Ellijay for Christmas shopping, with tons of seasonal stocking stuffers.
3. Cantaberry Restaurant (American)
5 South Side Square • 706- 636-4663 • Official Website
The restaurant is owned by Chef Case Bruner and his wife Jessica, who moved to the area after Case earned his Culinary degree from Johnson and Wales University.
Still, the Cantaberry menu is surprisingly simple, focusing primarily on burgers, salads, sandwiches, and soups. But everything is impeccably crafted using fresh local ingredients.
Some of our favorite dishes include the Cantaberry Club, Cuban, Grilled Pesto Chicken Sandwich, Gouda Pimento Cheeseburger, and their homemade Soup of the Day.
They also offer some of the best patio dining in Ellijay, with excellent people-watching on the downtown square.
READ MORE: The 13 Best Restaurants in Blue Ridge GA
4. The Chili Dog (American)
962 Industrial Blvd • 706-635-4919 • Official Website
At 53 years it’s one of the oldest restaurants in Ellijay GA, and you get the sense that the decor and menu haven’t changed much in that time. But this is definitely a place where you shouldn’t judge the book by its cover!
The Chili Dog menu is classic American food, including burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and hand-dipped milkshakes (including Peanut Butter, Butterfinger, and Peach, using fruit from local farms).
Their all-beef hot dogs (which have no artificial fillers, colors, or flavors) and burgers are clearly the star of the show. But don’t sleep on their homemade biscuits, which make this one of our favorite places for breakfast in Ellijay.
5. Ellijay Coffeehouse (Café)
131 N Main St • 706- 635-5565 • Official Website
Speaking of breakfast, the Ellijay Coffeehouse is our favorite place for breakfast in the North Georgia mountains. But calling this place a mere coffee shop would be a disservice.
Yes, they have all the things a great coffee shop should, including a cool vibe, spacious lounge areas with books and games, an array of gourmet coffee and tea options, and fresh-baked sandwiches, pastries, and sweets.
But they also sell an excellent assortment of unusual items, ranging from artisan candles and retro action figures to collectible comic books, vinyl records, and more.
As far as the drink menu goes, they’ve got cold and hot coffee drinks, espressos, fruit smoothies, Italian sodas, and Chai, with lots of seasonal flavors. We loved the Honey Lavender Latte, the Honey Vanilla Latte, and the classic Café Mocha.
Their food menu rivals those of our favorite coffeehouses in mountain towns like Asheville and Dahlonega. Try the Appalachian Sunrise (bacon, egg, spinach, brie, and chipotle peach spread) or Cohutta Wilderness sandwich (Black Forest smoked ham, white cheddar, roasted garlic mushroom spread), with a Scone or Raspberry Jammer Cookie for sweetness.
READ MORE: The 15 Best Cabin Rentals in Ellijay GA
6. Ellijay Wood Fired Pizza (Italian)
2 River St • 706-707-4992 • Official Website
From the dough and sauce to the quantity/quality of the toppings, my expectations are especially high when I order a pie.
Ellijay Wood Fired Pizza (which is located on the Ellijay Square, right across the street from Cantaberry) exceeded those expectations. It’s not only the best pizza in Ellijay, but one of the best we’ve had in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
It starts with the hand-tossed, wood-fired crust, which has the perfect chewiness and char. The sauce is bold, but not too spicy. And the toppings (Pepperoni, Mild Sausage, and Peppadew peppers) were flavorful and plentiful.
The inside seating area is very small, with an authentic Italian deli counter. But the people-watching is fantastic, as is the aptly-billed “Best Meatball Parm in Gilmer County.
7. Emily’s Bar & Restaurant (Fine Dining)
24 River Street • 877-659-0517 • Official Website
If you visit Ellijay on a romantic getaway, Emily’s Bar & Restaurant is easily the best choice in town for romantic dinners.
They host an Open Mic night on Wednesdays, World Tour Thursdays (highlighting foods of different regions around the world), and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. There are also special events for Christmas and other holidays.
Inspired by travel and a passion for other cultures, their seasonal menu changes often. Our favorite dishes included the Skirt Steak with Chimichurri sauce, Emily’s Fish & Chips with Asian slaw and Ponzu sauce, and the Angus Beef Sliders.
They also have a full bar with award-winning wines and an excellent assortment of Craft Cocktails (try the Bacon Old Fashioned and Elder & Oak).
8. Mr. P’s Takeout Food (Southern)
295 N Main St • 706-635-4040 • Official Website
Originally owned by Bill Prouty, the restaurant is now run by his daughter, Kelly Bramlett. It’s more of a local hotspot than a trendy tourist place, serving up classic Southern food cooked fresh every day.
This is one of the best places to eat breakfast in Ellijay, with delicious (and affordable) homestyle biscuits and sandwiches. Intriguing topping options include Fried Spam, Bologna, Pork Tenderloin, and Pimento Cheese.
They’re famous for their Paradise Burger, which is topped with cheese, chili, and slaw, and best eaten with a fork.
But they also offer impressively tasty Corn Dogs, Chili Dogs, Fried Chicken, BBQ, and Brunswick Stew.
9. The Roof (Southern)
16 River Street • 706-635-7663 • Official Website
If a stunning scenic view figures into your opinion of the best places to eat in Ellijay, The Roof definitely has to be at the top of your list.
You can take in the jaw-dropping panoramas from their indoor and outdoor seating, with outdoor heaters, misters, and shade ensuring a comfortable dining experience at any time of year.
The menu offers upscale twists on traditional Southern favorites, from Fried Green Tomatoes and Shrimp Cakes to a hearty Blue Oyster Mushroom Ragu Meatloaf, Fresh Appalachian Trout, and delicious Shrimp & Grits.
10. The Shack of Ellijay (Asian Fusion)
118 N Main St • 706-635-3663 • Official Website
That’s precisely what makes the Shack of Ellijay such a surprising culinary treasure. Tucked away just off the square, the tiny Asian fusion restaurant offers big flavors that are unlike any other eatery in town.
The limited menu is dripping with diversity, with appetizers ranging from Vietnamese Shrimp Rolls and Thai Pot Stickers to Chinese Bao Buns with pork belly.
In terms of entrees, we highly recommend the Build Your Own Poke Bowls, Beef Pho (a vegetarian option is also available), and Ramen Char Sui Bacon. They also offer 6 different types of Bubble Tea to choose from.
Beloved by locals, this ranks right after Emily’s in terms of our favorite Ellijay restaurants. –by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted