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Boone NC and Surrounding Area

I'll be in the NC High Country next week for work. I'll arrive around supper time on Monday, and heading home Friday afternoon. I'll be spending the entire week throughout Watauga and Ashe counties, with some time in the Jefferson/West Jeff/Lansing area, and some in the Grassy Creek/Piney Creek/Sparta area (okay, so Alleghany county, too). My hotel is in Boone, but I'm willing to head anywhere for good food! I need ideas for both lunches and suppers in this area. I like places that support locally grown foods, and all kinds of cuisines. Oh, and I work for the state, so I'm on a somewhat restricted price point, $20 or less for entrees. I don't get the hundrand dollar meals in Italy like our esteemed first lady, I'm more along the RC Cola and a moon pie lines like her state trooper escort!

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  1. We have a house in Blowing Rock so most of my advice is for that town, which is about 10 min from Boone. In Blowing Rock, Best Cellar is more upscale, but it's great food. Honestly most places in BR are just so-so. Mellow Mushroom is good, and I also like Knight's on Main although others in my family disagree. Sonny's Grill on Main St there is legendary for it's breakfast and biscuits (beware long lines), and Kilwin's ice cream and chocolates are also on Main St. We used to love Woodlands BBQ but were very disappointed there this weekend - too dry bbq and cornbread. In Boone, if you want a HUGE meal try Dan'l Boone Inn (family style, for about 12.99 pp), or Black Cat Burito.

    1. Daniel Boone Inn is a great pick but bring your appetite ( I love their breakfast ) And also for great BBQ in the Boone area is Bandana's Bar B Que and Grill on Hwy 105. As far as woodlands goes I have also had my ups and downs there. When its good its good and when its not .....well

      1 Reply
      1. re: hotwhelz


        We have have a summer home in the High Country and try to eat organic and vegetarian. There are several budget friendly healthy places to eat in Boone.

        Earth Fare is for small towns what Whole Foods/ Trader Joes would be for larger communities. While I am not trying to say EF is at the same level, I am thrilled they are here in our small slice of heaven! They have a decent deli, salad and hot buffet open for lunch and dinner. Tables adjoin the buffet/deli area. Stock up your hotel with some nice organic fruits and munchies! Bring a book, eat healthy, good and budget friendly. In the past I have found that the lunch hot buffet is great and the dinner hot buffet appears "fatigued".

        Coyote Cafe is near the Walmart Shopping Complex. Many organic and healthy options with a focus on Caribbean and Southwestern. Wild salmon, organic chicken etc. Funky little place with friendly staff, good healthy food along with indoor and outdoor dining options.

        Mellow Mushroom has decent pizzas, calazones and salads. So close to campus a constant student hang-out.

        There is a new restaurant on Water Street in Boone. The street is only one block long. For the life of me I can't think of the name. Anyway, it is open from 11-4 Monday-Friday. I heard great things about it last week and peeked in to check out the menu. Maybe five or six tables max. You order from the counter. An assortment of salads, sandwiches and a quiche that changes daily. Local free range eggs, focus on organic etc. I will be checking this out in next few days and report back...complete with name.

      2. Hi, I live in Boone.

        Try Fraser's in West Jefferson for lunch. I don't know of any in Sparta or Grassy Creek. You'd be better off asking a local at a store in the area while there. Those are small, underemployed areas, but beautiful!

        In Boone, try Reid's Cafe, in the old jailhouse (ca 1898) on Water Street, open for lunch and dinner. Also Char's is on neighboring West Howard Street, open for lunch and dinner, great eat-outside porch.

        You'll like Melanie's Cafe on the main street in downtown (King Street). Closed on Mondays, open for breakfast and lunch on other days (not sure about Sunday). Homemade, healthy goodness, delicious food. And, also Our Daily Bread on King Street (across from the Mast General Store) is great for lunch. I think they may have started staying open late for dinner and beer.

        Closer to the hotels in Boone would be Coyote Kitchen, recently featured on a statewide program on PBS. Yummy! Located in Southgate Shopping Center (adjacent to Walmart). You can eat outside there.
        Another close to hotels is Troy's 105 Diner, on NC 105 beside Comfort Suites. The owner is an executive chef, the diner is open for breakast lunch and dinner. Blue Plate Specials are good!
        If you like Chinese, Hunan's is our area's best, and it is also located at Southgate Shopping Center.
        If you like Mexican food, try Los Arcoiris, on Boone Heights Drive (behind Burger King on the main thoroughfare, US 321), or try Dos Amigos at New Market Shopping Center, off US 421, where there is also a six-screen Regal Cinemas.
        Our town limits are about 4 miles in diameter, 321 and 421 running rather parallel, and 105 criss-crossing those. You can find these places easily, so not to worry!

