Last Updated on January 8, 2023
Last Updated on January 8, 2023
Whether you’re traveling to Burke County for some outdoor activities or happen to be driving on I-40 near Asheville, we highly recommend the many local restaurants in Morganton, North Carolina that await!
After years of visits and random stops, this collection of places to eat in Morganton and nearby will cover any culinary need. We’ve also created a few bonuses in nearby towns Connelly Springs, Valdese, and Linville Falls.
And since we’re as hungry as you are after creating this guide, let’s get to our favorite Burke County eats starting with the biggest town and county seat.
List of Restaurants in Morganton and Nearby (and Map)
We offer more details about these places to eat in Morganton and in a few surrounding towns in Burke County. For now, here’s a list of them:
- Abele’s Family Restaurant
- Apple Hill Orchard
- Asian Fusion Kitchen
- Blue 42’s Burger Bar
- Bones Jones Burgers and Butchery
- Boulevard Barbeque
- Buck’s Pizza
- Carolina Smoke Legendary Barbeque
- El Portal Mexican Grill
- The Grind Café
- Hillman Beer (Coming Soon!)
- Homers Soda Shop
- Kin2kin Sushi Bar & Japanese Restaurant
- Limbertwig Cafe
- Little Guatemala
- Moondog Pizza
- Mountain Burrito
- Pho Lao
- Root & Vine
- Stoney Place Cafe
- Swede’s Café
- Toasted and Rolled Bakery & Ice Cream
- The Town Tavern of Morganton
- Uncle Eees Hamburgers
- Connelly Springs
- JD’s Smokehouse
- Linville Falls
- Famous Louise’s Rockhouse Restaurant
- The Levee Brewery & Pub
- Twin Brothers Pizza
You can visually plan your food in Morganton adventures with our Western North Carolina Map.
Abele’s Family Restaurant
Address: 2115 S Sterling St, Morganton, NC
Abele’s Family Restaurant is open all day and serves delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert to all patrons. Their breakfast offerings include waffles, eggs, and a full breakfast bar.
In addition to daily morning breakfast, come out on Friday nights for Late Night Breakfast Buffet from 8:00 pm until 11:00 pm.
Abele’s also has a full lunch and dinner menu with weekend specials, salads, burgers, ribs, pasta, and just about any Southern meal imaginable. What makes Abele’s really special, however, is their in-house ice cream shop.
You can’t leave Abele’s without topping off your meal with an old-fashioned sundae made with Hershey’s ice cream.
Apple Hill Orchard
Address: 2075 Pleasant Hill Ave, Morganton, NC
Apple Hill Orchard is a unique pick among our favorite restaurants in Morganton, as you may know it for apple picking. This local business is open from mid-August through Christmas, but during that time, a lot of deliciousness awaits inside.
The Farmhouse Bakery at Apple Hill Orchard is packed with delicious apple cider donuts, pies, and 22 varieties of bread to choose from! They also grow apples and peaches on-site and sell them during the season.
Asian Fusion Kitchen
Address: 402 W Fleming Dr B, Morganton, NC
Asian Fusion Kitchen is a lovely Southeast Asian restaurant in Morganton, one of the best in the area. The eatery’s vivid and colorful interior creates an electric atmosphere and is the perfect introduction.
Have a seat and warm up your palette with a plate of dumplings followed by an entrée of egg rolls, Pad Thai noodles, or curry. We’re suckers for all of the above and think Asian Fusion Kitchen belongs on your “visit next” list.
Blue 42’s Burger Bar
Address: 831 W Union St, Morganton, NC
What can be better than sports and burgers? Blue 42’s Burger Bar knows what it’s doing when it pairs these two wonderful things together.
Their menu is sports-inspired, with cleverly named burgers like “Carolina Blue” and “All American,” as well as Philly cheesesteaks, fries, sandwiches, and more.
A variety of games pairs perfectly with their delicious food, guaranteeing both sports and food lovers will enjoy a meal at Blue 42’s.
