Places to Eat

Below is a list, in my ranking order, of the very best places on and around Beech Mountain to eat.  There is a very wide variety, ranging from the best of dive joints to the finest of dining.  You may be at elevation, but there is no shortage of great places to eat and drink.

I’ll use a diamond system to rate the restaurants where 5 diamonds ◊◊◊◊◊ mean, if you don’t like this place then there is no point in you using me as a resource, to one diamond ◊ which would mean, I can’t imagine this place lasting much longer in business.  But it’s worth noting once again, these opinions are all my own.

◊◊◊◊◊ Can’t-miss and if you don’t like it then get off my lawn!

◊◊◊◊ This is a good joint, a go-to place that won’t disappoint

◊◊◊ Can’t go wrong, but not going to leave immediately planning your return

◊◊ This place is basically OK-at-best.

◊ The place is not going to remain open for much longer, or at least it shouldn’t

  1. ◊◊◊◊◊ Bodegas. Banner Elk, 
    • Caribbean-inspired fare and tapas style dining.  This place is not a great restaurant for the area, but just a plain outstanding place to eat, period. The chef is originally from Miami.  The tacos are simply outstanding, as are the yuca fries.  If you don’t like the pork belly tacos then we just can’t be friends.
  2. ◊◊◊◊◊ Artisanal.  Banner Elk,
    • Fine dining at its finest.  The only reason I wouldn’t rate this as my #1 restaurant is that, because it is fine dining, it is on the pricey side and is a place that is going to be special-occasion-only, at least until Yelp or Trip Advisor buys this site from me for several million :).  But this is not only the best food in the Beech Mountain area but actually a top-10 restaurant in all of North Carolina.  It is a gourmet experience that you have to try at some point, but make a reservation well in advance.
  3. ◊◊◊◊◊ Louisiana Purchase, Banner Elk,
    • This place is spectacular.  One would definitely not expect to find a higher-end, cajun restaurant in the mountains but here it is!  This family-owned restaurant has been in business for more than 35 years and has even been recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine.  It’s definitely a little on the pricier side, but it’s not over-priced.  Please make sure somebody gets the BBQ Shrimp because it’s just that good.  After 35 years in downtown Banner Elk they recently re-located to a new spot around the corner on Main.  I didn’t think it was possible to improve upon their dining expereince but they proved me wrong.  This is my new go-to for fine dining on the mountain and my wife’s absolute favorite date-spot.
  4. ◊◊◊◊◊ Painted Fish Cafe.  Banner Elk,
    • They describe it as “recognizable dishes with a twist,” and “an upscale experience in a casual ambiance,” all 100% correct.  This is just great food, prepared well and served with an acute attention to detail.  Perfect for a delicious lunch or dinner.
  5. ◊◊◊◊◊ Stonewalls. Banner Elk,
    • Just a good, all-around steak joint.  It’s no Del Monicos or Palm, but you’re also not going to spend $80 for a cut of meat.  If you’re on the mountain, want a great steak or prime rib, then this is the place you want.
  6. ◊◊◊◊◊ Pedalin’ Pig, Banner Elk,
    • I have had a lot of BBQ.  I have also made a lot of BBQ and my family tells me I am pretty good at it.  But if I don’t feel like spending 8 hours sidled up to my own smoker, then I’m going to hit this place.  The baby back ribs are perfection.  The brisket is so on-point and the pulled pork is everything you want it to be.  Pro-tip: while their website does provide for on-line ordering if you’re doing pick-up, that’s only for the Boone location.  For Banner Elk, you need to call-in for take out.  But this place is well worth a trip down the mountain for BBQ.
  7. ◊◊◊◊ Mi Jalisco Mexican Grill.  Beech Mountain,
    • I grew up in Arizona and California, so I am particular about Mexican food, my favorite type of food.  This is a good, authentic place with an expansive menu and great service.  It’s a little divey on the inside, which frankly, I also love.  I probably hit this place more often than any other on the mountain.
  8. ◊◊◊◊◊ Dunn’s Deli.  Banner Elk,
    • This is my kids’ favorite place on the mountain.  The sandwiches are simply marvelous, the salads are fresh and ample and you can simply never go wrong at this joint for the perfect lunch.  2 of my 3 kids will never get anything other than the Monte Christo at this place, and I can understand why.  It’s not health food, but take an extra few runs down the slopes because its worth the calories.
  9. ◊◊◊◊ Banner Elf Cafe. Banner Elk,
    • Nothing fancy, here.  Just standard bar food, done well and served professionally.  The menu is huge due to the unique fact they actually have two kitchens which each prepare different faire, but everyone will find something to eat, here, and have fun doing it.
  10. ◊◊◊◊ Beech Alpin Inn. Beech Mountain,
    • This place is a really enjoyable, it tries to be a slightly upper scale restaurant that won’t disappoint.  The service is always fantastic.  The trout is always spot on.  And if you’re there in the summer, go early on Sunday evening, get a table outside and enjoy some live music.  This place always delivers a great experience.
