Dining out in Boone NC restaurants these days is quite different than, let’s say, ten years ago.
Once a sleepy university town, it has swelled in growth and evolved into a small, sophisticated hamlet located in the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina’s High Country.
Boone was given its name in honor of the infamous frontiersman Daniel Boone.
Although, Daniel Boone was not born in the area (he was born in and around the Yadkin River valley), his family spent a fair amount of time hunting in the Boone area and had a small cabin to accommodate such outings!
You can still find remnants of the stone structure at a monument erected in his honor on Appalachian State University’s campus.
I grew up across the state line in Tennessee, learning to ski in nearby Beech Mountain. Boone was the closest town at that time; well, more like a wide gap in the road.
Today that gap has certainly widened. When I returned to the area a few years ago, the growth was quite astounding, boosted by the expansion of ASU and its popularity as a liberal arts university.
Downtown Boone centers around King Street, with upscale boutiques, bars, cafes, and mountain stores. And now, with the addition of the Horton Hotel, bringing a splash of panache to the area.
Boone’s restaurant scene has expanded its waistline to meet the needs of students, faculty, and now a large number of tourists. And with this diversity of population comes diversity of restaurants.
There are many places to eat in Boone, and a full list of Boone’s best places to eat would be fairly comprehensive.
Below are some of my favorite Boone restaurants. Although Southern fare is prominent, Boone delivers a broad scope of diversity in its restaurants and is fortunate to be surrounded by outstanding farms and artisan producers.
A fabulous and well-organized Farmers’ Market which operates year-round offers this bounty to Boone’s residents and restaurants. Boone restaurants take pride in supporting local purveyors and broadly display their talents using top-notch ingredients.
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
- The Best Chapel Hill Restaurants NC & 11 Best Things To Do In Chapel Hill
- 8 Must-Try Outer Banks NC Restaurants
The Best 8 Boone NC Restaurants
142 Water Street // 828-865-5000
This restaurant is housed in the old Boone Jailhouse, built-in 1889, and now the only government building remaining from that era.
Proper pays homage to traditional Southern fare, curating from scratch comfort style foods in a historical cafe setting.
Using local area farms makes for pleasing plates of Fried Chicken, Meatloaf, and my favorite vegetable selections to make a seasonal vegetable plate.
A grande twist on a Croque Monsieur and Blue plate-like specials for every day of the week keeps Boone residents and tourists coming back.
All meals are served with homemade cornbread or biscuit. They have a decent wine and cocktail list covering all the bases to suit your tastes. Do not forget dessert, or take it to go as their portions are large. Great pies, cakes, or crumbles are usually in the case to choose from.
For a veteran or someone exposed to Southern foods for the first time, Proper is one of the best places to eat in Boone.
130 N Depot Street // 828-265-3506
Boone being a university town lends itself to having a few breweries around, and you will not be disappointed if you visit Lost Province, one of the best Boone NC Restaurants.
Among several good breweries, Lost Province is my favorite.
Lost Province’s name comes from a period after the Civil War when the counties of Watauga, Ashe, and Alleghany were considered lost due to their geographical and economical isolation.
When entering the Brewery, you cannot help but notice its gigantic copper-domed pizza oven.
Also, with the focus on local ingredients, they source a majority of their meats and produce from local farms. It makes for exceptional pizzas and other dishes.
We always start out snacking on the smoky wood-fired wings and olives. There is a well-curated selection of meats and cheeses with house-made accouterments to build a charcuterie board.
Pizza rules here, but the Pub Fare is delicious too! Try the Big Red or Rosti pies or the wild mushroom with rosemary oil for something unique. Burgers, sandwiches, and fish and chips give options if not in the mood for pizza.
They also prepare their scratch-made bread in the wood-fired oven and offer it for sale. Don’t miss their daily specials as they feature seasonal produce on pizzas, salads, and homemade soups.
Of course, the beer has a large following, and they offer several seasonal ales and brews to accommodate a wide range of tastes. Two of our favs are the Bless your Heart, a Blonde Ale, and the Lost Province house I.P.A.
This Brewery is very casual and welcomes families and beer connoisseurs alike.
They have live music on the weekends and a small outdoor patio in warmer months. For great pizza in Boone, or many other appetizers and meals, this is one of the best Boone NC restaurants to try.
465 Industrial Park Dr // 828-278-8006
Meager beginnings in a small space in a strip mall have led this brewery to expand to a large and well-designed full-scale brewpub on Eastern Boone’s outskirts.
A lodge-style feel with an inviting patio greets you upon arrival. Boonshine is a favorite local hangout with ample room for kids and dogs. A large fire pit keeps it toasty on cooler days.
The menu has a bit of everything. Collaborating with a local bakery in Boone, the beer pretzel is a popular item.
The soft pretzel, which is made with Booneshine beer, is slathered in beer butter and served with an array of different toppings. Did I say beer? They also have a beer cheese dip just in case you want more beer!!
Other selections can lean towards the healthy side with grain bowls and salads which, as Boone does so well, feature local farms’ produce.
Burgers and chicken sandwiches, flatbreads, and Quesadillas round out a full menu.
