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7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants | Best Restaurants in West Jefferson, NC

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Welcome to my hometown of West Jefferson, NC, located in Ashe County and known as the “Coolest Corner in North Carolina!” Nestled in the Appalachian Mountains and bordered by Virginia to the north and Tennessee to the west, we truly are in the coolest corner of the state.

The mountain towns of Boone and Blowing Rock are within an hour’s drive from West Jefferson, but many people have found this town to be a hidden gem for shopping, outdoor activities, and several great West Jefferson NC restaurants.

Ashe County was lightly populated with small farming communities through the nineteenth century, and by the end of the century, copper and iron were discovered in the area. For a short time, copper from the Ore Knob mine was the second-largest producer of copper in the country.

Today Ashe County is known for cheese production, agricultural products, and Christmas tree farms, but tourism is an important part of the economy, bringing economic growth and change, not to mention people building second homes and moving to the area to enjoy the mountain lifestyle.

Perhaps the greatest attraction to the area is the scenery and the many outdoor opportunities awaiting those who want to explore the area. Our county is home to the New River, one of the oldest rivers in the world, providing opportunities to fish, paddle, and float.

Mount Jefferson State Park offers hiking trails and picnic areas. The Blue Ridge Parkway offers a leisurely drive with numerous scenic pullouts offering long-range views and opportunities to stretch your legs on the Mountains to the Sea Trail.

You will certainly need nourishment before or after a day of outdoor activities or shopping downtown. I have suggested seven of my favorite West Jefferson NC restaurants, to grab a quick bite or enjoy a leisurely sit-down meal. 

Best 7 West Jefferson NC Restaurants

The Havana Café

109 Backstreet, West Jefferson// 336-846-2800

Authentic Cuban cuisine served with southern hospitality is the motto of this little gem located downtown on the Backstreet.  Here’s why it’s one of the best West Jefferson NC restaurants.

This restaurant may be small but is big on friendliness, variety, and taste! The café offers a set menu plus daily specials and many times it can be difficult to make a choice. 

One of my favorites is the basic black beans and rice with fried plantains; the rice is cooked perfectly and the beans are seasoned just right. 

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Black Beans and Rice with Fried Plantains

My most recent favorite is the Patacon, crispy smashed plantain topped with a choice of chicken vaca frita or pulled pork with mango slaw and garlic cilantro sauce.

A hands-down favorite is the Cuban sandwich.

The café uses authentic Cuban bread sourced from La Segunda Bakery in Tampa. The Cuban is loaded with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickle, and just the right amount of mustard. The sandwich is offered in two different sizes and is accompanied by fries. 

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Cuban Sandwich

Enjoy a taste of Cuba at one of the best West Jefferson NC restaurants. No passport required to visit the Havana Cafe!

New River Brewing Taproom and Eatery

108 S 3rd St., West Jefferson //336-846-2739

If craft beer, good food, and a relaxed atmosphere are what you are looking for in a West Jefferson restaurant, then New River Brewery is the place to go. 

This is a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner or maybe just kick back with a cold one and an appetizer or two. Enjoy a flight to sample various beers on tap.

My absolute favorite is Skeeter Pee, but Six feet Four and Full of Muscle is a strong second, and you may also want to try Take Me to the River (don’t you just love the names given to craft beers?).

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Craft Beer

You will definitely need some food to go along with your select libation, and we highly recommend the pub chips and wings for starters.  The brewery offers great burgers including a veggie burger for those guests seeking vegetarian options.

The beer-battered fish and chips are a definite must-have. A large amount of food in the basket can be shared between two people, but all bets are off as well as hands-off after a day of hiking!

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Fish and Chips

Enjoy the friendly staff, rustic interior and the mural on the wall while getting together with friends and family at New River Brewing.

Sweet and Savory

6 S Jefferson Ave, West Jefferson//336-846-8888

Fast friendly service, numerous choices on the menu, and home cooking; what more could you ask for if you are looking for a great lunch spot in downtown West Jefferson.

