The village of Blowing Rock, in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains, was established in the mid-1800s by Scotch-Irish colonists, hunters, and trappers as a stop on the mountain pass from Virginia to Kentucky. It wasn’t long after when some truly amazing Blowing Rock restaurants began to spring up.
Many families began to build summer homes in and around Blowing Rock to escape the heat of the low lands below. As word of Blowing Rock’s health benefits began to spread, the number of visitors began to grow. First camping, then boarding houses, then major hotels sprang up. Many opulent private estates opened their doors to welcome visitors, eventually turning into grand hotels.
Blowing Rock’s economy soon centered on the many tourists flocking to the high country and providing amenities to keep them there – and to keep them coming back. The Blowing Rock, is North Carolina’s first real “tourist attraction,” bringing visitors to the Blue Ridge Parkway since 1933.
Today, Blowing Rock sits just off the Blue Ridge Parkway at the junction of US Hwys 321 and 221. It offers the best of small-town living for residents and visitors alike – a cool climate, magnificent mountain views, year-round outdoor activities, and the finest accommodations with superb restaurants and shopping.
One of my favorite activities when traveling is to eat and drink. I love discovering unique eateries that showcase the area’s history, culture, and agriculture – places that the locals favor.
Blowing Rock does not disappoint. This is in no way a complete list of all the amazing Blowing Rock restaurants, but just a few of our favorites so far.
The 9 Best Blowing Rock Restaurants
1121 Main Street // 828-295-3155
The first place we ever ate at in Blowing Rock was the Sixpence Pub. First of all, I’m Irish, so any place with a pub in the name is on my radar. Like most authentic pubs, the rich, dark wood is warm and inviting when you walk through the doors. It’s fun to look around the room at all the authentic British style décor.
The Pub serves both American and British fare.
We sat at the spacious bar on our first visit. While waiting for our order, a gentleman came in and sat next to us. Striking up a conversation, he said that he was from Charlotte and that he often drives up to Blowing Rock just to have the fish and chips at Sixpence Pub. My husband was pleased to hear it, as that is what he had ordered.
Inside there is plenty of seating in the main dining area and the expansive bar area has some high-top tables as well. The outdoor patio offers plenty of seating and heaters for the cooler weather.
No matter where you are driving in from, you’ll find great comfort food and cold ale at the Sixpence Pub, one of the best Blowing Rock restaurants to visit.
1182 Main Street // 828-295-7500
The Town Tavern is friendly and upbeat. They call themselves a sports bar, but I feel it’s more than that. It’s that place where you can walk through the doors and instantly feel at home. It’s as though you can hear shouts of “Norm!” when you walk in. And, they do serve some of the best “bar food” I’ve ever tasted.
The Tavern has an eclectic food menu, everything from wings and nachos to burgers, wraps, and specialty sandwiches.
I devoured my fried buffalo shrimp and my husband enjoyed his meatball sub.
They have a fantastic selection of lighter fare as well as a great, reasonably priced kid’s menu. Also, be sure to ask about their specialty (not on the menu) dishes and drinks.
The dining area is very spacious. There are 19 television screens throughout, so every seat is a good place to watch your favorite game. The long, wrap-around bar is a great place to sit, as well as the outside patio area – the largest in Blowing Rock.
Even if sports are not your thing, try this top restaurant in Blowing Rock.
143 Wonderland Trail // 828-295-4008
Off the beaten path but still easy to find, Bistro Roca is a Blowing Rock hidden gem. Upscale but casual, Bistro Roca’s menu includes New American comfort food like lobster mac and cheese, burgers, and pizza cooked fresh in a wood-burning oven.
After being turned away on our first visit – we didn’t have reservations – we returned again and we are ever so glad we did. I started my meal with white wine cream and basil mussels, followed by a house salad, and a Bistro special — shrimp and grits in a bourbon red-eye gravy, paired with an Argentina Malbec glass of wine. My husband rated his bacon-cheddar burger one of the best.
Seating is spacious in the main dining area. There is also a bar area and a cozy sun-porch type room. All the rooms have a comfortable vibe.
Open for lunch and dinner by reservation only. For some of the best casual dining in Blowing Rock, look for Bistro Roca.
155 Sunset Drive // 828-414-9354
It’s the best seafood in the High Country, some say. Just the name invites visions of good ol’ southern, low country cooking. The menu covers most of the south and then some, including New England clam chowder and lobster tails.
For starters try some alligator bites, Cajun crawfish, or fried calamari.
Soups include she-crab, chowder, and gumbo.
Can’t get any better than entrees like crab cakes, jambalaya, and shrimp and grits. Then there’s steamed pots, fried platters, oysters; you name it.
Someone in your group, not a seafood lover? Not to worry, Savannah’s has burgers, chicken tenders, and a great kid’s menu, too.
