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7+ Best Restaurants in Burnsville NC

Burnsville NC is one of our favorite small mountain towns, and for many reasons.  Not only is there lots to see and do, but they have also have some great restaurants.   You won't want to miss our picks for the best restaurants in Burnsville NC for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.   

We visited Burnsville NC for a long weekend and spent four days there exploring this gorgeous historic mountain town.  We found there were lots of things to see and do, great places to stay, and plenty of places to grab some great food and drinks.  

Let's jump in and highlight our favorite restaurants in Burnsville NC!

Disclosure: We were invited by the Burnsville NC Chamber of Commerce and meals and activities were complimentary; however, all opinions, information, and photos are our own and we were not asked in any way to influence our thoughts, comments, or the content of this article.  All opinions are our own - We believe in putting our readers first.

The Best Restaurants in Burnsville NC

Best Restaurants in Burnsville NC

When visiting small mountain towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains, you just never know what to expect when it comes to food and the types and quality of local restaurants.    The good news is that so far, in the numerous towns we visited, we've always found some great local places to eat.

Burnsville NC was no exception, and there are a number of best restaurants in Burnsville for visitors to choose from.  Some offer great eats on the go, while others are more for those looking for a place to relax and enjoy some delicious food.

Restaurants are in alphabetical order and not ordered by any ranking or preference, as we enjoyed all of them during our long weekend in Burnsville NC.  We personally ate at each of these restaurants, and experienced the atmosphere, food and service.   

Appalachian Java

Appalachian Java Coffeehouse

Appalachian Java is located in the heart of downtown Burnsville NC, and not only serves up excellent coffee, expresso drinks, and teas but also serves some fantastic sandwiches and other breakfast and lunch items.  

So don't let the name fool you!

We visited one morning for coffee and breakfast and headed back the next day to try their lunch as well.   Both times, the food was delicious and the staff was very courteous.

For breakfast, they have a bunch of different options, including fresh baked goods, Bagels, breakfast burritos and wraps, breakfast sandwiches, and breakfast plates.  We decided to let our sweet tooths win out.  

We ordered two Vanilla Lattes, which were hot, creamy, and well-balanced.    We're big coffee drinkers, so we're pretty particular about our coffee, and Appalachian Java makes excellent coffee.  To eat, we tried a chocolate muffin and a cinnamon bun.   Both were very good.

We visited again the next day to try out their lunch menu, as we had heard they made some great sandwiches.   The rumor mill was correct!    

On the lunch menu are various salads, and sandwiches, including a Chicken Melt, a Greek Grilled Cheese, and a gourmet Peanut Butter and Jelly.   We went with the Greek Grilled Cheese and the Turkey Press.  We shared the halves so we could both enjoy them.

While waiting, we sat outside and enjoyed the warm sun while sipping on some cold drinks.  Our sandwiches came out freshly made and hot, in nice bakery boxes.   They were excellent, and not too heavy. 

Appalachian Java is a great little place, that is really convenient when exploring downtown Burnsville.  

Garden Deli

Garden Deli Burnsville NC

The Garden Deli is primarily a lunch spot, but on the weekends, they are a fantastic spot to grab some delicious food as well.   They have a large selection of sandwiches, salads and soups.  

The Garden Deli is owned by the same husband and wife that also own Snap Dragon.   Garden Deli is one of, if not the oldest restaurant in Burnsville.  The Garden Deli opened its doors in 1987, and has been serving up fantastic food in Burnsville ever since.   

Both Garden Deli and Snap Dragon offer fantastic food, but very different menus and atmospheres.   But more on Snap Dragon, one of our personal favorites, below.

The Garden Deli is located right at the town square in Burnsville.  What we really liked about it though is that it's very private, even though it's right in the center of town.  The outdoor seating area is surrounded by large shrubs that provide not only some wonderful shade but privacy as well.

Indoor Seating at the Garden Deli Burnsville NC

Garden Deli offers both indoor and outdoor seating in a casual dining environment.  They have both a lunch and dinner menu, with different items.   We didn't eat there for lunch but heard from others it was very good.  

We had dinner there, and their dinner menu contains a number of interesting items, including salads, steaks, baby back ribs, shrimp, fish and more.  They also have dinner specials which change frequently.  

The evening we had dinner there, one of the specials was a lobster roll which we tried.  It was the best lobster roll we've had anywhere, no joke.  Definitely not what you would expect from a restaurant in a small mountain town.

We also had the Greek chicken plate, which was also excellent.   The Garden Deli offers up a number of beer and wine options as well.

Overall we really enjoyed dinner at the Garden Deli, and we would definitely eat there again.   Our server Kaylee was super friendly and attentive as well.

Homeplace Beer Company

Homeplace Brewery Burnsville NC

Homeplace Beer Company is a large brewery and restaurant located just outside of downtown Burnsville, and just down the road from the Terrell House Bed & Breakfast where we stayed for the weekend.

Homeplace Beer Company is a  relatively new brewery, only open since 2018 but already making a name for itself in the local craft beer culture.  They offer up a great selection of their own beers plus guest taps from other regional breweries.  They also serve up food that pairs perfectly with their beers.

We stopped by Homeplace Beer Company one evening and sampled several of their beers and ate dinner as well.   We sat outside on the deck which provided great views of the surrounding area, and their live music stage.

