Boone, North Carolina, is a destination focused on stunning natural beauty, outdoor adventures and the chance to soak up the memories of it all around a good meal and tasty pint of craft brew.
We recently visited Boone for a six night stay during Thanksgiving week. We rented a gorgeous mountain cabin in Fleetwood, about 15-minutes from downtown Boone and published another post which covers all our suggested things to do in Boone, NC.
While we cooked some meals in the cabin, we still made room in our relaxing itinerary to experience some of the best Boone restaurants. We’re so glad we did, as with the emphasis on local, Boone has a fantastic Appalachian tale to tell through its food.
While we did not get to taste test all the amazing places to eat in Boone NC, and surrounding areas, we gave it a good try and discovered the following top spots.
Please leave a comment at the bottom sharing your favorite Boone restaurants (and breweries or bars) so we can visit on our next trip!
BEST COFFEE: Hatchet Coffee
East Boone is where you’ll find the best coffee in Boone. Yes. We taste test. And yes, as Australians, we’re coffee snobs!
Great coffee is always on our list of things to do. Boone, thankfully, had outstanding coffee to add to our list. Hatchet Coffee in East Boone has a roasting lab, slow bar, and coffee lounge.
There is plenty of space for you to hang out for a while with the other students and remote workers enjoying the chill space and delicious warming cup of coffee.
Best Breakfast: Melanie’s Food Fantasy
Known for having the best breakfasts in Boone, Melanie’s Food Fantasy is where you can soak up Southern style food that speaks to the culture and landscape of Boone.
I guess you’d call Melanie’s Food Fancy Southern hipster. Like a traditional diner, with quality of service and homemade goodness, but with food that goes beyond a greasy sausage and grits. On this menu you’ll find tempeh with your scramble, breakfast burritos, pimento cheese grits, and stuffed French toast.
The Potato Madness satisfied my belly, Kalyra devoured her Bacon and avocado Benedict, and the Trucker Breakfast will fill any guys stomach with love.
The interior is small and cozy with local art adorning the walls and colorful cloth tablecloths. If the weather is not too cold or wet, enjoy a meal in the outside patio area.
Melanie’s also serves lunch and has plenty of gluten free options.
BEST MEAL: The Local
You know those food experiences where you don’t want anyone to move or speak, as you just want to sit quietly and savor every bite of your creative meal washed down with a smooth, velvety red wine.
From the service to the ambiance, food, and drink selections, I loved everything about The Local in downtown Boone. In a sea of dining out experiences across the USA, The Local will stand out as a favorite.
As the name suggests, Local uses local ingredients and beers were possible, and has a focus on creating a space where family and friends gather. You’ll also find local art decorating the walls. Live music is on the weekends.
There is a covered, and heated, patio if you just want a drink or while you wait for your table.
The menu is diverse with burgers, tacos, and handhelds, and specialty dishes that will take you on a journey through Asia and the Americas. There are also plenty of gluten free options.
I was drooling over our appetizer of Thai beef tidbits – sliced NY strip in soy, curry, and butter sauce and the Roasted Salmon over Caesar Brussel sprouts with applewood smoked bacon and turmeric roasted cauliflower.
Craig loved his Brazilian char-grilled steak with sweet plantains, roasted asparagus, ancho chile black beans topped with homemade chimichurri. And Kalyra enjoyed a margherita flatbread.
Because I wanted to have one more glass of that delicious Syrah from Upper Left Winery in Washington State, we ordered a Mississippi mud pie and Carolina beignets for the girls’ deserts.
But, wait. There’s more. They also have expertly crafted cocktails. While I was guzzling velvety smooth Syrah, Craig was enjoying his Old Timer bourbon cocktail.
Prices here were very reasonable for the quality, and we feel it’s definitely one of the best places to eat in Boone!
BEST BURGERS: The Cardinal
If you like mouthwatering burgers, be sure to add The Cardinal to your list of places to eat in Boone. It has an eclectic, laid back vibe and is a perfect casual place to eat after fun exploring Boone (or to fuel up before you go).
You’ll find fresh ingredients, classic American food (with vegan surprises like tempeh tenders and beet burgers) exotic burgers, and crafty beverages.
Craig chowed down on the rotating Wild Game burger! And I could not resist the 50/50 burger – Amaroo Hills Emu, Chorizo, Queso, Grilled Jalapeños & Onions, Greens, Tomato, Cilantro Sour Cream I’ve never had a burger quite like it and was overtaking with the exploding flavors in my mouth.
Lost Province Brewing Company
Lumberjack Hipster was the word that came to mind when I walked into the Lost Province Brewing Company in Downtown Boone.