Specials include All You Can Eat Snow Crab Legs on Tuesdays and Endless Steamed Shellfish on Fridays. Outdoor seating is spacious on the two-tiered patio. Open daily. For a seafood spot among Blowing Rock restaurants, Savannah’s is your place.
185 Chetola Lake Drive // 828-295-5572
One of our favorite places, Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Resort, is housed in a historical building, once the Manor House when Chetola was a private estate. The elegant home was remodeled by North Carolina’s own Bob Timberlake, a world-renowned artist, and designer.
The distinctive menu is also inspired by Timberlake’s love of food.
Start with a charcuterie board, fresh spring berry salad, or Asian quinoa salad.
Favorite entrees include grilled Canadian salmon and Angus NY strip steak.
I thoroughly enjoyed my Fisherman’s Pie; shrimp, scallops, and salmon in white wine cheddar bechamel with a mashed potato crust, while my husband savored his Sweet Tea Brined Pork Rib Eye.
Timberlake’s features three comfortable dining rooms, an intimate wine room, and waterfront dining on the patio. Open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, whether you are a guest at Chetola Resort or somewhere else. Live music on weekend evenings.
For fine dining in Blowing Rock, in an elegant, historic restaurant, try Timberlake’s.
922 Main Street // 828-295-9819
Specializing in fresh-caught North Carolina trout and other regional dishes, the Speckled Trout takes pride in the local farm-to-table ingredients on their menu.
In addition to their signature trout dishes, the menu at this Blowing Rock restaurant includes innovative dishes such as trout nachos and tacos, as well as grass-fed beef burgers and steaks.
They also have vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Their bottle shop has an impressive selection of wine including local rose and homegrown farm beer.
Housed in a renovated 1950s gas station, you can’t miss the giant wooden wine cask on the corner of Main Street and US Hwy 221.
The Speckled Trout has a spacious covered outdoor patio. There is live music every Thursday night. Closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
8180 Valley Blvd (US Hwy 321) // 828-295-7262
Passing by, Foggy Rock looks like a hunting cabin. It’s actually a local family-owned restaurant serving up great classic food with a twist, featuring an eclectic assortment of small plates (they had me at crispy fried Brussels sprouts) and thirteen different salads.
The menu continues with yummy Phillys and other sandwiches, burgers, and pasta. The entrees are off the charts with trout, salmon, and bourbon pork chops.
Inside, Foggy Rock looks and feels like a cabin too, with worn wood, shiplap walls, and a tin ceiling. Old black and white family photos adorn the walls.
Warm and friendly, it’s a place I want to go back to with friends. Seating in the main dining room has both tables with chairs and comfy booths. In the bar, there are more tables along with a lengthy bar with several TVs.
There are not that many great American restaurants in Blowing Rock, so make sure you stop in at Foggy Rock.
8304 Valley Blvd (US Hwy 321) // 828-295-3651
A fun-filled, family, come-as-you-are-eatery. Start your meal with corn nuggets and pigtails (curly fries). Fresh off the smoker is all your favorites – pork, beef, chicken, and ribs.
Woodland’s specializes in traditional North Carolina BBQ pork, but they also serve up plenty of nachos, wings, sandwiches, burgers, and burritos. All this, complete with traditional BBQ sides and dessert. A very reasonable kid’s menu, too.
Open since 1977, Woodland’s is a rustic and comfortable BBQ place with long wooden tables and benches. Relax with a drink, watch sports, or play darts in the bar lounge.
They have daily drink specials and nightly music. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays during winter months.
For barbecue in Blowing Rock, stop here!
152 Sunset Drive // 828-414-9600
No list of mine is complete without at least one brewpub (brewery and eatery). Blowing Rock Brewery completes my list. Crafting the highest quality mountain artisan beer, Blowing Rock Brewery is located on Sunset Drive just off Main Street. Closed Monday through Wednesday
Their Ale House menu, like their beer, changes seasonally, using only the freshest local and organic ingredients.
The menu includes grub pub favorites such as soft baked pretzels and Ale House chips, both served with Ashe County Cheddar Beer Cheese.
The mouth-watering bison chili and burger are as good as the Angus beef burgers. The menu rounds out with fresh seasonal salads and distinctive sandwiches.
With all these great Blowing Rock restaurants, the only question is, which one (or two) will become your favorite?
Which of these Blowing Rock restaurants do you most want to try? Let us know in the comments section below!
Loretta Berry is a freelance travel writer and photographer. She loves discovering new places and experiencing the local food and drink. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States.
She is a wife, mother of four, and grandmother of five. She loves traveling with her kids and grandkids, sharing with them her passion for fun, food, and adventure. She is a member of ITWPA and IFWTWA. You can find her on both Facebook and Instagram to follow her travels.