My absolute favorite is the Capri on sourdough bread served Panini style. The sandwich is loaded with mozzarella cheese, spinach, onion, and tomato with pesto and mayo.  It is a bit messy to eat, so be sure to ask for extra napkins. 

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Capri on Sourdough Bread

Sandwiches come with a cup of soup or choice of a side from the daily offerings.  My all-time favorite soup from Sweet and Savory is the Roasted Red Pepper; thick, extremely tasty, and made in house.  I was tempted to lick the cup and might have if the place wasn’t so busy!

If you saved some room for dessert or decide to make room anyway, there are many homemade treats to choose from; cookies, cupcakes, and cakes will surely tempt your taste buds.

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Chocolate Raspberry Cupcakes

Hole Lotta Doughnuts

211 Backstreet, West Jefferson //336-846-6000

If your sweet tooth is calling out loud and clear, then head over to Hole Lotta Doughnuts, a great choice between all West Jefferson NC restaurants.

I couldn’t think of a better name for a place that makes huge, handcrafted yeast doughnuts. These oversized behemoths are made fresh daily by hand (no automation here).  Hole Lotta Doughnuts proves you can have quality and quantity together without sacrificing one for the other.

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Hole Lotta Doughnuts

Select from glazed, chocolate, maple, and the extremely popular peanut butter doughnut,t or any other offerings of the day.  Don’t forget about the fritters and doughnut holes either. 

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants glazed, chocolate, maple, and peanut butter doughnut

Be sure to grab a coffee, latte, or ice tea to go with one of their awesome doughnuts or fritters. Your sweet tooth will surely be happy now!

The Tavern

203 E 1st St., West Jefferson // 336-846-2121

Founded in 2013 as The Hotel Tavern, when the restaurant was located inside the historic old hotel, it is simply known now as The Tavern following a move to a new location in town. The current location is spacious with ample parking and a menu featuring old and new favorites.

We went for a late lunch and started with the hot soft pretzels and homemade cheese dip to go along with our beers. That one appetizer was plenty to share for the three of us because we wanted to save room for the burgers we were craving.

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Hot Soft Pretzels with Beer

We enjoyed the Black Bean Burger with fries, Tavern Burger with sweet potato fries, and Ghost Burger with fries.  All burgers were cooked perfectly and loaded with the toppings we had requested. 

Unfortunately, we did not save room for dessert, which was too bad. We watched another table eat their red velvet cake and chocolate molten cake, so next time dessert for sure!

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Ghost Burger with Fries

The Tavern offers a variety of food to include homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, pasta dishes, steaks, ribs, and daily seafood specials plus a menu for Little Hoots twelve and under. Be sure to stop by on Sunday for brunch and a visit to the Bloody Mary bar.

Every town needs a tavern, and we are grateful for the one we have in between all West Jefferson NC restaurants, with their friendly and knowledgeable staff, great food, and comfortable atmosphere.

High Country Seafood

215 Beaver Creek School Rd, West Jefferson//336-977-1827

If you think you can’t get fresh seafood in the mountains, then you’ll be pleased to know that High Country Seafood restaurant brings the coast to the mountains.

Each week the owner drives to the North Carolina coast to purchase the freshest premium fish and seafood for their retail shop and take-out kitchen.

They are able to offer a variety of “Sea to Table” fare to West Jefferson and the surrounding communities in the High Country. There is always a selection of fresh seafood available to take home and prepare yourself, but the take-out kitchen is always happy to prepare cooked meals to go. 

We had always purchased fresh fish and shrimp to prepare at home, but recently we decided to let their kitchen prepare for us, and we were not disappointed.  We decided on the fried shrimp plate, and to say they loaded the box was an understatement.

