Hiawassee GA is a tiny town of around 1,000 residents that’s located right on the North Carolina border.
Pretty much everything in Hiawassee is centered around Lake Chatuge (which it shares with the town of Hayesville NC), which is widely considered one of the most beautiful lakes in the region.
The neighboring town of Young Harris GA is similarly small (population 1,059), and centers around the 485-acre campus of Young Harris College.
Between the lake and the college, Towns County brings in more than $50 million in tourism revenue each year. But to see the best the area has to offer, most people wind up spending time in both of these Blue Ridge Mountain towns.
This is especially true when it comes to the area’s restaurants. While Hiawassee may have more to choose from, there are more quality places to eat in Young Harris (which is also home to the posh Brasstown Valley Resort)
Read on for our guide to the best restaurants in Hiawassee GA and Young Harris GA, including an array of Asian, fine dining, and traditional Southern restaurants.
Restaurants In Hiawassee GA & Young Harris GA Guide
- Asiano Restaurant (Asian Fusion)
- Brother’s at Willow Ranch (Steakhouse)
- The Dining Room at Brasstown Valley Resort (Fine Dining)
- Enrico’s Italian Restaurant (Fine Dining)
- Firehouse 17 Pizza & More (Italian)
- Happy Hawg BBQ
- Hideaway Restaurant at Lake Chatuge (Gastropub)
- Main Street Grill (Southern)
- Mary’s Southern Grill (Southern)
- Tilted Cafe
1. Asiano Restaurant (Asian Fusion)
1382 US-76, Hiawassee • 706-896-0508 • Official Website
HOURS: Sun/Mon/Wed/Thu 11AM-9PM; Fri/Sat 11AM-10PM; Closed Tuesdays
But in Hiawassee and Young Harris, you can count the decent restaurants offering international cuisine on one hand (and still have a few fingers to spare). Which is precisely what makes Asiano Restaurant such a cool find.
Like many Asian fusion restaurants in North Georgia, Asiano offers an assortment of Chinese, Japanese, and Thai dishes to choose from. These include curry, fried rice, tempura, teppanyaki, and, of course, sushi.
But they also offer a unique Mongolian Grill lunch buffet. Guests choose from a variety of raw vegetables and meats, then the chef adds sauce and spices and cooks it on the grill and serves it with fried or steamed rice.
Served from 11AM to 3PM daily, for $12.95 Monday to Saturday and $15.85 on Sunday, it’s one of the best deals in town!
2. Brother’s at Willow Ranch (Steakhouse)
6223 US-76, Young Harris • 770-379-1272 • Official Website
HOURS: Tue to Thu 11AM-8:30PM; Fri/Sat 11AM-9:30PM; Closed Sundays & Mondays
One of the larger restaurants in Young Harris GA, this locally-owned steakhouse is located just north of the Brasstown Valley Resort & Spa on US-76.
The expansive menu was equally impressive, offering a mixture of steaks, seafood, and traditional Southern fare.
Mary loved their grilled Rainbow Trout, which is served with a delicious maple balsamic glaze and a choice of two sides (she went with the Green Beans and Spiced Apples).
I couldn’t resist their Country Fried Steak, a breaded Angus topped with a sensational white pepper gravy, with Fried Okra on the side. Both were so good, they reminded me of my beloved Appalachian grandmother’s home cooking!
READ MORE: The 40 Best North Georgia Cabins to Rent
3. The Dining Room at Brasstown Valley Resort (Fine Dining)
6321 US-76, Young Harris • 706-379-9900 • Official Website
HOURS: Daily 7AM-9PM
It also features one of the best Young Harris restaurants, known simply as the Dining Room, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The lodge-like interior features wood tables and chairs, hardwood walls and floors, intimate lighting, and a massive stone hearth fireplace. But for stunning views of the North Georgia mountains, sit outside on the patio.
Their lunch menu is fairly limited, with 2 salads, 5 sandwiches, and 7 “Lighter Fare” entrees to choose from.
Mary enjoyed her Brasstown Grilled Chicken, topped with a balsamic glaze and served with bruschetta and sautéed veggies. But the Atlantic Salmon was our favorite dish, topped with herbed butter and lemon and served with veggies.
