Bristol is the birthplace of country music. It made history back in 1927 with The Bristol Sessions when Ralph Peer first recorded Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family.
Jimmy Rodgers, the “Father of Country Music,” and was the first person inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Bristol has so much more than music including The Bristol Speedway, South Holston TVA dam and lake, Bristol Caverns, and so much great food.
The 10 Best Restaurants in Bristol VA
188 Piedmont Ave, Bristol, VA 24201, United States // +12766455754
If you are looking for freshly baked cakes, cookies, pies, cheesecakes, pies, pastries, or donuts, Blackbird Bakery is the place to go.
They are in the historic district housed in a classic Art Deco building. They opened in 2008 and did so well that in 2014, they nearly doubled the bakery size by expanding into a portion of the building previously used as a rental.
There is plenty of inside seating but it’s also a good place to grab some sweet treats on the go. I had a delicious chocolate mini cheesecake topped with a strawberry, raspberries, and whipped cream. Is this one of the best restaurants in Bristol VA? Yes indeed.
115 Country Music Wy, Bristol, VA 24201, United States // +12766963664
Vivian’s Table Restaurant at historic Bristol Hotel is not only a popular dining spot for guests, Locals love it. While I was there quite a few people who seemed to know the server popped in. Executive Chef Jason van Marter’s interesting menu items might have a lot to do with it.
I had the Strawberry Nutella French Toast; it’s Texas toast, Glenmary Farms strawberries, warm maple syrup, whipped cream, sweet butter, sprinkled with powdered sugar. Definitely swoon-worthy. Choices for brunch ranged from my luscious French Toast to simple eggs or biscuits.
The décor is worth a visit itself. The restaurant, like the hotel, blends modern décor with its 1920s historic roots. When you enter from the hotel lobby, the entire wall facing you is exposed brick with the original lettering still visible.
Their dinner entrees are traditional Cordon Bleu like Mediterranean Salmon and Bourbon Shrimp & Grits. Their sides offer a touch of Appalachia. Along with traditional baked potato, you can choose items like Truffled Parsnip Mash or Cheese Grits.
Deviled Eggs are a tradition in Appalachia. Perhaps it was a recipe for “deviled egg” in an 1877 edition of local newspaper, The Montgomery Advertiser.
Or just the name that caught but the rapitly became a staple at Appalachian church dinner and potlucks. They served them at Vivian’s Table as well as in many other local restaurants I visited. It’s definitely one of the best restaurants in Bristol VA.
115 Country Music Wy, Bristol, VA 24201, United States // +12766963659
Architectural Digest rated the Lumac Rooftop Bar the “most beautifully designed bar” in Virginia. They say, “Life at the Bristol is pretty sweet thanks to the scenic perch at Lumac Rooftop Bar, where you can see the Smoky and the Appalachian Mountains, while kicking back under strung lights and on a mod-print sofa.” No wonder it made my list for the best restaurants in Bristol VA.
I agree. Not only can you see the mountains, the rooftop bar atop Bristol Hotel is the only rooftop bar in Bristol, capping its only boutique hotel. It also offers a great view of the historic Bristol two states sign.
And yes, they have a good food menu plus some unique drinks, like Hank Williams Old Fashioned and Lumacolada. They also have a large selection of craft beers and wine.
They have music on weekends too. The night I was there, Curt Mathson was playing. He’s billed as the “One Man Band” and “Tri-Cities’ Most Versatile Entertainer.”
He creates the sound of an entire band all by himself with his unique instruments. His music ranged from “Under the Boardwalk” to “New York, New York.” I enjoyed a Crème Brule while I listened to him play.
171 Piedmont Ave, Bristol, VA 24201, United States // +12762852202
As a young person traveling on the cheap, I once swore I would never again eat in a Greyhound Bus Station. I’ll have to take that back now. Union 41 is in a former 1930s Greyhound Bus station, but the food is spectacular and no wonder it’s one of the best restaurants in Bristol VA.
It’s the brand-new creation of Torrece Gregoire, AKA Chef T, who you may have seen on Hell’s Kitchen and Big Restaurant Bet on the Food Network.
Her prize restaurant, which she opened earlier this year, makes you feel like you are watching a reality cooking show as the open kitchen lets you watch your meal as it is prepared.
For an appetizer, my friend and I shared the Oysters Rockefeller. Good thing we shared. Those oysters were huge and so tender and topped with heaping amounts of spinach and cheese.