I instantly felt like I was in Oregon, a state that is filled with cool experiences and people that put nature and beer at the essence of it. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve been there and soaked up the vibe.
Could you get any more lumberjack hipster image then craft brews with the names, Up Schitt’s Kriek, What’s Up Bro?, Kiss My grits and Hipster Juice.
Lost Province is known for their Neapolitan style pizza baked in a wood-fired copper kettle that uses local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Their attention to quality brews, farm to table, and community sustainability reminded me of Yachats Brewery on the Oregon Coast.
They also have live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
- Address: 130 N Depot St, Boone
- Website: LostProvince.com
Appalachian Mountain Brewery
Appalachian Mountain Brewery (AMB) is just south of downtown and is probably the most well-known Boone brewery, given they distribute over North Carolina, South Carolina, and East Tennessee.
As we drink them all the time, we were delighted to visit the location where this Boone brewery started.
Not only does Craig love their award-winning beers, but I love their innovative ciders. It’s one of the few East Cast cider brands I like. I usually drink their mystic dragon but was delighted to try a pint of their mimosa cider and give it a double thumbs up!
AMB has a spacious covered porch, perfect on sunny days, and enclosed and heated during the winter. They also have the Farm 2 Flame Food Truck on premises with wood fired pizzas.
Booneshine Brewing Company
Booneshine Brewery is located in East Boone and has a great communal feel with an outside patio area and large separate beer garden area with views. It’s perfect for families and pet owners!
You can also dine in at the restaurant, but it was a two hour wait when we visited the day after Thanksgiving. We grabbed a beer and wine from the bar and sat out in the beer garden. There is a food truck option there as well.
The Pedalin’ Pig
Ready for some High-Country style smoky BBQ made from fresh, local gourmet ingredients?
Our takeout choice after a day of exploring Boone downtown and just wanting to collapse in our cabin in front of the fireplace and a game of Rummikub was the Pedalin Pig.
Expect slow cooking here – fall of the bone meat that’s been turning for 16 hours
Pedalin Pig has been serving high country folks since 2014 when they opened their first location in Banner Elk.
We thoroughly enjoyed our smoked beef brisket, smoked baby back ribs and delicious fixins of baked beans, slaw, and collard greens! Apart from BBQ plates, you’ll find tacos and sandwiches.
The dining area inside is huge with a bar and a large selection of drinks, including specialty cocktails and local craft beer.
Hole Lotta Doughnuts
One for the kids, old and young, are the oversized handcrafted yeast doughnuts in Whole Lotta Doughnuts. Take your pick from flavors such as jelly filled, peanut butter dream, maple, and seasonal doughnut delights.
They also have fritters, pastries, sweet breads, cookies, gourmet popcorn, gourmet coffee, ice cream, and shakes.
Local Lion Coffee
Another place for good homemade doughnuts and coffee is Local Lion, named after the local mountain lion that crossed the owners path on a mountain camping trip.
They want you to savor coffee, understand it’s not a throw down, pep me up drink of a morning, but delicious drink that wakes up your taste buds and widens your horizons.
We thank you for maintaining the coffee art form and dedicating Local Lion as a place for a cup worth enough to be included in this Boone highlights post!
Their organic, fair trade coffee is roasted in the shop’s small batch roaster and brewed the way you like it: pour over, lattes, and straight espressos.
This quality runs through their doughnuts, which are made from scratch daily. In the summer local fresh fruits are used for their jelly fillings and berry glazes. And you will not find preservatives, hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup.
Okay parents, these are the kinds of doughnuts your kids can have double servings of.
Other Boone places to eat and drink
There were many other restaurants in Boone we wanted to eat at. Since it was Thanksgiving week, a few were closed or it didn’t align with our schedule. The below restaurants in Boone are on our list when we visit Boone next time. These were recommended to us from locals or other travelers:
- Horton Hotel rooftop bar has 360-degree views of Howard’s Knob, Appalachian State University and downtown Boone over shared plates, craft beverages and specialty beers and wines. Why not stay at the boutique hotel downstairs?
- Wild Cafe Eatery: Cafe serving global fare made with local, organic ingredients, plus beer, wine & spirits.
- Proper: Homestyle Southern standards with a seasonal twist in a cozy, historic building with a garden patio.
- F.A.R.M Cafe – a Pay what you want concept, bringing inclusivity to the table. Maggie Kane at A Place at the Table in Raleigh does the same thing and we love it! It was inspired by F.A.R.M.
- COBO Sushi Bistro and Bar: Urbane Japanese restaurant & full bar with sake & cocktails in sophisticated designer digs.
Don’t forget to leave your suggestions for places to eat in Boone below!