4. Enrico’s Italian Restaurant (Fine Dining)
87 Main St Ste 5, Young Harris • 706-379-1950 • Official Website
HOURS: Tue to Sat 4PM-8PM; Closed Sundays & Mondays
If you’re looking for fine dining restaurants in Hiawassee where you can celebrate a special occasion, Enrico’s Italian Restaurant will definitely make an impression.
It was started in 1996 by first-generation Italian-American Domenic Demuro, whose mother Carmela owned a well-known Italian restaurant in Miami and cooked for Frank Sinatra and his Tony Rome movie crew back in the late ’60s.
The elegant interior features massive murals of famous Italian landmarks, fine art, and classic music by Sinatra and his Rat Pack friends. In short, it’s a great place for a date night or a family get-together.
Their menu offers a mixture of traditional Italian dishes and a few intriguing surprises, such as Eggplant Fries, Prince Edward Island Mussels Tarragon, and a Roasted Duck served in a raspberry Cognac Sauce.
Mary went with their Chicken Picatta, which had a delightfully zesty lemon white wine sauce. I devoured their Seafood Enrico, which included shrimp, scallops, mussels, and fish sautéed in a sherry wine cream sauce over fettuccine.
Enrico’s also boasts some of the best pizza in Hiawassee, including unique offerings such as the Mountain Lion (topped with blackened chicken alfredo) and the Sinatra (clams, spinach, and fresh garlic).
5. Firehouse 17 Pizza & More (Italian)
1717 State Highway 17, Young Harris • 706-896-0517 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon 4PM-8PM; Wed/Thu 11:30AM-8PM; Fri 11:30AM-9PM; Sat 12-9PM; Closed Sundays & Tuesdays
Speaking of pizza, I’m considered something of an unapologetic pizza snob.
I worked my way through college by managing some of the best pizza places in Atlanta, including Mellow Mushroom (which now has franchises in mountain towns like Asheville, Blowing Rock, and Boone NC).
So when I visit pizza restaurants in small towns in Georgia, I usually go in with a mixture of high standards and low expectations. But Firehouse 17 proved to be Enrico’s equal, offering some of the best pizza in Hiawassee.
The Young Harris restaurant really goes deep on the firehouse theme, with a massive fire truck out front, firemen’s clothes and helmets on the walls, etc.
But it’s their hand-tossed, Brick Oven pies that’ll keep you coming back with their chewy crust, perfectly spiced sauce, and impressively liberal use of toppings.
They also offer house-made lasagna, baked ziti, Angus spaghetti and meatballs, homemade garlic knots and dessert knots, with some of the ingredients harvested fresh from their herb and vegetable garden.
READ MORE: The 25 Best Day Trips From Atlanta GA
6. Happy Hawg BBQ
1586 Hwy 76, Hiawassee • 706-896-0012 • Official Website
HOURS: Wed/Thu 11AM-4PM; Fri/Sat 11AM-6PM; Sun 11AM-3PM; Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
If you’re looking for the best restaurants in Hiawassee, you’ve got to try this tiny little BBQ joint on Hwy 76, about a mile west of Lake Chatuge Beach.
In addition to the best barbecue in Hiawassee, it also offers an awesome view of Lake Chatuge, one of the most beautiful lakes in Georgia.
Their menu is pretty standard, with BBQ pork, chicken, ribs, pork butt, brisket, and more. You can order them on sandwiches, plates and combos (with 2 sides and garlic bread), a la carte or in bulk.
We had a Pork & Ribs Combo and a Beef Brisket Sandwich Plate, with Smoked BBQ Beans, Smoked Potato Salad, Fried Corn on the Cob, and Mac & Cheese on the side.
All were intensely flavorful, and among the best BBQ we’ve tried in North Georgia.
We took ours to-go for a picnic at some of the nearby waterfalls, but their shaded patio is perfect for lunch on the lake!
7. Hideaway Restaurant at Lake Chatuge (Gastropub)
3915 Hwy 76, Young Harris • 706-896-3131 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon/Tue/Thu 3PM-9PM; Wed/Fri 3PM-11PM; Sat 11AM-11PM; Closed Sundays
Located just 0.7 miles west of Splash Island Water Park, this Young Harris restaurant is not actually on Lake Chatuge (though its name might suggest otherwise).
Formerly known as Trouble Tap Bar & Grill, the Hideaway Restaurant at Lake Chatuge strives to provide homemade food and hand-crafted cocktails in a laid-back setting.