        Have a great week!


        1. I realize this post is dead and the trip mentioned above was over long ago. I just wanted to second the great compliments about Coyote Kitchen. They have so many great vegan/vegetarian/and meat eater options with a focus on good local fresh foods. LOVED this place. and loved the price too. very affordable, lunch or dinner.

          Also had dinner a few other places that i thought were awesome. but plan to start a fresh post for those just to inform everyone:) happy chow!

          1 Reply
          1. re: snowy11480

            Any suggestions for Banner Elk? I realize the choices are limited, but it's been a few years since our last visit.

          2. Also for those in this area but willing to take a drive, go across the state line into TN. There is a restaurant called Suba's in Mountain City TN thats excellent. Its right on the main highway as you come into the town, on the left. Just past the golf course. Great food. Great service. Phenominal desserts!!

            1. In Ashe County, try Shatley Springs (http://www.shatleysprings.com/), it's superior to Daniel Boone Inn and there are the mineral waters to partake as well. I grew up going to Shatley Springs (never in Fall, too crowded!).

              Isabelle's Restaurant is on Hwy 16 (same area as Shatley Springs), food is Spanish, Isabelle has cooked for many over the years, see article in the Independent Weekly (http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Cont...).

              And I second the rec of Suba's in Mountain City, I've rec is on another thread on this list.

              7 Replies
              1. re: kizil

                Shatley Springs has gone downhill recently. Went there last fall with my family and they are serving instant mashed potatoes. Breakfasts still seem to be okay.

                1. re: dawnmtn

                  regardless of the state of Shatley Springs' mashed taters (half instant/half fresh), the experience is well worth the visit -- what about the healing waters? Doesn't that count for something?

                  1. re: kizil

                    I went to Shatley Springs last July and plan to revisit when I am in the area this summer. I don't know about the healing waters but the fried chicken was wonderful, the creamed corn was delicious and the sight of 100 hat wearing church ladies eating in the front room made the whole experience worthwhile.

                    1. re: eimac

                      there is a spring out in front of the restaurant and people line up to fill water jugs. some people swear by it, it has quite a history.

                      shatley springs reopens April 15.

                      follow the history link for the healing waters story (Healing Springs was another spring in the area).

                      1. re: kizil

                        Just got back from a few days in Crumpler, NC and had a mediocre dinner at Shatley Springs. I wish I hadn't read the debate here over the mashed potatoes beforehand, because I went in very biased and was disappointed that I could, indeed, taste the instant. The other vegetables were great (especially creamed corn and green beans), but the ham was dry even by "country ham" standards. Worst part? As I left, I saw the health department inspection certificate: 82.5!!

                        1. re: sashapt

                          In Blowing Rock--right down the street from Boone two good ones--Bistro Rocca---Nice lounge in the bar and great apps--the roasted figs are fantastic
                          Storey St Grill is also a sure bet Best two around

                          1. re: dusterdave173

                            We were just in the area last w/e- Bistro Roco's trout was fantastic- the second best I've ever had- crispy skin separated (lifted off during cooking) from the rest of the fish on a bed of polenta.
                            Wonderful atmosphere, relaxed yet comfortable - everyone loved their entrees. Service was friendly but slightly odd- we ordered more food than they were willing to provide (we wanted big appetizer salads and the waiter instead gave us the tiny side salads that came with the meal on the same plate without checking with us). Difficult to find- do not program into your GPS or you will end up in a residential area miles away. Bistro Roco is only a few blocks from downtown.
                            Also in Blowing Rock, we always enjoy brunch or lunch at the Village Cafe (down a path from Kilwin's on Main- not visible from Main St).
                            Gamekeepers at Yonahlossee Resort- atmosphere was great- esp sitting on the deck at sunset-looking out over the mtns and valley. Our group liked the mixed grilled meat appetizer (snake, ostrich etc). My trout was OK but not nearly as good as Bistro Roco's- had an herbed bread crumb topping that wasn't very crispy- kind of soft and bland/salty/herby.. but we would eat there again. Others really liked the roasted chicken..Excellent service. Best fruit crisp we've ever had- a huge blueberry/blackberry thing (not too sweet just perfect) with vanilla ice cream. Valet parking yet a relaxed vibe.
                            The BBQ at the Citgo in Foscoe was judged by my BBQ experts to not be very good- kind of Western/red- reported to be "mushy with catsup added"? Not at all typical NC BBQ.
                            Too bad Kersh's Old World Bakery in Foscoe which later became Johnson's (?)is closed- best pecan sticky buns in the universe.
                            Sandwiches at the Ham Shoppe in Valle Crucis are OK for picnics/hiking.