Bones Jones Burgers and Butchery
Address: 3221 NC-126, Morganton, NC
If you’re looking for food near Lake James, look no further than Bones Jones Burgers & Butchery. This place offers some of Morganton’s best food and craftiest adult beverages.
One thing we especially love is their support of local farmers. Not only is this great for the community, but food sourced nearby tastes better in our opinion.
Don’t you agree?
Address: 810 S College St, Morganton, NC
Boulevard Barbecue was founded in 2019 by two Mount Airy natives who had 17 combined years of experience in the restaurant industry. Since then, Boulevard BBQ has soared toward claiming the area’s “best barbecue” prize.
One thing that distinguishes Boulevard BBQ is that they slow cook their fresh pork for sixteen hours in Hickory wood. Additionally, all original sauces are made in-house by their own “smokeologist.”
You can also choose beyond barbecue from their expansive menu that includes mouthwatering wings, sandwiches, chicken tenders, and more.
Address: 305 East Union Street, Morganton, NC
The very first Buck’s Pizza opened in 1994 in Dubois, Pennsylvania. From there, the company expanded into many franchises across the East Coast and into Texas. There are only two franchises in North Carolina, and one of those is in Morganton!
Morganton’s Buck’s Pizza is a great place to stop by for a no-stress meal. One of their great selling points is their pizza sizes–everything from two slices to twelve!
Build your personal pizza, pick from a specialty pizza, or try their pasta, stromboli, or wings. Just make sure you finish the night with a dessert pizza!
Carolina Smoke Legendary Barbeque
Address: 101 Steakhouse Rd, Morganton, NC
We first encountered Carolina Smoke Legendary Barbeque when they were parked along NC-181 toward the Linville Gorge. The only thing that’s changed is that they’ve moved closer to I-40 (Exit 106).
That means this place still serves some of the best food in Morganton. Come here for low and slow wood-smoked meat, including barbecue, burgers, and more!
El Portal Mexican Grill
Address: A136, Morganton Heights Blvd, Morganton, NC
There are some great Mexican restaurants in Morganton and we may not cover them all, but El Portal Mexican Grill will not be overlooked. Open since 1997; this is the oldest Mexican restaurant in Burke County!
This place is great for lunch and dinner, with some amazing huevos rancheros and huevos con chorizo if you’d like a late breakfast. You can also enjoy classics like burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and more at El Portal Mexican Grill.
The Grind Café
Address: 136 W Union St, Morganton, NC
Nestled in downtown Morganton, The Grind Café is a relaxing place to begin your day with a coffee and some breakfast from its extensive menu.
Along with breakfast, The Grind Café also has a lunch menu and a Saturday-only brunch menu.
Whether you’re stopping for just a drink or digging in for a burrito or a quiche, or you want to spend some time in this dynamic space, this café has something for everyone.
Hillman Beer (Coming Soon!)
Address: 212 S Green St, Morganton, NC
We were sad to see Catawba Brewing leave Morganton but Hillman Beer is a nice replacement. This is a family-owned business based in Asheville, with a second location in Old Fort about 40 minutes away from Morganton.
We appreciate a lot about this business, especially because they’ve brought back the pub experience to North Carolina breweries.
At Hillman, you’ll find a variety of IPAs, stouts, wines/ciders from local partners, and more favorites. You can also grab something to go on your way out.
Food options include small bites, some of the best wings you’ll eat, salads, sandwiches and burgers, and even seasonal desserts.
Homer’s Soda Shop
Address: 113 East Union Street, Morganton, NC
Vibrant, lively, and energetic, Homer’s Soda Shop is a modern cocktail bar that also offers a brunch and food menu. Homer’s is a great place to come for an evening cocktail and their Sunday brunch is unmatched.
The cocktail menu features drinks infused with agave nectar, cold brew, smoked rosemary, and more.
Kin2kin Sushi Bar & Japanese Restaurant
Address: 103 S Green St. Morganton, NC
Adding to Morganton’s international cuisine scene is Kin2kin, a Japanese restaurant and sushi bar. In addition to a large sushi menu, Kin2kin also specializes in hibachi and teriyaki.
The restaurant is only open for dinner from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm, and every Sunday and Monday, they have a Sushi Happy Hour. You had us at “Sushi Happy Hour,” but there’s even more.
From 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm, selected veggie rolls and traditional rolls are half-price, making this a perfect low-budget meal.
Address: 104 W Union St, Morganton, NC
We once stopped by Limbertwig for lunch and quickly fell in love with this locally-owned sandwich shop. Another great downtown Morganton restaurant, the menu includes tasty wraps, salads, and soups all made fresh to order.
There are some great options to try, so make sure you come back and enjoy the whole menu. It’s a fun culinary adventure!
Address: 810 E Union St, Morganton, NC
There’s a large Guatemalan population in the area and Little Guatemala is one place that brings them together with the rest of the community. We don’t want to downplay the food here, but beyond the restaurant, you’ll find Guatemalan coffee, chocolate, crafts, and an indoor soccer field.
Of course, it all comes back to the food, and there’s plenty to enjoy here. Street food favorites include taquitos and tostadas, but you can also dig into breakfast, lunch (pupusas!), and sides at Little Guatemala.
Address: 304 S Sterling St, Morganton, NC
Moondog Pizza serves, as the name suggests, delicious pizza. Moondog uses only local and quality ingredients when they prepare their signature pizzas such as the Primo, a discounted 6-topping pizza, and the Moondoggery, a savory pizza that melts in your melt.
They offer more than pizza, and you can order a side of fries, garlic knots, a sandwich, and a drink, all for a meal perfect for the whole family.
Address: 408 W Fleming Dr, Morganton, NC
Fulfill all your taco cravings at Mountain Burrito, one of the best fusion places to eat in town. Mountain Burrito offers Mexican cuisine with an Appalachian twist.
You can build your own burrito or taco with local ingredients like the hummus of the day. Bowls here are also very tasty, so don’t count them out!
No matter what you order, you’re guaranteed to have a great meal at this cool mountain restaurant.
Address: 1239 Burkemont Ave, Morganton, NC
Pho Lao is another great addition to the list of Southeast Asian restaurants in Morganton. There’s a nice mix of Thai, Vietnamese, and Lao dishes at this eatery.
A heaping bowl of Pho with your choice of meat and tasty broth is one of many great options. Of course, you can’t go wrong with Pad See Ew (wide rice noodles with veggies and protein), the familiar Pad Thai, spring rolls, and Thai iced coffee at this restaurant.
Root & Vine
Address: 139 W Union St, Morganton, NC
A classy yet homey restaurant in downtown Morganton, Root & Vine was created with one word in mind: value. A little over ten years ago, Root & Vine opened with the goal of cooking with quality ingredients and providing a quality atmosphere.
Chef Brian Miller has worked at some of the area’s finest spots. Chef Miller’s cooking takes inspiration from Southern cuisine while infusing French techniques for an unforgettable dining experience.
Sit down for wood-fired pizza, salmon, trout, and other upscale entrees.
Stoney Place Cafe
Address: 107 Stoney Place, Morganton, NC
A newer eatery in Burke County is Stoney Place Cafe. This restaurant offers a variety of made-from-scratch goods that all hit the spot.
Co-owners Felicia Austin and Lorrie Hoglen started with a limited menu and have enjoyed great success.
Stop by and order a salad, a sandwich, a pastry, or something else from their tasty menu.
Address: 116 W Union St, Morganton, NC
Located above the Morganton General Store, Swede’s Café has been serving the community breakfast and lunch for years. Stop by for a honey vanilla cortado, frozen chai, or just a good old cup of coffee.
The breakfast and lunch menus are also quite impressive, with French toast, a scrambled egg bowl, and sandwiches to start your day.
Be sure to ask about the scones made fresh daily!
Toasted and Rolled Bakery & Ice Cream
Address: 109 North Sterling St, Morganton, NC
Toasted and Rolled provided us with an amazing experience the first time we visited to take photos of their unique ice cream delights. We keep coming back for them and the other yummy bakery items and desserts available.
Whether you’re seeking a beautiful and decadent milkshake, a similarly creative sundae, or anything else, we highly recommend you stop by this shop.