A large brewing facility pumps out some delicious global brews from German-style pilsners and Double Belgian Ales scented with blood orange.
The sour made with ginger is indeed tasty, as well as their oatmeal stouts.
Other libations stand out too, like ciders from local cider house, Molly Chomper, and wines from Urban Winery in Asheville, which features local and regionally grown grapes with little to no interference.
And they even make their sparkling sodas using cider, ginger, and tea.
If Boone gives you a lovely day, it’s a definite go-to for sipping on a craft brew! Good food in Boone; good craft beer in Boone. You get both in one stop at Booneshine, a great example of the Boone NC Restaurants.
831 W King Street // 828-263-9176
Locally owned, this bistro-style restaurant and wine bar offer upscale southern fare, hence Vidalia’s name.
The infamous sweet onion, originally from Vidalia, Georgia, shows up on the menu as a crispy onion ring appetizer or as tasty toppings on burgers and the barrel cut Ribeye.
A funky twist on a Bao Bun stuffed with locally made sausage and Vidalia onions is a fun starter. Seared Salmon and Grilled Tuna entrees are seafood options
An extensive and impressive wine list with global representation is available, and some local N.C. wines, ciders, and beers! Vidalia is a great date night spot and or to gather with friends.
They also offer a patio for dining out in the summer months.
125 Graduate Lane // 828-865-0087
This is a fairly new addition to the Boone dining scene.
A sister restaurant to Reid’s in Banner Elk (which I write about in my article on restaurants in that area), the vast space encompasses the restaurant and butcher bar and catering and event services.
It also serves as a prep kitchen for their food truck, “Betty’s Biscuits.”
The Beacon slants its menu to Italian fare, with a nod to Appalachian ingredients. They prepare house-made pasta and pizza Napolitano style.
One standout dish is the whole roasted fish, a market selection, depending on what is available from the North Carolina coast!
The bar has a creative cocktail list and a focus on natural wines from Italy.
The Butcher Bar Market features hand-cut steaks, sausages, and cured meats. The market offers freshly baked artisan bread loaves, a variety of cheeses, olives, and other specialty items! For a taste of Italy in a Boone restaurant, make sure you check out Reid’s. It’s one of the best Boone NC Restaurants.
Please Note: The market has just recently reopened, so not all items are available.
161 W Howard St // 828-386-1201
Sushi in the Mountains? Yes, indeed and CoBo delivers on all points.
This rather chic sushi bistro is a favorite among students and locals alike. Why the name CoBo?
Chef-owner Joseph Miller spent a chunk of time in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, apprenticing under several acclaimed sushi chefs. Upon returning home to Boone, he saw a need to bring authentic Japanese cuisine to the area. And so it goes and goes well.
Sushi is the main game here, but they do sprinkle in some fun and contemporary additions to the menu. And there is something for non-sushi lovers to enjoy at this Boone Japanese restaurant.
Traditional potstickers, an Asian play on mussels accented with wasabi tobiko, and panko fried Japanese poppers are excellent starters.
My favorite is their torched yellowtail sashimi dish with jalapenos, and their specialty rolls, Burning Man, and Dynamite do not disappoint.
A full bar offers unique cocktails, a wine list, and local beers too.
For you sushi-lovers, this is one of the best Boone NC Restaurants.
1180 Blowing Rock Road // 828-832-8088
Long-time residents and hospitality folks, the Lovejoy’s opened this sophisticated eatery in a busy rear corner of the Boone Mall, conveniently located next to a Home Goods and T.J. Maxx. In other words, shop until you drop and then, eat, sip and relax, the theme of Eleven 80.
A lounge-style vibe with various small plates, flatbreads, burgers, hints to the Lobsta dog, an innovative twist on the lobster roll.
A favorite appetizer, the Gochujang shrimp, sweet and spicy, is delicious.
There is also a riff on a mini-chicken and waffles plate.
A full cocktail bar, wine, and local brews accommodate the sip and relax mode—the impressive bourbon collection rounds out the list.
Eleven 80 has collaborated with Grandfather Mountain Vineyards featuring their wines.
On weekends at the Vineyard, you can find the Eleven 80 Food Truck parked by the river serving up snacks and sandwiches! By the way, one of the best ways to spend a sunny day is at Grandfather Vineyard!
If you are looking for convenient, delicious places to eat in Boone, Eleven 80 is for you. It’s at the top of our Boone NC Restaurants list.
617 W King St // 828-386-1000
A must-mention due to the mission of this little cafe on King Street in downtown Boone.
Set up to provide yummy, local food to all, no matter your ability to pay.
Farm cafe is not a shelter but a community-based, supported restaurant preparing quality food for locals and tourists alike.
The menu changes daily due to availability and seasons. You will enjoy homestyle cooking using farm-fresh ingredients.
Check out their daily offerings on their website, which usually consists of a wide variety of soups, salads, entrees, and desserts.
A great way to give back and help feed others who are not as fortunate!
As you can see, Boone NC restaurants offer great diversity in their dining scene, especially for a small mountain town. The restaurants listed are only a selected few to discover on your next trip to Boone in the Blue Ridge Mountains!