The 14 Best Restaurants in Waynesville NC for Foodies

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[Updated January 13, 2023]

We’ve explored 40-50 of small towns in North Carolina over the last few years, from tiny burghs like Bryson City and Little Switzerland to major tourism hotspots like Blowing Rock, Boone, and Cherokee

But none of these mountain towns has had more personal relevance for me than Waynesville NC.

Located halfway between Cherokee and Asheville, the town was founded in 1809 by my great (X4) grand-uncle, Colonel Robert Love.

Waynesville was named after “Mad Anthony” Wayne, his commanding officer during the American Revolution. 

But while we visited in part to research my Love family history, we also made time to explore the area’s best attractions, from local hiking trails and waterfalls to all the best museums, shops, and restaurants

We were genuinely impressed with the extensive array of great restaurants in the relatively small town (population: 10,285), which went beyond the typical breakfast/burgers/BBQ fare. 

Read on for our guide to the best restaurants in Waynesville NC, including Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen, Chef’s Table, The Cuban Guy, Haywood Smokehouse, Suwana Asian Cuisine, and more! 

READ MORE: The Top 25 Blue Ridge Mountain Towns in GA & NC


Best Restaurants in Waynesville NC Guide

  1. Beach Mountain Diner 
  2. Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen
  3. Blue Rooster Southern Grill 
  4. The Buttered Biscuit (Breakfast)
  5. Chef’s Table (Fine Dining)
  6. Crepe & Custard
  7. The Cuban Guy 
  8. Dillsboro Chocolate Factory 
  9. Frog Level Brewing Co (Gastropub)
  10. Haywood Smokehouse (BBQ)
  11. Orchard Coffee 
  12. Suwana Asian Cuisine  (Asian Fusion)
  13. Third Bay Filling Station (Cafe)
  14. Valé 241 Southern Italian Kitchen

READ MORE: The 20 Best Things To Do in Waynesville NC

Exterior of Beach Mountain Diner in Waynesville NC
Exterior of Beach Mountain Diner

1. Beach Mountain Diner

429 Hazelwood Ave • 828-246-6800 • Official Website

HOURS: Daily 7AM-3PM

Located in the increasingly hip Hazelwood section of town, the Beach Mountain Diner is the latest venture from veteran restaurateur Barry Adeeb. 

Adeeb owns 5 Beach Diner locations in Northeast Florida, but has been vacationing in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with his family for decades. 

When he saw an old pharmacy location available in 2020, it inspired him to open a new concept in in Waynesville, where he’s owned a home for many years. 

The upscale diner combines bright colors that reflect his base in sunny Florida, with decorative accents you’d expect from NC mountain cabins, including a cozy stone hearth fireplace and wood plank floors and ceilings. 

The Beach Mountain Diner menu offers classic comfort food with enough experimentation to keep things interesting.

Unique breakfast offerings include Mama Helen‘s Fried Chicken & Waffles, Fried Fish-n-Grits, and Mexican, Greek, and Shrimp & Crab Omelets. The lunch menu is more conventional, featuring excellent deli-style sandwiches.

The Godfather (a great grilled Italian sub), Smothered Beef, and Garlic Shrimp Rider made an excellent picnic for our visit to nearby Sunburst Falls. 

READ MORE: The 20 Best Downtown Asheville Restaurants for Foodies

2. Blue Rooster Southern Grill

207 Paragon Pkwy, Clyde NC • 828-456-1997 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Thu 11AM-8PM; Fri 11AM-8:30PM; Closed Saturdays & Sundays

If you’re looking for down-home Southern cooking in Haywood County NC, look no further than the Blue Rooster Southern Grill, which specializes in “Farm-to-Fork” freshness. 

Located just 4 miles from Downtown Waynesville in tiny Clyde NC (just east of Lake Junaluska), this funky Southern eatery offers the area’s best Skillet Fried Chicken– moist, tender, with a crispy crunch to the coating. 

Their sides were even more impressive. The lightly battered Fried Squash and Fried Green Tomatoes are arguably the best we’ve ever had, and the Sweet Potato Casserole reminded me of the one my mom used to make. 

Blue Rooster Southern Grill’s menu is full of other great entree options, from Low Country Fish & Grits and the Rather Be Fishin’ Po Boy to the Carolina Pulled Pork Platter and North Georgia Chicken Tenders. 