The menu is small, but the choices are breathtaking. Entrees like A Pig and Three Sisters, consisting of braised pork shank, macaque choux cornbread, squash, and soup peas; or Szechuan Glazed Duck, served with ginger soy noodles, crispy Brussel sprouts, sesame, cilantro, and scallions.
I chose Jerked Chicken with coconut rice, peas, sweet plantains, and jus sauce. So good but no room left for dessert.
412 6th St, Bristol, TN 37620, United States // +14237643663
When we walked up the steps into J. Frank, I felt like I was stepping back into the Antebellum South. The restaurant was built in the 1850s as the home of the Vance Family.
They lost the home during the Civil War and later regained it. Before present owner Chef Jason Vanover bought it, it was another award wining restaurant, Troutdale.
Ironically, when Chef Jason was starting his culinary career, he applied for a job at Troutdale but accepted another before they got back to him. The name, J. Frank, honors Chef Jason’s grandfather.
We dined there for Sunday brunch which is a unique culinary feast. Two rooms were filled with food ranging from fresh fruit, meats, cheeses, potatoes, grits, pastas, cake, and more.
There is a server preparing omelets made to order with your choices of ingredients, a meat server slicing your choice of three different meats, and a well-stocked bar where you could get your mimosa, bloody Mary, or other drink.
His lunch and dinner menus favor seafood like Oysters Rockefeller, Rainbow Trout but there are plenty of meat choices ranging from Duck Confit Pizza to steak, lamb and chicken dishes. His food style is a combination of French blended with Southern. Definitely one of the best restaurants in Bristol VA.
601 State St, Bristol, VA 24201, United States // +12762853001
Usually when you move a business from one state to another it’s a long-distance move. Not for Bloom in Bristol. Owner, Em Fehr, began with her small coffee shop on State Street in 2017.
The business did so well due mainly to her attention to detail and creating a welcoming atmosphere for all regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation, that she looked for a larger location. She found a former Wells Fargo building and moved across to the Virginia side of State Street in 2022.
I never visited the old location but the new one is beautiful. It’s very open and brightly lit with lots of plants that tie in nicely with its dark green and white color scheme.
There is a large outdoor dining area for nice weather. One neat touch paying homage to the old bank is a counter created of former safe deposit boxes.
The kitchen, under the control of Em’s brother, Chef Josh Fehr, is open so you can watch your food being prepared. Chef Josh likes to combine new flavors with his traditional southern dishes. He walks the line between fine dining and old-fashioned home cooked meals like his mother cooked.
For appetizers we shared some traditional deviled eggs. I could get addicted to those eggs. For an entrée, I had a delicious classical style Shrimp and Grits with an added touch of dill that is unusual but made it even better.
For dessert, their S’Mores Bar is to die for, the chocolate is deep and rich. The marshmallow is thick and rich. The smoked cherry flavor makes it even richer.
I guess you know, if you are on a diet, just smelling this delicious creation is going to get you off the diet.
120 Piedmont Ave, Bristol, VA 24201, United States // +12764666200
Burger Bar might be considered just one more old burger-serving diner except for one piece of history. Ironically, it involves someone who didn’t eat there. It was the last place Hank Williams was seen alive.
The moist reputable stories recount that the young driver of Hank’s famous baby blue Cadillac convertible, Charles Carr, stopped in front of the Burger Bar that fateful New Years Eve in 1952, when he was driving “Ole Hank” from Montgomery to Canton, Ohio where he was scheduled to play on New Years’ Day.
Carr stopped outside of Burger Bar, then an open-all-night diner, Snack King, owned by Sean Howlin and asked Hank if he wanted anything to eat.
Hank replied, “no,” and they continued towards West Virginia. When Carr stopped next in Oak Hill, West Virginia, he thought Hank had been sleeping due to the drugs and booze in his system and discovered instead that Hank was dead most likely since shortly after they left Bristol.
Current owners, Joe and Kayla Deel, both professionally trained chefs, have restored the diner to its 1952 look and named many of the burgers for Hank’s songs.
You can get a Hey Good Looking burger with sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, and cheese or Howling at the Moon with chili, caramelized onions, and cheese or a Move it on Over with BBQ sauce, caramelized onions, and cheese.
I wonder about the name of the Cold, Cold Heart with green chilies, jalapenos, and cheese. All the burgers come with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles on the side.
Aside from the fact that the burgers are top notch, the old-fashioned diner feel with lots of Hank Williams memorabilia rates a stop. Definitely one of the best restaurants in Bristol VA.