The Town Tavern of Morganton
Address: 315 Sanford Dr, Morganton, NC
The Town Tavern of Morganton sits along the Catawba River and is one of our favorite places to eat near Morganton’s downtown. This sports bar and restaurant is open every day for lunch, dinner, and later.
Along with delicious food, they have a 45-inch flat-screen TV and the area’s largest outdoor dining area. It’s a great spot to visit before and after a walk along the river, too!
Uncle Eees Hamburgers
Address: 160 S Sterling St, Morganton, NC
Nothing is better than a good meal of burgers, fries, and a milkshake, and that’s exactly what Uncle Eees offers! Uncle Eees is a well-loved Morganton establishment that has been around for years.
The building was previously Jakes Hamburgers until 2019, but the food is still as good as ever.
After exploring Morganton and its surroundings, swing by Uncle Eees for a hearty dinner that won’t disappoint.
Connelly Springs Restaurants
Burke County is pretty big and these Connelly Springs restaurants near Morganton are a testament to the area’s great food scene!
Address: 500 Malcolm Blvd, Connelly Springs, NC
Try some of Burke County’s best BBQ at JD’s Smokehouse! We first discovered JD’s when heading home from Morganton and consider this to be one of the best barbecue spots in Western NC.
JD’s wood-smokes all their meat, including pulled pork, brisket, chicken, and ribs. Everything is so good here that we recommend bringing the whole family so you can try a little bit of everything!
Linville Falls Restaurants
Famous Louise’s Rockhouse
Address: 23175 221 Linville Falls Highway, Newland, NC
Famous Louise’s Rockhouse Restaurant is a unique restaurant in many ways, but mostly because it’s shared by three counties—Avery County, Burke County, and McDowell County.
No matter which side you sit on, the food is still delicious, but especially so if you’re on the Burke County side. We’ve enjoyed many great breakfasts and dinners here and hope you’ll stop by this iconic restaurant at some point, too!
We were sad to see Old World Bakery close down and hope their space is filled in by someone as special as they were. Here are a few more Valdese restaurants that deserve a visit from you.
The Levee Brewery & Pub
Address: 118 Main St W, Valdese, NC
Valdese is home to some great restaurants and we’ll start with the Levee Brewery & Pub. Their hand-crafted beer is worthy of a visit but if you dig into their food menu, you’ll find some top-notch eats.
Flatbread pizzas, sandwiches, and light snacks complement an assortment of yummy dessert options. We say this a lot but this is one place that we can’t wait to revisit!
Address: 212 Main St W, Valdese, NC
Myra’s prides itself on serving the best burgers in Valdese. Enjoy a filling burger or sandwich with sides of onion rings and fries.
One of the best things about eating at Myra’s means you can’t leave without some ice cream!
Their signature soft-serve ice cream comes plain, in a banana split, hot fudge sundae, parfait, or in a milkshake. It’s an unbeatable experience.
Twin Brothers Pizza
Address: 719 Main St E, Valdese, NC
We finish this guide covering restaurants in Morganton and nearby with a locally-owned pizza restaurant in the heart of Valdese. Twin brothers Danny and Darin Glenn (hence the name) dish out New York-style pizzas with local ingredients.
Beyond delectable pizzas, you can order calzones, wings, subs, and plenty of options for kids. There are even more food options to enjoy here, so you should probably just come and check it out for yourself.
You won’t be sorry!
What are Your Favorite Places to Eat in Morganton and Nearby?
We’ve enjoyed many of these restaurants in downtown Morganton and beyond during various weekend getaways and quick stops. Hopefully, you’ll get to know them, too.
If you’re familiar with the yummy food in Morganton and elsewhere in Burke County, we’d love to know about your favorite places to eat. Let us know in the comments or by email.
Don’t forget to share your adventures in our North Carolina Travel Facebook Group.
Beyond Morganton Restaurants (NC Travel Guides)
We’re hungry after writing this guide but wanted you to know that we’ve created many more NC Travel Guides beyond our favorite restaurants in Morganton and nearby!
Here are a few of them.