But, to be honest, I’d happily go back and have their Cast Iron Buttermilk Cornbread and the “pick 4 veggies” Farmer’s Supper, because every side we tried tasted like it had been harvested fresh that morning. 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Hendersonville NC Restaurants 

Apple Cider Brined Pork Chop at Birchwood Hall restaurant in Waynesville NC
Apple Cider Brined Pork Chop at Birchwood Hall

3. Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen

111 N Main St, Waynesville NC • (828) 246-6111 • Official Website

HOURS: Tue to Thu & Sun 4PM-9PM; Fri & Sat 4PM-10PM; Closed Sundays

Appalachian culinary influences are common throughout the Blue Ridge Mountains. But it’s rare to see them incorporated in the refined, elegant fashion of Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen. 

Opened by Executive Chef Nicolas Peek in 2017, the Downtown Waynesville restaurant’s mission is to elevate the concept of authentic Southern cuisine. 

Peek defies the misconceptions of traditional Appalachian cooking as “greasy, diner, deep fried dishes” with a fantastic farm-to-table menu that utilizes the highest quality local ingredients he can find. 

Named for a historic Civil War-era home that was once on Main Street, Birchwood Hall combines rustic and modern design elements (including a deer antler chandelier) to create one of the most upscale places to eat in Waynesville.

Everything we tried (including the craft cocktails) was exquisite, but we recommend the savory Dad’s Tomato Pie, the Pork Belly & Grits appetizer, and the Pan-seared Sunburst Trout. 

My favorite dish was the remarkably moist and tender Apple Cider Brined Pork Chop, which was served with a flavorful Fall Succotash and local apple relish.

READ MORE: The 10 Best Restaurants in Brevard NC for Foodies

Breakfast at The Buttered Biscuit in Waynesville NC
Breakfast at The Buttered Biscuit

4. The Buttered Biscuit (Breakfast)

1226 Dellwood Rd • 828-246-6446 • Official Website

HOURS: Wed to Mon 7AM-2PM; Closed Tuesdays

You don’t need the intelligence of Albert Einstein to venture a guess as to the highlight of any meal at this popular place to eat breakfast in Waynesville. 

If the name, The Buttered Biscuit, didn’t clue you in, the sheer size of the biscuit featured in the photo above should make it clear that these are NOT your grandma’s country biscuits. 

Serving breakfast all day and lunch from 11AM to 2PM, this impressive Waynesville restaurant prides itself on offering huge portions, with farm-fresh foods made from scratch every morning. 

You can get those biscuits just about any way you want, with toppings ranging from savory (bacon, buffalo chicken, country ham, pork tenderloin, sausage, etc.) to sweet (fruit compote). 

Other options for what is arguably the best breakfast in Waynesville include 9 different omelets, French toast, pancakes, waffles, and a “Scrambler” bowl that mixes hash browns, scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, and cheese. 

READ MORE: Apple Picking in North Carolina: The 10 Best NC Apple Orchards to Visit

Lamb Shank at The Chef's Table in Waynesville NC
Lamb Shank at The Chef’s Table

5. Chef’s Table (Fine Dining)

30 Church St • 828-452-6210 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Sat 5PM-9PM; Closed Sundays

Arguably the most romantic restaurant in Waynesville we tried during our recent visit, the Chef’s Table offers fine dining in an elegant atmosphere that’s unlike any other eatery in town.

Executive Chef/owner Josh Monroe grew up in the North Carolina mountains, earning recognition from the American Culinary Foundation before working at various 4-star restaurants in Asheville

After starting at the Chef’s Table as a chef in 2006, Monroe had a chance to purchase the place in 2009. His cuisine has since won awards from Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator, and more. 

He and his wife brought their mutual love of Slow Food to the Downtown Waynesville restaurant. They use veggies from their own gardens and source as many fresh seasonal ingredients as possible from local farms. 

The Chef’s Table menu focuses on wine country fare (mostly Mediterranean, with a touch of Californian influence), with an array of award-winning wines that make for perfect pairings. 