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Fried Shrimp Plate

A generous portion of fried shrimp was accompanied with hush puppies, hand-cut fries, and cilantro coleslaw.  Everything was cooked and seasoned to perfection and one portion easily fed two people.

Next time we look forward to trying one of their po’boys and lobster tacos, based on positive feedback from friends.

High Country Seafood offers the freshest premium seafood at reasonable prices in the mountains. It is a great seafood restaurant and one of the best West Jefferson NC restaurants.

Kitchen Table Games & Bistro

114 N Jefferson Ave, West Jefferson // 336-846-3002

If it is smoothies, and power bowls that you are after, then a stop at Kitchen Table Games & Bistro should be on your West Jefferson NC restaurants agenda. The Farmhouse offers healthy food that tastes delicious. Start with a fresh smoothie made right in front of you.

My favorites are the fruit smoothie, protein smoothie, and green smoothie. Definitely try the Grandma’s Banana Bread!

Looking to power up for a hike? Then try the Southwest Power Bowl, made with organic quinoa, black beans, corn, red onion, tomatoes, avocado, lime, pink Himalayan salt, and cilantro. Fresh jalapeno and pepper jack cheese can be added to this nutritious bowl.

7 Must-Try West Jefferson NC Restaurants Power Bowl

There are several other bowls to choose from that are a meal in themselves. For breakfast, try one of the acai bowls or avocado toast.

The Kitchen Table Games & Bistro offers soups and sandwiches along with daily specials.  The staff is friendly and the food is absolutely delicious so stop by for a juice, breakfast, or lunch – you will be happy you did!

So there you have it. Some of the best West Jefferson NC restaurants. We hope you enjoy your visit and try one or two of these places to eat in West Jefferson.

Visiting other destinations in North Carolina? Check out our other delicious guides:

Which of these West Jefferson NC restaurants do you most want to try? Let us know in the comments section below!


Cathy is an award-winning nature photographer who has traveled to four continents to photograph wildlife in their natural habitats. After taking travel writing and photography workshops with Great Escape Publishing, she is expanding her work into travel niche. 

Cathy was introduced to travel at an early age by her parents who had immigrated to America from Scotland.  By the time she was five, Cathy had lived on both sides of the Atlantic and both coasts of the USA. Eventually her family settled in Delaware where Cathy grew up; her parents always made sure the family had a vacation every year to continue their travels.

Cathy attended the University of Delaware following graduation from high school but left after two years to join the Air Force. Cathy was fortunate that her first tour was to Germany and this is where she stayed for three years, taking advantage of visiting different countries during her time in Europe.

After leaving the Air Force, Cathy finished college and worked in the physical therapy field while continuing to travel and photograph as time permitted. She currently has a “day job” working in customer service for a large retailer but continues to write and photograph in her off time.

Cathy is also enjoys bicycle touring to see parts of the country at a much slower pace and had a major accomplishment bicycling across America with several other women.  The group left San Diego, CA and arrived in St Augustine, FL two months later. This gave Cathy the opportunity to see America from seat of a bicycle, experience the kindness of strangers and sample different cuisine across the country.

Cathy lives in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina and with the decline of travel due to the pandemic she is focusing on writing and photographing in the Appalachian Mtns.

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Graham Yarborough

Sunday 13th of June 2021

Liked your reviews of 7 Must -Try Restaurants in West Jefferson,NC.I would like to add an EIGHTH (8th) DEFINATE "MUST TRY" to your list: "SMOKY MOUNTAIN BBQ" A DELICIOUS variety of Southern home-cookin'including (of course) pulled & chopped pork bbq. BYRON JORDAN-(Owner) knows what real pork BBQ is taste like as he grew up in Lexington,NC ('THE' Pork BBQ MECA) and as is traditional w/ the Lexington-style BBQ is the coveted "red slaw"! And SMBBQ offers THE best west of Lexington! * And, if it's authentic Country Ham you're after they also offer whole shoulders cured the 'old time way' from the Vannoy Ham Co.

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