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Jan 1, 2009 03:59 PM

Good eats near Blowing Rock, NC

Hi y'all!

We're heading down to Merlesfest in April, and we rented a cool house outside of Boone, NC for the whole week. We'll cook some, but I'd like some recommendations for excellent regional eats. I'm interested in the whole gamut, from transcendent roadfood to not-to-be-missed fine dining. We especially like places that are unique to their area, and local foods.

Never had a bum steer from a Chowhounder, and I'm looking forward to your ideas.


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  1. Let's see... for Blowing Rock specifically, I would recommend Knights on Main for any meal. A local favorite, great prices, and never a bad meal. Try the meatloaf. Or the ribs, the reuben, livermush, the omelets or hash... Everything is tasty.

    You may also want to try Bistro Roca/Antlers Bar. It's a little detour from Main Street, so sometimes visitors don't find it. Their wood-fired pizzas are excellent (my favorite has duck, apples and brie), and they take care to use lots of local ingredients whenever they can.

    If you are looking for something a little less run-of-the-mill, try the Gamekeeper at Yonahlossee. Pheasant, ostrich, venison and buffalo are staples on the menu.
    (By the way, Crippen's, Woodland's, Storie Street, the Best Cellar, the Manor House...all great eats, but you probably know about those.)

    For Boone, The Bistro may be one of those not-to-be-missed fine dining spots. Located in the shopping center at Lowes Foods, it isn't the first place most people look for a place like this. They take plain pork over the top with their apple rosemary sauce.

    Black Cat in Boone is one of my favorite places, too. Oversized burritos (with great prices, by the way) and funky art make a great restaurant. Plus, they have regular live performances by local bands.
    Another fave spot for burritos is Coyote Kitchen. The carribean inspired menu has combinations like grilled salmon & sweet potatoes and plantains & jerk chicken, with some of the best homemade salsas (the mango is my fave!). Organic, hormone-free, vegetarian/vegan friendly...

    We always hit Melanie's for breakfast when my friends are in town. It is usually pretty busy, and don't bother if you are in a hurry. They make everything to order, so it can take a while sometimes. The homefries are to die for, and the stuffed french toast is pretty fantastic, too. The eggs benedict and potato madness are favorites. Everything is yummy. Word of warning to "meat eaters:" the only meat on the breakfast menu is canadian bacon. But I'm sure it won't be missed. They do have great, thick burgers at lunch, though.

    I'm sure that will get you started. There are lots more I would recommend, but you won't be in town long enough!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Amandabell

      Wow! Thanks for all the great ideas. I may have to stay longer. :-)

      As far as cooking goes, any local produce / farmers markets going in mid-late April?


    2. Amandabell made some great recommendations - so i won't go back over those - except i must second Coyote Kitchen - love this place!! I've been several times. Often get the salmon salad (but i sub tempeh) with their homemade lemon tahini salad dressing - its HUGE and so tasty. also have had the tilapia tacos which were great. and last trip there, i had one of their boats which are also massive and downright delicious:) can't remember which one. husband has had their jerk chicken sandwich which he likes a lot (with fries). The place is really affordable too - which is why its a hot spot for us. Mellow Mushroom is a great pizza joint with plenty of sandwich options - also very affordable and casual. My last recommendation in Boone is my favorite of all - Tupelo Cafe on Main St. Everything i have ever had from this place rocks. Last time i just had a sandwich (the blackened tofu sandwich) and it was AWESOME. i've tried all their soups and many of their salad options. never disappointed. nice place that supports local produce, many organic options, etc. If i only go out once while in town, this is where i go. its casual dress but a little nicer than coyote kitchen/mellow mushroom.

      My only recommendation for Blowing Rock (i don't tend to make it anywhere besides tupelo and coyote in boone when i go down for a visit haha) is the Story Street Grill. I dont' think they take reservations which is a real downer because i hate standing around waiting... but the food is great. its the nicest out of all the places i've mentioned. not sure about their support of local foods per say but still - great place for a nice more upscale dinner.

      Now I have plans to go to Melanies for breakfast next time i'm in town after the description above. Sounds like its TO die for !!! yum...

      Hope this was helpful to you.

      1. Hmmm... Boone really will be your best bet for good food, though some of the finer (& much much pricier) establishments are in Blowing Rock). I have lived in Boone (Foscoe actually) for about 10 years now and two of my absolute favorite spots are Vidalia's on King St & Good Eats (Mangia Buona) at the Boone Mall.

        Vidalia's just recently changed owners, but in my opinion they've added some great items to the menu while keeping a similar taste. Their dinner options range from eclectic to modern-southern american, and their lunches are similar, though slightly expensive for the area. The food is excellent and portions are appropriate... with a small but pleasant wine list. Their website is below (if you're going on a weekend I recommend reservations)

        As for Good Eats, it's a family run Italian eatery that unfortunately just moved into the Boone Mall. They had humble beginnings in Foscoe and eventually would up at a nice spot in Valle Crucis but for some unknown reason ventured into their newest spot at the Mall. All of their pastas are excellent & my personal favorite is the Chicken Fran... though they do have an excellent marsalla sauce that is good with either the veal or chicken. All portions are very large (expect leftovers!) and come with a large side portions of pastas, salads, & bread. Their downfall has allways been their service though, so expect a bit of a wait & enjoy some wine!

        Some other great spots in Boone are Our Daily Bread on King St (only open until 6 pm, but has one of the best lunches in town), Char on Howard St, and Cafe Portifino on Rivers St. As for the places allready mentioned, Melanie's is one of the best spots in town for breakfast, though expect a very long wait... if their too busy for ya, walk just down the road to Tupelo's, I've only been their for breakfast but it's always good and hardly ever a wait!

        If you wanna go a little farther out (towards Banner Elk), some excellent fine dinning options are Mountain Tavern off Hwy 105 in Tynecastle and Louisianna Purchase in Banner Elk off Hwy 184.

        Oh yeah, in response to some other replys, last I noticed Coyote Kitchen had closed, but maybe they reopened. It's never really gained much interest from the broad local population but seemed to have found it's niche for some...

        The Watauga Co Farmers Market doesn't open untill May 2nd, but the EarthFare grovery store in Boone has lots of organic options if that's your thing. Other than that there's just your typical mix of grocery stores (I recommend the Lowes Foods in Boone... Blowing Rock only has a FoodLion if you're staying out that way) . If you need any more recommendations or any more info of any kind let me know...


        2 Replies
        1. re: clearcreek

          Hi, Mark. We will be staying in Banner Elk next week. Any other recommendations other than MT and LP? Thanks

          1. re: clearcreek

            Thanks for all the great suggestions! What do you think of the Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis? Saw the Roadfood review. Seems like it could be good or cheesy. :-)

          2. Char's on Howard is one of our favorites. The Bistro on King St is also really good

            1 Reply
            1. re: dawnmtn

              I love the Gamekeeper. Good choice for your fanciest meal.
              It's unique, quirky and beautiful, and the food is fabulous.