Our favorite dishes included the Signature Goat Cheese Risotto Balls, the Grilled Romaine Salad (with goat cheese, dried cranberries, and Apple Wood-Smoked Bacon), Shrimp & Oyster Po Boy Pasta, and an Osso Bucco-style Lamb Shank served with a decadently delicious demi-glace. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best North Carolina Wineries to Visit

Monte Cristo Crepe at Crepe & Custard Restaurant in Lake Junaluska NC
Monte Cristo Crepe at Crepe & Custard

6. Crepe & Custard

55 Memory Ln, Lake Junaluska NC • (828) 283-8199 • Official Website

HOURS: Daily 8AM-4PM

The 200-acre Lake Junaluska, arguably one of the most beautiful lakes in North Carolina, is beloved by locals for its scenic walking paths, kayaking, fishing, and one of the area’s best sunset views. 

Owned by the Methodist Church, the Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center is home to a lakeside hotel, historic inn, live music venue, and the new Crepe & Custard restaurant. 

Opened in 2022, the restaurant is owned by Drake and Jessie Fultz. Western NC native Drake has 20+ years of restaurant experience, including being General Manager and co-owner of the Haywood 209 Cafe. 

Crepe & Custard is a more intimate eatery right by the lake, with a lovely outdoor patio. The interior features Jessie’s beautiful photos of the lake, as well as oars and other aquatic-themed decor. 

Their simple menu includes Sweet, Savory, and Breakfast Crepes, as well as a few salads, sides, and a Soup of the Day. We went with the Monte Cristo (which is topped with strawberry jam) and Beef & Cheddar Crepe (with smoked horseradish), which were both hearty and flavorful. 

For dessert, it was tough to choose between the Build-Your-Own Custard option or the Nothing But Nutella Crepe, so we decided to get both and share. Needless to say, we have no regrets!

READ MORE: The 20 Best Places to Celebrate Christmas in NC

Exterior shot of The Cuban Guy Restaurant in Waynesville NC
Photo courtesy The Cuban Guy

7. The Cuban Guy

42 Montgomery St • 828-246-9649 • Official Website

HOURS: Tue to Sat 11AM-4PM; Closed Sundays & Mondays 

One of our favorite Downtown Waynesville restaurants, The Cuban Guy is located in a small strip shopping center tucked back on a side street just one block west of North Main Street.

While it’s relative easy to find Mexican food in Haywood County, this is really the only other option for Latin American restaurants in town. 

They made a name for themselves by winning first place in the restaurants division of the Waynesville Chili Cook-off.

But it’s their traditional Cuban food options– especially the Cuban Sandwich– that makes this one of the best places to eat in Waynesville. 

Their flavorful Mojo Pork is marinated for 2 to 3 days, then roasted for 8 to 9 hours to ensure maximum tenderness.

We also recommend their authentic Ham Croquetas, Guava Pastelitos, and homemade “take-and-bake” Pastelon.

READ MORE: The 10 Most Haunted Places in North Carolina

Sweet Treats at Dillsboro Chocolate Factory in Waynesville NC
Sweet Treats at Dillsboro Chocolate Factory

8. Dillsboro Chocolate Factory

170 North Main St • 828-246-9838 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Fri 10AM-5PM; Sat 10AM-6PM; Sun Noon-5PM

With its original location in Dillsboro NC (20 miles southwest of Waynesville), the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory is an unusual family-owned shop that’s not really a restaurant, but it’s not NOT a restaurant either. 

Obviously they have an extensive array of chocolate; in fact, they’re the only gourmet chocolate shop in Waynesville.

They use Column Single-Bean Venezuelan Cacao with no fillers, which leads to a very unique flavor profile. 

Their Downtown Waynesville shop is like an upscale version of a chocoholic’s Willy Wonka fever dream.

There are endless options, from their award-winning Smoky Mountain Truffles & Shooters (which are flavored with liqueurs) to an array of fudge, hand-dipped chocolates, chocolate-covered espresso beans, and even sugar free sweets! 

But they also have a full-service coffee shop, featuring 15 different kinds of gourmet coffee beans, all of which are locally roasted in Asheville

If that’s not enough, they also boast an impressive array of packaged jerky, from locally made Elk jerky to South African-style Biltong (dried beef) and Droëwors (dry sausage) from the North Carolina-based Bledie Lekker.

READ MORE: The Top 10 Treehouse Rentals near Asheville, NC

Moonshine BBQ Brisket Sandwich at Frog Level Brewing Co in Waynesville NC
Moonshine BBQ Brisket Sandwich at Frog Level Brewing Co

9. Frog Level Brewing Co. (Gastropub)

56 Commerce St, Waynesville NC • (828) 454-5664 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Thu 11:30AM-9PM; Fri & Sat 11:30AM-10PM; Sun 11:30AM-8PM

Waynesville doesn’t have nearly as many breweries as nearby towns like Asheville and Brevard

But Frog Level Brewing Co. makes a “quality over quantity” argument, offering grew microbrews and fantastic food in one of the town’s oldest and most historic sections. 