While there are no lake views to be had, the Blue Ridge Mountain views are pretty spectacular. They also offer a DJ and Karaoke on Wednesdays (when wings are $1), and live music pretty much every night on weekends.
Their menu is pretty standard gastropub fare, with burgers, sandwiches, and wings dominating the options. But it’s the way they prepare it that makes the Hideaway one of the best places to eat in Hiawassee and Young Harris.
Their “Basic Burger” was anything but, perfectly prepared medium rare and topped with tasty smoked gouda, with a side of crunchy onion rings. The Chicken Quesadilla was equally delicious, served with crispy house-made chips.
If you’re looking for late night fun in the Lake Chatuge area, this is the place to be!
8. Main Street Grill (Southern)
197 South Main St, Hiawassee • 706-896-4333 • Official Website
HOURS: Mon to Wed 6AM-2PM; Thu/Fri 6AM-8PM; Sat 6Am-10:30AM; Closed Sundays
The “Main Street Grill” is a fairly common concept in the mountain towns of the Southeast.
We’ve visited several different restaurants with the same name, from tiny Tallulah Falls GA (just south of Clayton) to Weaverville NC. Most are homey diners with simple decor and a menu full of hearty American favorites.
There’s nothing especially unique about this Main Street Grill, but its execution makes it one of the best places for breakfast in Hiawassee.
Their breakfast menu is fairly standard– eggs with your choice of meats (bacon, country ham, fried bologna, sausage, and tenderloin), French toast, pancakes, omelets, etc.
But their Signature Platters (try the Redneck Benedict or Lumberjack Breakfast), Loaded Hashbrowns, and Breakfast Burritos do offer a few intriguing options.
They also have a small lunch menu, including burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, patty melts, BLTs, Club Sandwiches, and more, all of which are served with your choice of fries or chips.
READ MORE: The 13 Best Restaurants in Blue Ridge GA
9. Mary’s Southern Grill (Southern)
1615 GA-17 #104, Young Harris • 706-896-1048 • Official Website
HOURS: Sat to Wed 5:30AM-2PM; Thu/Fri 5:30AM-8PM
Our favorite place to grab breakfast in Young Harris GA, Mary’s Southern Grill offers classic country cooking and friendly service at a surprisingly affordable price.
The colorful decor alone would be worth the price of admission. Walls filled with license plates, photos of Appalachian mountain scenery, kitschy knick-knacks, and sassy signs showed lots of charming personality.
Our congenial server also had personality in spades, like a cross between Janeane Garofolo and a quick-witted Southern character from Alice.
The Mary’s Southern Grill menu features an array of options, from Eye Openers (eggs, meat, and a choice of sides) and Oh My Omelets to Breakfast Platters (with pancakes or French toast) and Biscuit Corner.
We enjoyed everything tried, but their Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuit, Blueberry Pancakes, Tater Tots, and coffee were all especially tasty. They also have an extensive lunch menu we hope to try next time we visit Hiawassee.
Mary’s also hosts lots of special events for the community, such as benefits for local schools and holiday events, including a big Breakfast with Santa for Christmas.
10. Tilted Cafe
124 North Main St, Hiawassee • 706-970-3535 • Official Website
HOURS: Wed to Sat 11AM-8PM; Sun 11AM-3PM; Closed Mondays & Tuesdays
If you’re looking for restaurants in Hiawassee with a full bar, the surprisingly urban-style Tilted Cafe is definitely one of the best.
Though food is obviously the focus here, they also offer gourmet coffee, craft cocktails, craft beer from Southern breweries, and even free-play arcade games.
Located in the heart of downtown Hiawassee, just a few blocks north of the Town Square, it’s a laid-back place to wind down after a long day of exploring the area’s awesome hiking trails and waterfalls.
In August 2022, they unveiled a new menu from Executive Chef Glyn Barney. It includes vegetarian-friendly options (try the Strawberry Arugula or Woodland Salad) and 5 Flatbreads (get the Greek or Pimento Piggy).
They also offer a dozen delicious sandwiches to choose from, including the Titled Turkey & Brie, the Cuban-style Pressed Havana, Roast Beef & Beer Cheese Ciabatta, and a Southern Ham & Pimento Wrap. -by Bret Love; all photos by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett unless otherwise noted