Restaurants in Boone NC Travel Guide Featured Image

14 Delicious Restaurants in Boone

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We’ve eaten at some pretty awesome restaurants in Boone and quickly learned that this mountain town offers more than standard Freshmen fare. With a heavy emphasis on “as local as possible,” the chefs of this college town really know how to feed folks with all sorts of tastes.

You can chow down on expertly crafted sushi, eat game not usually found in restaurants, and get a taste of real Appalachia. And after experiencing some of it all, we want to share our favorite must-eat Boone restaurants with you. 

This post is part of our series covering places to visit in Western North Carolina and NC’s Food & Drink scenes. We originally created it on September 19, 2019.

Restaurants in Boone NC

Disclosure Note

Explore Boone hosted many of the meals we cover here. However, all opinions within this article are our own.

The Cardinal

1711 Highway 105

Restaurants in Boone NC The Cardinal Image

Have you ever eaten emu? How about antelope? Visit the Cardinal and you’ll likely find both on the menu. Committed to providing fresh food that’s as local as possible, you’ll find things at the Cardinal that you’re used to but with a bit of added flair. Try their rotating Wild Game burger for something new and exciting.

And on the other end of the spectrum, non-meat-eaters can chow down on the most delicious beet burger in town! Oh, and don’t forget their cocktails. The owners have a strong bartending background and each glass that comes out looks scrumptious! 

The Gamekeeper

3005 Shulls Mill Rd

If the Cardinal is a casual spot that serves exotic meat, then the Gamekeeper is the fine dining must-eat spot for adventurous foodies. The restaurant is a rustic cabin nestled into the Blue Ridge Mountains between Boone and Blowing Rock. The Gamekeeper accompanies only the freshest ingredients with its humanely farm-raised meats. They know the farmers and foragers and honor their produce by using everything from nose to tail.

Cut into moist Elk served with a shiitake jus and bleu mac or perfectly grilled Bison. While their meats are all worth trying, Chefs Wendy and Ken Gordon take great care in making beautiful and colorful vegetable dishes. 

Lost Province Brewing Co

130 N Depot St

Breweries in Boone NC Lost Province Brewing Co Pizza Image

Lost Province Brewing‘s name honors the time when northwestern North Carolina’s three counties were once known by that moniker because they were so difficult to reach. But just like the olden days, Lost Province Brewing Co’s inventive beers and savory dishes make this a place worth searching for. This is THE downtown brewery and gastropub in Boone and it is always packed.

On the food side, they’re known for amazing wood-fired Neapolitan style pizza. If you walk in midday on a Saturday, you will most definitely have a wait. Check their board to see all of the local farms they’re partnering with to bring you the freshest ingredients available!

Coyote Kitchen

200 Southgate Dr

Boone Restaurants Coyote Kitchen Image

At Coyote Kitchen, this family-run restaurant is serving up unique flavors not found any other place to eat in Boone. A recommended must-try is the Taos Boat. That is made with layers of cornbread, black beans, hormone-free rosemary chicken, sweet potatoes, corn, fried plantains, tomatoes, and jack cheese.

And all of that is topped with their famous chipotle cream cheese. Our waiter at another Boone restaurant told us that it’s so delicious, that he orders extra chipotle cream cheese and chips to take home.

Sunrise Grill

1675 Highway 105 S

Sunrise Grill is Boone’s answer for those seeking the most amazing local breakfast at affordable prices. If you’re feeling special, go for the Flankenstein Benedict and you’ll be treated to house-made bread, goat cheese, spinach, Vidalia Peach hot sauce, and of course, flank steak.

And don’t forget about their Chicken and Waffle Sandwich, either. Honestly, Sunrise Grill is everything I ever would have wanted as a college student!

The Local

179 Howard St

The Local is definitely a spot meant for hanging out and enjoying time with friends. Many folks come for live music, a round of pool, or to watch a game, but you can’t pass up on any of the Local’s tasty dishes, either.

Sit down for a fork-and-knife meal or kick back in the lounge area with one of their expertly crafted cocktails. Dance the night away on Thursday nights and stop in on Mondays for 45 cent wings! 

Proper

142 S Water St

The folks at Proper know their food is better than what you’ll find at home, but don’t worry. They won’t tell your momma. Just don’t let her catch you saying anything about your experience on Facebook! Seriously, though, Proper is where you go for a seasonally curated meal that’s fit for everyone.

Whether you’re stopping in for some Tomato Pie or a bowl of Pintos and Rice, each and every bite is sourced from local farmers and businesses. Don’t overlook the weekday specials and remember that no southern meal is complete without dessert! 

Melanie’s Food Fantasy

664 W King St

Breakfast Boone NC Melanies Food Fantasy Image

Owned under the Stick Boy Bakery umbrella, Melanie’s Food Fantasy has been a Boone restaurant favorite since 1991. If you were looking for a word to describe this place, try “eclectic.” That’s because they have an exciting menu, colorful cloth napkins, thrift store-curated coffee mugs, and a genres-spanning art adorning the walls.

This place is also pet- and kid-friendly, making this the perfect place to bring friends and family and show off the amazing Boone food scene! We really enjoyed their bacon avocado benedict and look forward to returning for more made-to-order yumminess.

CoBo

161 Howard St Suite B

You might not think amazing sushi can be found in the mountains, but that preconception is exactly what Appalachian State finance major Joseph Miller sought to change with CoBo. He apprenticed in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for five years, and brought CO (Colorado) to BO (Boone) with upscale and exciting Japanese delicacies.

His specialty rolls combine his roots with a sushi flare. From the Burning Man of seared tuna, spicy crab, cucumber, and tempura to the Yosef of tuna, Panko shrimp, crab, avocado, Nitzume, and spicy aioli, there is something for every palate. Your experience can move beyond sushi at CoBo with amazing plated dishes. Try their amazing crispy honey duck or hibachi plates for any of your non-seafood eating relatives. 

Stick Boy

345 Hardin St (Bakery) & 211 Boone Heights Drive (Kitchen)

Breakfast Boone NC Stick Boy Bakery Image

If you’ve been out to eat in Boone, you’ve likely seen Stick Boy Bakery appear on the menu. That’s because of their incredible bread, pastries, and baked goods being used by restaurants throughout Boone. The folks at Stick Boy have fed people in the High Country since 2001, starting with a bakery (oh, the cinnamon bun!) and eventually expanding to a second location—Stick Boy Kitchen.

Here, you’ll find more seating and specialty sandwiches. At the kitchen, grab a Salty Hog or a Son of a Gouda and don’t you dare miss the Shut the French Door Toast! Everything is made from scratch daily with the highest quality of ingredients and traditional baking methods that just make you melt like butter on warm toast.

Dan’l Boone Inn

130 Harden St

Dan’l Boone Inn is one of the most talked-about classic restaurants in North Carolina, not just Boone. That’s partly thanks to features in Southern Living and Our State. But above all, it’s because of traditional homecooked meals they’ve been serving for over 50 years. Here, diners enjoy family-style dishes that will leave you stuffed and reminiscing about Sunday dinners at Grandma’s house.

The Inn was once Boone’s first hospital and remains one of the oldest and history-filled buildings in town. Come hungry as you start out with a salad (in the summer) or soup (in the winter). That will be followed by three meats and five vegetables. Try to leave room for dessert because Dan’l Boone Inn gives incredible value for its family meals. 

Note: Dan’l Boone Inn is cash or checks only! Let us know if this changes, though, so we can keep things up to date! 

F.A.R.M Cafe

617 W King St

Restaurants in Boone NC FARM Cafe Inside Image

Eat with a purpose at F.A.R.M. Cafe because this non-profit pay-what-you-can community kitchen serves everyone regardless of their means. With a drive to eliminate hunger, F.A.R.M. strives to provide high-quality and locally sourced meals prepared by volunteers.

Diners are given a suggested but not required donation for each meal. The donation amount covers the cost of the meal but if you are financially able it is encouraged to pay that amount or a little more.

No one will be turned away, but if you are not able to pay for your meal, you can also volunteer time as an exchange. Meals change daily and usually include a soup, entrée, two sides, salad, dessert, and a drink. 

If you love this Boone restaurant as much as we do, you’ll enjoy Executive Chef Renee Boughman’s recipes in this F.A.R.M. Cookbook

 Vidalia

831-835 W King St

If you want a nice night out in town or to impress a date, Vidalia is where you can do both! With an extensive wine and drink list, Vidalia is an upscale bistro that serves North Carolina’s best. Heritage Farms to Joyce Farms are just a couple of places they source from, showing that they keep things local and delicious.

You’ll definitely write home about their chicken and waffles, with southern fried chicken breast, sawmill gravy, and turnip greens all topping sweet potato waffles. Reservations are definitely recommended because this place fills up, for good reason!

Over Yonder

3608 Highway 194, Valle Crucis (Sugar Grove)

I know we’re talking about restaurants in Boone, but Over Yonder in Valle Crucis (Sugar Grove) is where you’ll find one of the most delicious Appalachian kitchens. Everything here is made from scratch, or as they say, “done the hard and stupid way.”

Nothing says Appalachia to me more than a ham flight or cornmeal fried frog legs, and that’s just the beginning at this place. Go for their house-smoked rainbow trout spread, followed by a stewed tomato cobbler. Oh, and please leave room for a slice of peach cobbler served with buttermilk ice cream. 

Final Thoughts on these Restaurants in Boone

Whether you’re hankering for Southern classics or looking to try the best Caribbean soul food in all of North Carolina, these places have your back. No matter which of these restaurants in Boone that you visit, bring your palette what you know or stretch it out with something new. 

16 thoughts on “14 Delicious Restaurants in Boone

  1. AJ says:

    Agree with everything except Daniel Boone Inn! While Boone lacks the culinary “mystique” of Asheville, it has made leaps and bounds in the last 5-6 years in both the quality and variety of its fare. Great post!

    • Dwayne Kuykendall says:

      I married a Boone girl over thirty years ago and am currently staying with her elderly dad here near Boone . If we want to go out to a sit down restaurant we go to either go to Mike’s Inland Seafood in Boone or to Smoky Mountain BBQ in West Jefferson . You won’t find a better seafood restaurant at the coast and Smokey Mountain BBQ can’t be beat . Both are reasonably priced with great quality . What Boone really needs and lacks , is a regular diner where the locals eat everyday . You won’t find that here like in most all towns . Everything here is geared toward tourism and charge high prices you can’t afford everyday . Most of the people that live and work here still cook at home , because eating out here is just to expensive .

  2. Shelley Collier says:

    You left out one of the biggest staples in Boone and one of the best restaurants Cafe Portofino. That should have definitely been on this list.

  3. Kara says:

    Great picks! I went to graduate school in Boone, and loved every minute of living there! Hopefully, I will get back soon to visit.

    • Christina Riley says:

      We went for a beer but didn’t have room for a meal! We’ll definitely stop by for food too next time we’re in town. Thanks, Tiffany!

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