The Frog Level Historic District (which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places) has 16 buildings that offer examples of Early Commercial and Romanesque architecture, some of which date back 100+ years.

Frog Level Brewing Co. is its hippest spot, with a beautiful interior filled with local art, a great gastropub menu, a working microbrewery right in the dining room, and an expansive shaded patio overlooking the creek. 

We loved every dish we’ve tried there, but our favorites include the Boiled Peanuts, Sunburst Farms Trout Dip, Cajun Shrimp Tacos, and Moonshine BBQ Brisket Sandwich. 

READ MORE: The 15 Best Historic Sites in Georgia

Combo Platter at Haywood Smokehouse BBQ in WaynesVille NC
Haywood Smokehouse Combo Platter

10. Haywood Smokehouse (BBQ)

79 Elysinia Ave • 828-456-7275 • Official Website

HOURS: Wed to Fri 11AM-8PM; Sat 11AM-9PM; Closed Sundays, Mondays & Tuesdays

From Farm House Produce in Dahlonega GA and Pig & Grits in Burnsville NC to the Pedalin’ Pig in Boone and Banner Elk, we’ve been fortunate to sample some of the best BBQ joints the Blue Ridge region has to offer. 

We’re adding Haywood Smokehouse to the list, and consider it one of the best BBQ restaurants in the region. 

With 3 Western North Carolina locations (the others are in Dillsboro and Franklin), the Haywood Smokehouse specializes in Texas-style barbecue using premium meats and house-made sausages. 

Their slow-roasted approach leads to meat that is fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth tender. And even their side dishes (especially Burnt-end Baked Beans, Collard Greens, and Green Beans) offer intense smoky flavors. 

We went for the gusto with their 3-meat Smokehouse Combo Platter, which includes your choice of meats (Pork, Brisket, Chicken, Turkey, Ribs, or the Sausage of the Day), plus two sides and Texas Toast. 

Every single bite was sensational (with an array of house-made sauces to choose from), as was their Brunswick Stew and traditional Banana Pudding for dessert. 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Restaurants in Banner Elk NC for Foodies

11. Orchard Coffee

39 Depot St • 828-246-9264 • Official Website

HOURS: Thu to Tue 8AM-5PM; Closed Wednesdays

From local friends and Haywood County Tourism reps to Yelp (where it has a 5-star rating), it seemed like everyone we talked to raved about Orchard Coffee.

So it was with heightened expectations that we entered the coffee bar/bakery on our last morning in town.

It was immediately easy to see why Orchard Coffee is so widely ranked among the best coffee shops in Waynesville.

Not only do they have some of the best gourmet coffee we’ve tasted in North Carolina, but the place has a whole “metropolitan country” vibe that really suits the friendly little mountain town. 

There’s colorful art adoring the walls, stylish decor, cool music playing at a reasonable volume, and an interesting mix of locals (aging hippies, tattooed hipsters, snazzy businessmen, and middle-aged moms) mingling about. 

The food (we had French Toast with berries, a breakfast sandwich, and fresh-baked blueberry muffin) is fantastic, and the award-winning coffee (which is roasted by the owner) is even better. We’ll definitely be back!

READ MORE: 10 Best Cherokee NC Restaurants for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Spring Rolls at Suwana Asian Cuisine in WaynesVille NC
Spring Rolls at Suwana Asian Cuisine

12. Suwana Asian Cuisine (Asian Fusion)

128 North Main St • 828-246-0155 • Official Website

HOURS: Tue to Sun Lunch: 11AM-3PM; Dinner 4:30PM-9PM; Closed Mondays

Longtime readers know that we started our site in large part because we’re empty nesters hoping to find the perfect place to live in the Blue Ridge Mountains. 

And as diehard foodies, finding towns with an extensive assortment of good restaurants to choose from is a huge part of that equation. While we love traditional Appalachian fare, culinary diversity is also important. 

For us, this is where the Waynesville NC restaurants scene truly shines by comparison. 

Back home in North Atlanta, we eat an array of Asian cuisines, from Japanese and Korean to Thai and Vietnamese.

Suwana Asian Cuisine offers a fusion of traditional Asian flavors, all under one roof.

So we were able to have favorites such as Basil Spring Rolls, Fried Rice, Pad Kee Mao (a.k.a. Drunken Noodles), Ramen, and Sushi, all under one roof.

Impressively, every single dish we tried was just as good as our favorite restaurants back in the city!

READ MORE: The 15 Best North Carolina Mountain Towns to Visit

Big Breakfast Burrito at Third Bay Filling Station in Waynesville NC
Big Breakfast Burrito at Third Bay Filling Station

13. Third Bay Filling Station (Cafe)

136 Depot St, Ste 103, Waynesville NC • (828) 246-6868 • Official Website

HOURS: Tue to Sat 9AM-3PM;  Closed Sundays & Mondays

There is clearly no shortage of great places to eat breakfast in Waynesville, but the Third Bay Filling Station is one of our personal favorites.

Located next to the Corner Station Olive Oil Company, Third Bay was opened in 2018 by Cathey Bolton and her mom, Katy Bolton. 

Both businesses (and Cathey’s pottery/design work) occupy a historic building that was built and operated as Walker’s Service Station by Katy’s grandfather nearly 100 years ago!

The cafe/coffee shop side is very small, with the kitchen and product display cases occupying the majority of the space. But there’s plenty of shaded seating on their expansive outdoor patio. 

From their breakfast menu, we enjoyed the Big Breakfast Burrito (which combines the Frittata and Cheesy Egg Hash Brown Bake), the Breakfast Bowl, and the fresh-baked muffins (try the Vanilla Almond Blueberry Muffin). 

READ MORE: The 10 Best Bryson City Restaurants for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Penne alla Vodka at Vale 241 Italian Restaurant in Clyde NC
Penne alla Vodka at Valé 241

15. Valé 243 Southern Italian Kitchen

243 Paragon Pkwy, Clyde NC • (828) 246-9199 • Official Website

HOURS: Mon to Thu 11AM-8PM; Fri & Sat 11AM-8:30PM; Closed Sundays

In my teens and early 20s, I put myself through college by working at (and ultimately managing) a small family-owned Italian restaurant in Atlanta

Walking into Valé 243 Southern Italian Kitchen, which is located in a strip shopping center in tiny Clyde NC (4 miles north of Downtown Waynesville), I instantly flashed back to my 5-year stint at At’sa Pizza.

The dining room is small and intimate, with antique Italian photos and art lining the walls. Owner Valerio Vuotto, a native of Southern Italy, comes out often to check on guests, warmly greeting his regulars by name. 

His menu is packed with authentic Italian dishes, from paninis and pastas to parmesans (chicken, eggplant, and veal) and piccata.

They arguably have the best pizza in Waynesville, but we especially loved the Florentine Ravioli and Penne Alla Vodka, as well as the buttery soft Garlic Knots.  –by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted

READ MORE: The 10 Best Things to Do in Maggie Valley NC

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We encourage anyone who loves the Blue Ridge region to learn about the Leave No Trace principles of responsible environmental stewardship. 

Stay on marked trails, take only pictures, pack out your trash, and be considerate of others who share the trails and parks you explore. 

Remember that waterfalls and rocky summits can be dangerous. Never try to climb waterfalls or get close to a ledge to get a selfie.

When you're exploring the wilderness, it's better to be safe than to be a statistic!

The BRMTG was created by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, the award-winning team behind the world-renowned responsible travel website Green Global Travel. Born and raised in North Georgia, Editor-In-Chief Bret Love grew up hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains with his family. A professional writer/editor since 1995, he's covered travel and culture for 100+ publications, including American Way, Destination Marriott, Georgia Travel Guide, National Geographic, and Southbound. In 2010 he co-founded the award-winning website, Green Global Travel, which is ranked among the world's top travel blogs. Since launching BRMTG in 2020, he and Mary Gabbett have visited 50+ Blue Ridge Mountain towns together. Though she lived in NYC for 14 years, photographer/Business Manager Mary Gabbett's family has Georgia roots dating back 200+ years. Her great-grandfather was President of the Western Railroad of Alabama. Before moving to Atlanta in 1989, she fell in love with the North GA mountains, where her aunt owned a cabin. In 2010 she co-founded Green Global Travel, and has since traveled to more than 40 countries on six continents. Her photos have appeared in numerous travel publications (including National Geographic and Southbound) and various textbooks.