Mount Airy is often called Mayberry because it inspired the small town setting of The Andy Griffith Show. But quite a lot has changed in the decades since Griffith left his hometown.
In addition to the Andy Griffith Museum, theater, and stores that make the town a major tourist draw, Downtown Mount Airy NC has grown considerably.
Many of the restaurants in “Mayberry NC” are great greasy spoons rooted in classic Americana, with traditional Southern Appalachian fare being slung around in old-timey diners.
But there are also modern Mt Airy NC restaurants that run the gamut of good eats, including fine dining, farm-to-table, and multiple sushi restaurants.
Slowly but surely, Mount Airy has grown into the biggest town in Surry County. The ever-expanding collection of awesome places to eat in Mt Airy NC is evidence that its culinary scene is growing as well.
We especially loved the Heart & Soul Bed and Breakfast, where we stayed during our recent visit. Their two-course breakfasts were so phenomenal, we couldn’t bear to eat anywhere else.
So read on for our guide to the best restaurants in Mt Airy NC and Surry County, including background on each business and our recommendations for the best dishes to eat there.
Best Restaurants in Mt Airy NC Guide
- Kazoku Sushi & Bar
- Mill Creek General Store
- Miss Angels Heavenly Pies
- Old North State
- Snappy Lunch
- The Loaded Goat
- Walker’s Soda Fountain
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1. Kazoku Sushi & Bar
121 Franklin St, Mount Airy NC • (336) 648-8700 • Official Website
HOURS: Tues to Fri 11AM-9PM; Sat Noon-9:30PM; Closed Sunday & Monday
In the running for our favorite Mt Airy restaurants, Kazoku Sushi & Bar is right off of Main Street, tucked away on quiet Franklin Street.
Our B&B hosts recommended it as the best place for sushi in town, so we stopped in on Saturday to try a couple of sushi rolls.
When we arrived right after opening, the place was already hopping! The line was soon winding out the door, and every table and counter had hungry guests anxious to eat.
We sat at the sushi bar and watched three chefs rolling up house specialties non-stop. Our rolls were all fantastic, and the service was friendly and attentive despite the bustling crowd.
In addition to sushi, the Kazoku menu features plenty of cooked Hibachi-style entrees with vegetables, seafood, chicken, and steak.
They also have a kids’ menu and, at the other end of the spectrum, a fun cocktail menu.
2. Mill Creek General Store
541 W Pine St, Mount Airy NC • (336) 755-2340 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon-Sat 9:30AM-6PM; Closed Sunday
When we first visited the Mill Creek General Store several years ago, it was still getting established. They had a tiny sandwich counter that barely registered among the various places to eat in Mount Airy.
But on our latest Mount Airy visit, the place had been completely transformed.
There’s a huge deli counter (which was voted Best Local Deli in 2018) offering made-to-order sandwiches, wraps, and salads. They also have an old fashioned soda fountain with handmade sodas.
The General Store has also grown to offer a lot more items, including healthy groceries, Amish-style furniture, and kitchen supplies.
This place is right on the way to Downtown Mount Airy and it’s really worth a stop, not only to eat, but also as a cool place to mill around for a while.
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3. Miss Angels Heavenly Pies
153 N Main St, Mount Airy NC • (336) 786-1537 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon to Thur 9AM– 5:30PM; Fri/Sat 9AM–7PM; Sun 10AM–4:30PM
Located on the Andy Griffith-centered end of Main Street, Miss Angels Heavenly Pies is a standout among the collection of nostalgic restaurants in Mount Airy.
For those with a sweet tooth, Miss Angels makes muffins, moonshine cookies, cakes, brownies, cupcakes, and dessert bars. She also runs the Hillbilly Creamery & Gluten-Free Baked Treats next door to the pie shop.
4. Old North State
308 N Main St, Mount Airy NC • (336) 789-9463 • Official Website
HOURS: Tues 11AM-3PM; Wed to Sat 11AM-9PM; Closed Sunday & Monday
The restaurant was recommended to us by several people as their #1 choice among the best places to eat in Mt Airy NC.
We had an amazing maitake mushroom entree with perfectly roasted potatoes, magical sauces, and tasty vegetables. They’re happy to accommodate dietary restrictions, so our vegan diet was no problem.
Make sure you try the house wine, which is made in the basement. We enjoyed it so much, we bought an extra bottle to take back to our B&B.
They also have a Chef’s Table experience and a Winemaker’s Table.
5. Snappy Lunch
125 N Main St, Mount Airy NC • (336) 786-4931 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon to Wed & Fri 6AM–1:45PM; Thu & Sat 6AM–1:15PM; Closed Sunday
With a nod from a single episode of The Andy Griffith Show, Snappy Lunch has achieved legend status in Mount Airy for tourists seeking retro-style places to eat.
Snappy Lunch has been in operation in the same Downtown location since 1923, but it has changed ownership a couple of times over the last century.
Charles Dowell, who started working at the diner in 1943, bought it 8 years later and became the sole proprietor in 1960.
The Snappy Lunch breakfast has biscuits made from scratch and eggs made to order. But the restaurant’s real claim to fame is Dowell’s World-Famous Pork Chop Sandwich, which is available at lunch.
Other popular dishes at Snappy Lunch include the Breaded Cheeseburger, Biscuits and Gravy, and Fried Bologna Sandwiches.
6. The Loaded Goat
247 City Hall St, Mount Airy NC • (336) 755-3627 • Official Website
HOURS: Sun/Mon 11AM-4PM; Wed to Sat 11AM-7PM; Closed Tuesday
Arguably the best of the hamburger restaurants in Mount Airy, North Carolina, The Loaded Goat also has good beer and a fun atmosphere.
The Loaded Goat name comes from an episode of The Andy Griffith Show in which a goat eats dynamite, and everyone is terrified of it blowing up.
We visited the restaurant on a previous trip to Mount Airy a few years back, and it has that down-home Americana feeling, with sports pendants and quirky decorations.
In addition to burgers, the Loaded Goat menu has classics like a Club Sandwich, Fried Green Tomato BLT, Fried Pickles, Potato Skins, and Fish & Chips.
In our experience, it’s also the best of the bars in Mt Airy NC for catching a daytime game!
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7. Walker’s Soda Fountain
175 N Main St, Mount Airy NC • (336) 786-4006 • Facebook Page
HOURS: Mon 11AM-4PM; Thu to Sat 11AM-5PM; Sun Noon-4PM; Closed Tue & Wed
The town of Mount Airy is riddled with throwback diners serving burgers, fries, and shakes. So Walker’s Soda Fountain isn’t all that unique in the grand scheme of things.
But for those seeking an old-school lunch counter, a jerked soda, or local ice cream, this spot gets the job done just fine. It’s full of memorabilia, antique diner equipment, and lots of Mayberry stuff.
Walker’s Soda Fountain (a reference to pharmacist Ellie Walker from the TV show) is part of a line of Andy Griffith-themed shops, such as Opie’s Candy Store and Floyd’s Barber Shop.
We arrived in Mount Airy early, so we made our way over to Main Street for some French fries and a handmade soda before visiting The Andy Griffith Museum.
Walker’s Soda Fountain is a family-owned place, and the whole family was working the day we stopped in.
It’s a Mt Airy restaurant that’s built more on atmosphere than sophisticated culinary prowess. But sometimes hot, tasty crinkle-cut fries and a sweet soda are just what you’re after! –Jonathon Engels; all photos by Emma Gallagher