Fayetteville, North Carolina, is called “America’s hometown” and filled with patriotism, history, fun, and great Fayetteville NC restaurants. In terms of population, the town stands at about 213,000, and the Fayetteville metro area at about 526,000. Two quite popular suburban areas of metro Fayetteville are Hope Mills (home of the wildly popular Dirtbag Ales Farmers Market) and Fort Bragg (the largest US Army base).
Fayetteville was the first US city named in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette and the only namesake which he actually visited. You can follow the 12 bronze markers of the “Lafayette Trail” to learn the historical significance of each place. The horse-drawn carriage he rode in is displayed near marker nine at the Fayetteville Independent Light Infantry Armory and Museum. A bodyguard of his named Isham Blake is buried at marker eleven, Cross Creek Cemetery.
History abounds here with nine designated historic districts and 17 cultural heritage trails that cover everything from African-American heritage to second-hand treasures. One of my favorites is the historic architecture tour. This includes the famous Market House, where North Carolina ratified the Constitution of the United States in 1789.
Another fabulous place is the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum, built in 1890. Here you can see a baseball signed by Babe Ruth, who hit his first professional home run in Fayetteville in 1914. The supposedly haunted stops along this trail include Cool Spring Tavern, Kyle House, and Sandford House. By the way, foodie lovers, there is even a trail for international cuisine restaurants.
While in town, you will want to see the Rose Garden, Mazarick Park, the North Carolina Veterans Park, and the Airborne and Special Operations Museum. You could quite easily spend several days marveling at all there is to explore in Fayetteville. Thank goodness you will find fantastic food is waiting to be discovered and savored. Here are my recommendations for the best restaurants in Fayetteville.
Visiting other destinations in North Carolina? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 13 Must-Try Restaurants in Mooresville, NC
- 11 Must-Try Restaurants in Manteo, North Carolina
- 13 Best Restaurants in Lexington, North Carolina
- 8 Must-Try Boone NC Restaurants
7 Best Fayetteville NC Restaurants
310 Hay Street // (910) 860-4700
New foods and new experiences have been a mission and a reality at Blue Moon Café for over 15 years. This is a hip and happening hot spot, where good food on colorful plating meets art, fashion, and music in magnificent ways.
Frequent themed events here, such as teas, brunches, and drag bingo, keep folks guessing what on earth could be next. It is a fun and friendly café with cute décor inside and a patio out front.
The seasonal menu is sure to please even the most finicky eater. The ample two-toned charcuterie board comes loaded with prosciutto, salami, brie, goat cheese, preserves, tapenade, mandarin oranges, house-made pickles, and crostinis. It is so yummy.
I spoke with several locals who rave about Blue Moon Café’s tapas, tacos, and the breakfast croissant with scrambled eggs, bacon, and cheddar. Others are big fans of beer, wine, and a wide variety of creative cocktails.
Owners Josh and Nate, as well as managers Kirk and Mei Lani, point out that from vegan gyros made with jackfruit and BLT’s built inside puff pastries to non-alcoholic gimlets and avocado-based margaritas, there will always be something that reminds you of home with a spin.
1122 Person Street // (910) 491-0568
Shop for a new fishing pole while your food is being prepared, and check out the cute checkerboard floor. Or you could catch a view of the Cape Fear River. You may see local produce being sold outside or even get a whiff of today’s barbequed chicken that’s cooking on the outdoor grill. At Deep Creek Grill, there is always something different to see and lots of great food to eat.
Some folks grab breakfast starting at 7 am since the location is convenient for downtown workers. Others look forward to the daily lunch specials. But most loyal locals swear that the foodie prize goes to the Deep Creek Chicken Cheesesteak that includes chicken, steak, onion, peppers, mushrooms, and provolone cheese.
To me, the best bet is the cheeseburger with sides of fried okra and onion rings. I was told that next time I visit, I should really try the barbeque sandwich topped with slaw.
And, oh my goodness, some of those desserts like a blueberry cobbler or banana pudding do look great. There is also a selection of Hershey’s ice cream from which to choose. Whatever the meal, this is one of the best restaurants in Fayetteville.
5052 Yadkin Road // (910) 867-2227
Since 2011, Fayetteville has been fortunate to have one of the most beautiful and authentic Vietnamese restaurants I’ve ever seen. The owner, the art, and the recipes are all native to Vietnam.
I was smiling even before stepping inside due to the bright flowers and pretty umbrellas at the outdoor seating area. Then the combined beauty of every intricate detail on the interior completely captivated me. The artwork of graceful Vietnamese women in long flowing dresses was next to hanging racks of glass stemware and surrounded by flowers of pink and yellow.