  11. ◊◊◊◊◊ Ramble Juice and Ice Cream.  Banner Elk,
    • This place was a recent find and man am I thankful we found it.  The ice cream is made somewhat locally in Ashville and they have everything from standards like cookies-and-cream, to some of the most unique flavors I have ever seen.  I had an orange and habanero ice cream that was amazing.  It was a refreshing, orange ice cream with a little kick at the finish.  They also make their own waffle cones which is a huge plus.
  12. ◊◊◊ Fred’s General Mercantile.  Beech Mountain,
    • Fred’s is a Beech Mountain staple and the place to go if you need anything.  They also claim the best breakfast on the mountain and you know what?  It’s pretty damn good.  Nothing fancy, but after a long day on the slopes or hiking in the summer, you probably can’t beat this the next morning.
  13. ◊◊◊ Sorrento’s Italian Bistro.  Banner Elk,
    • I’m not a big Italian guy, I have to admit.  But this place was just OK.  We went on a night that had a great deal on wine, which made the meal enjoyable, but the calamari appetizer was not good at all and the rest of our meals were just OK.  We were looking forward to this place as we had heard great things, maybe we will have to give it another try.
  14. ◊◊◊ Holy Smokes BBQ, Beech Mountain,
    • The BBQ is very good.  This placed is strategically placed to where, as you drive in and out of town you always get to smell their smoker.  The portions are a little small, but that is the only complaint.  Also, I have spoken several times to the owners and they are some of the finest people I have come into contact with on the mountain.  If you’re on the mountain and you need a BBQ fix, then here is your joint.
  15. ◊◊ Rascals Bar and Grille.  Beech Mountain,
    • The food is fine, the service is always super friendly, but on the slow side, but a relatively recent trip into the restaurant with my family netted a sub-par experience.  They were out of many things, not the least of which was french fries.  What bare and grille runs out of french fries?!
  16. ◊◊ The Famous Brick Oven Restaurant.  Beech Mountain,
    • The food here is actually quite good, the only reason I rate is as low as I do is because it is simply just way over-priced.  They have a full bar, a massive beer selection, decent wine selection and even make a pretty enjoyable salad, but you’re going to pay north of $30 for a pie.  So, for someone like me who has 3 kids, including a teenage boy who can eat an entire pizza by himself, this is just not a viable option on the regular.  But they have been around as long as I have been coming up, so people keep paying, which is great for them.
  17. ◊◊ Fraziers Tavern and Grill, Beech Mountain,
    • There is a lot to like about this place… until you eat the food.  The location is perfect, right near the entrance to Beech Mountain Ski Resort.  The outdoor setting with a giant gas fire pit looks super warm and welcoming.  Indoor the bar area looks fantastic, there are plenty of TVs to catch the game and even a couple great pool tables.  But the food simply misses the mark.  They need to either drop the price or dramatically increase the quality because its a huge mismatch right now.  I don’t mind paying $13 for a burger, but if your going to serve me a pre-frozen patty, give me my condiments in an individual squeeze packaging and give me plastic utensils to eat it with (I’m intolerant to grains so I can’t eat a bun.  So, yes, I’m that guy who eats a burger with a knife and fork) then you better charge me $6 for that burger because that’s what it is.  The wings were pretty good, however, but I just couldn’t get past the poor food experience for the price and I likely won’t be heading back here.  This is a place for tourists but I don’t see locals keeping it open.
  18. ◊◊ Bullwinkel’s.  Beech Mountain,
    • I am torn about this place.  I have sworn to never go back though I still do because the pizza is very good and the price, especially compared to Brick Oven, is reasonable, but the service here is simply abhorrent.  I recommend this as more of a place to call in for take-out, but make sure to give an hour for that, especially in the winter-time. 

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Kari says:

    This is a great resource! I don’t agree with all of your restaurant ratings. Especially Rascal’s. I don’t know how recently you done with them but they have made a great impression on us. We are there once a week. Everything is fresh, regionally inspired, and top notch. Chef Paula is building her clientele one plate at a time and it is fantastic. I would encourage you to give them another look.


    1. jchallis says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback and I’m so glad you have had a better experience at Rascals than we have had. While it’s been some time, my review is based on multiple experiences and we have also had friends go recently who also have echoed my concerns, so I do stand by my review.
      That said, it’s also time to probably give it another shot. Obviously, we all want as many amazing restaurants on the mountain as we can get so I’d be more than happy to update my review if the experience justifies it. Thanks again!


Leave a Reply to Kari Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.