The beer selection was great, with a variety of styles including IPAs, lagers, stouts, and more.   The food was really good too! We ordered one of their specialty wood-fired pizzas and the wood-fired Jalapeno Poppers.

Both were delicious, and the perfect way to enjoy a good meal, and relax after a busy day.  In fact, if you just want a relaxing place to chill, drink a cold beer, and catch some live music, Homeplace Beer is perfect.  

Definitely one of our favorites from our visit, and a place we look forward to visiting again.

NuWray Hotel and Carriage House Sundries

Carriage House Sundries Burnsville NC

The NuWray Hotel is a historic hotel and Inn, and one of the oldest buildings in downtown Burnsville.   The hotel opened in 1833 and was a stagecoach stopping point.   The Hotel is was not only well known for its rooms but for its food as well. 

The hotel is currently closed as it is undergoing a complete restoration, including the installation of a full-service restaurant giving a healthy nod to NuWray's culinary history and regional traditions.  The hotel and restaurant will open later this year.   We cannot wait to visit and try them.

Associated with the Nuwray Hotel is Carriage House Sundries, which recently opened.   Unfortunately, it wasn't open yet during our visit, but we did get a sneak peek at the inside.  The place is gorgeous and the hints we heard of the lovely menu they will have sounded amazing.  Once open, they will offer breakfast, lunch, and brunch on weekends.  In the evening, they'll offer wine, cigars, and small plates.

Food can be enjoyed in the restaurant or outside in the garden areas of the hotel.

We'll update you once we've experienced them personally!

Pig and Grits

Pig and Grits Burnsville NC

From our visits to many different small mountain towns in the Blue Ridge Mountains, each town seems to have its own popular BBQ restaurant.   Burnsville NC is no different, and Pig and Grits is a staple.

Pig and Grits BBQ is located just down the road from the town square and has been serving up delicious, slow-cooked barbecue since 2014.  They are local, family-owned and pride themselves on their locally-sourced meats that are slow-cooked daily over hand-cut hickory.  This provides a wonderful simple, but rich and smoky flavor to their brisket, chicken, pulled pork, ribs, and turkey. 

They also offer up a number of different in-house-made barbecue sauces, which are regional in flavor and style.  Our favorites were the specialty sauces: Cherry Bourbon and Applewood Smoked BBQ.   

From their delicious brisket to their down-home sides, you can't go wrong with anything they serve!  We had a salad, smoked turkey, and a pulled pork BBQ plate.

If you like BBQ as we do, be sure to stop by and get your fill of barbecue goodness from Pig and Grits!  You won't be disappointed.  

Snap Dragon

Snap Dragon Burnsville NC

Snap Dragon restaurant in downtown Burnsville offers a variety of Asian-infused dishes in a Maritime-themed bar and restaurant.  The Snap Dragon is next door to the Garden Deli, and while owned by the same owners, has a very different menu and atmosphere.

The menu is full of interesting items like: Topsail Fish Tacos, Calamari, Dragon Spring Rolls, and Cannon Balls.   The Cannon Balls are ground pork meatballs with a tangy sweet and sour sauce.  

You'll also find Thai market ribs, a spicy island burger, and a Habernero Cordon Blue sandwich.    We had heard from a few locals that the burgers at Snap Dragon were some of the best in town.   

We started off by trying their evening drink specials and the fried pickles as an appetizer.  The drinks were cold, fruity, and delicious, as were the fried pickles.  The batter was very light, and they weren't greasy at all, which was nice.   

For dinner, we ordered a burger and fish tacos and finished off our meal with a key lime pie and chocolate lava cake.

The food was excellent, served quickly, and hot.  We really enjoyed the small and intimate atmosphere with both indoor and outdoor seating and a large open bar area.  We were able to meet and talk with the owners as well, who are just super nice folks, and very proud of their restaurants and the heritage behind them.

While all of the restaurants were really good, if we had to pick one that was our favorite, it would be the Snap Dragon both for the unique food options, taste, and atmosphere.  Our server was also super friendly, upbeat, and excellent, which really helped.  

Snap Dragon is a must-try for anyone looking for something unique! 

Final Thoughts on the Best Restaurants in Burnsville NC

Burnsville NC is a great destination with so much to offer, great things to do, and wonderful locally-owned restaurants.  

Whether you are looking for a cozy and intimate restaurant, a farm-to-table experience or some good old-fashioned mountain BBQ, or just a simple pizza and beer, Burnsville has it all!  

We hope our best restaurants in Burnsville NC help you find something that appeals to your tastes and that you will visit soon to explore more of what that wonderful small mountain town of Burnsville NC has to offer.

About the author

Larry Deane is co-owner of Blue Ridge Mountain Life. He has spent more than 20 years exploring the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains and has a deep passion for nature, history, storytelling, and adventure. Along with his wife Jenn, they combined these passions to create Blue Ridge Mountain Life, a travel guide to these stunning mountains they are fortunate to call home.

Larry has more than 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, and has established himself as a leading voice and expert for Blue Ridge Mountains. He is also an avid hiker, photographer, and videographer. He loves sharing his mountain adventures and knowledge with more than 500,000 people per month on Blue Ridge Mountain Life.


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