Appetizing aromas of pho, calamari, and seafood clay pot were enough to make anyone salivate. I devoured fresh spring rolls and fantastic fried egg rolls, then savored the delicious Vietnamese iced coffee. Grilled Ginger is one restaurant worth visiting repeatedly and part of Fayetteville’s International Cuisine Trail.
528 N McPherson Church Road // (910) 864-1810
Luigi’s began in the 1950s. The legacy and literal lifeblood loomed large with a tragedy in 1993. Love of family and community allowed the laudable landmark to flourish and become the legendary location for lunch and libation in Fayetteville that it is today.
Of course, Luigi’s does much more than lunch. It is an award-winning place for wine tasting, fine dining, and celebrations of every kind. The owners and entire staff are big on philanthropy and believe in giving back to the loyal patrons. They strive to make the community a better place to live.
On the evening of my visit, I started with a marvelous watermelon martini. This was followed by a succulent shrimp cocktail.
I had classic homemade lasagne so huge that I ended up taking half of it to go when I left. The entire experience was exceptional. I hope to try other favorites like veal piccata or ravioli pomodoro at my next opportunity. Luigi’s is part of the International Cuisine Trail. For great Italian food in Fayetteville, Luigi’s is your destination.
4150 Sycamore Dairy Road // (910) 867-9223
Is it a restaurant or a microbrewery? Luckily for Fayetteville, the answer is both! Mash House serves steaks, burgers, and other excellent food. Their craft beers are award winners, and the staff will proudly point out the awards hanging on the wall. Locally sourced ingredients are every bit as important as are tours of the onsite brewery.
Between my server Matt and the bar manager Donnie, all my questions were answered. I started off with a hard peach cider which was sweet and delicious. The Jambalaya Our Way was a pleasant surprise for two reasons. It is prepared Creole style (with tomatoes) and has grits instead of rice.
The Big Bad Butterscotch Brownie includes spiced rum caramel and is topped with coffee ice cream. That alone would make a visit totally worthwhile. The Mash House motto is Live Life Full, and they are open from noon on Saturday and Sunday and from 4 pm weekdays. Visitors from all over have been making Mash House a great place to eat in Fayetteville, North Carolina, for over twenty years.
227 Hay Street // (910) 223-7833
What does a condemned building have to do with coffee? During the revitalization of historic downtown Fayetteville, one lovely old building was saved and became Rude Awakening. The owners are serious about preservation, inclusion, and coffee.
The coffeehouse first got my attention due to the bright purple exterior with outdoor seating space. Each staff member has a positive attitude and a passion for being a barista. They are quick to recommend other locally owned businesses that a tourist may wish to visit. They are also organic, green, and open every day of the week.
Rude Awakening collaborates with others to provide a wide array of gifts, snacks, and desserts. Locals rave about the frozen coffee ice cubes, cheesecakes, and rock candy. I prefer the lunchtime brown bag special with a fruit smoothie.
536 N Eastern Blvd // (910) 486-0221
One of the least thought of lunch places in Fayetteville is actually also one of the most beautiful. Tuesday through Saturday, from 11 am until 2 pm, visitors of the Cape Fear Botanical Garden can enjoy soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts as they sit outside under the yellow patio umbrellas. What a tranquil place to take in the view of the pond and countless plants and flowers.
Inside, there is seating for 16, while the outside pavilion seats 36. The favorite meal is Panini Smoked Havarti cheese w/ Hot Pepper Jelly served with caramelized onions on sourdough with garlic butter. The broccoli salad is phenomenal! Weekly special desserts such as Key Lime cake are a wonderful way to finish off a lovely meal.
After lunch, tour the lovely 80 acres and enjoy many of the fun and educational events. There is so much to see as nature’s splendor surrounds you.
The McCauley Heritage Garden features 19th-century structures such as a farmhouse and tobacco barn along with an adorable vegetable garden.
The Daylily Garden is one of the most spectacular sights you could ever wish to see. Most questions are answered on their extensive website. Or call ahead and speak with any of the friendly and knowledgeable staff. As you plan your visit to the Garden View Café & Deli at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, remember to bring a hardy appetite and a good camera.
So there it is; a summary of the seven best restaurants in Fayetteville, NC. Try any or all of them; you won’t be disappointed.
Which of these best Fayetville NC restaurants do you most want to try? Let us know in the comments section below!
Angela worked in radio and counseling until taking arthritic disability. She now writes about exuberant people, places, food, and art in the southern United States. Her travel website is EmbraceSouthernStates. When not traveling or writing, she can usually be found at home in Florida painting or playing with her dog Gizmo.