2016 W State St, Bristol, TN 37620, United States // +14235732406
If you are in need of a caffeine fix, Trailblazer is a locally owned alternative to Starbucks. Mark Sah and his wife, Bethany, have two drive through locations in Bristol.
You can get almost any kind of coffee, from expresso to latte, teas from regular black to herbal, and a variety of milk drinks.
We made a quick stop for a pickup. My Earl Grey Black tea was perfect. My friend got her coffee fix.
828 State St, Bristol, TN 37620, United States // +14235731185
More than a typical barroom, Cascade has a rotating supply of 40 taps of craft brews, ciders, sours, and seltzers. It’ll be different each time you visit.
They also offer entertainment food trucks in the evening. We planned to go for the Singo which was scheduled on Sunday night, but due to weather it had been cancelled. They also have Open Mike Night on Tuesday.
The décor is so fun, it’s worth a visit. Check out the bathroom doors. They are the most unique I have ever seen.
221 Moore St, Bristol, VA 24201, United States // +12768213020
Michael Waltrip’s name is familiar to race fans so it’s no accident he has a brewing company in Bristol considering the Bristol Speedway is there.
What is unusual is how it began. Originally. Waltrip was not a big craft beer fan. Several years ago, he and some friends got into a discussion, and he ended up going to Denver to look at craft breweries there. Waltrip spent several days in Denver and came away with a different point of view about craft beer.
It led to Waltrip to partner with a brewer to make his own brand of craft beers and began distributing them in Arizona.
Today, they are sold in seven states. Waltrip has several taprooms. His first location on the East coast was this one in Bristol, Virginia not far from Bristol Speedway.
Today he is brewing all his tap beers here in Bristol. He is looking for small investors to expand all over the country.
Besides his brews, you can get some craft burgers and other food here. Things like the Michael Waltrip Brewing Company Bluegrass Chicken Sandwich is a hand breaded fried chicken breast deep fried to a golden brown and topped with a homemade Cajun ranch sauce, cole slaw and pickles.
The brewery hosts events and music. In September it is celebrating its second anniversary with a big party. In August, it held its second Sunshine Festival where hundreds of cars, trucks and more came out for a car show and swap meet.
When you’re in Bristol check and see what is happening here.
Brooklyn Grill & Cafe
2125 Euclid Ave, Bristol, VA 24201, United States // +12766691900
Alright, let’s get real—finding a spot that balances quality food, great service, and a welcoming atmosphere can be a bit of a quest. But guess what? I’ve found a place that checks all these boxes right in Bristol, VA. Say hello to Brooklyn Grill & Cafe.
Walking into the restaurant, you’ll notice it’s not over-the-top fancy but has a stylish, comfortable vibe.
The menu offers a nice variety, and I went with the Shrimp Cocktail to start. Honestly, it was delicious—just the right blend of flavors and perfectly cooked shrimp. For my main course, I tried their lamb special with a garlic topping.
The lamb was tender, and the garlic gave it an extra kick without being overpowering. My dining companion opted for the Cranberry Chicken, and it was also a hit. Just a simple chicken dish elevated by the addition of cranberry—nothing too fussy, but so effective.
What really stood out, aside from the food, was the staff. They knew their stuff, from the menu details to the wine list, and they were genuinely kind—no forced smiles or scripted lines. Even though the menu leans toward the upscale, the overall vibe is relaxed and inviting.
So there you have it. Brooklyn Grill & Cafe is a must-visit if you’re in or around Bristol. It’s not just another restaurant; it’s a place where good food and good company make for a truly satisfying dining experience.
Conclusion: The 10 Best Restaurants in Bristol VA
When visiting Bristol, you can’t go wrong staying at the Bristol Hotel or checking out its historic downtown. Be sure to stand in the middle of State Street where one foot will be in Virginia and one in Tennessee. Or just visit all the best restaurants in Bristol VA.
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I’m Kathleen Walls, former reporter for Union Sentinel in Blairsville, GA, currently publisher/writer for American Roads and Global Highways. I live in Middleburg, FL but travel extensively, mainly in the U.S. I’m the author of travel books, Georgia’s Ghostly Getaways, Finding Florida’s Phantoms, Hosts With Ghosts, and Wild About Florida series, and several novels. All available at my site, katywalls.com/.
Publications I write for include Travel the South, Roadtrippers, Travel Awaits, World Footprints, Snowbirds and RV Travelers, Family RVing, Deep South, Florida Country, and more. My photographs appear in many publications. I also do videos. I’m a proud member of International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers (IFWTA), Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), and North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA).