Surrounded by thriving small farms woven into the lush tapestries of of the French Broad and Little River valleys, Brevard is fast becoming a locavore delight.
Whether you’re craving southern specialties or guilty pleasures, there are a lot of great reasons to sample Brevard’s growing repertoire of restaurants. You’ll find a mix of sophisticated menus and lip-smacking, down-home cookin’ made from locally grown produce, meat and dairy.
Feel free to leave the tie and heels at home. With the surrounding mountains visible from Main Street, Brevard’s restaurants have a laid-back vibe, with hiking boots, jeans and causal chic welcome everywhere.
Here’s a selected list of enduring favorites.
Southern Pleasures Done Right
From old standbys to new interpretations, Southern food is spoken here.
Classic Southern favorites — meat and three sides — served up generously along with vegetables, meat and cheese from local farmers, breads from local bakeries and favorite pours from craft brewers in a brightly refreshed industrial space.
The revival of a 1930s clubhouse with everyday Southern favorites couldn’t feel more current and fresh. Place your order and take a seat in the renovated airy dining room or outside on the wraparound porch. New owner Bruce Stewart used to tend the fire at the old clubhouse on Country Club Road when he was 13, back in another incarnation. After years of running a Charlotte restaurant, he returned home to rekindle the fire in one of his favorite childhood places, opening Lola’s in early 2017 after months of clean up and renovation.
The parking lot overflows and the line snakes out the door and along the porch during hiking, mountain biking and waterfall seasons for the pulled pork, smoked chicken, beef and ribs.
Second-generation family owned, family friendly, nothin’ fancy, come-as-you-are seafood restaurant. Check out the broiled trout, fried shrimp and homemade sauces.
If Southern-style biscuits are your craving, Henry’s is your place. Made fresh every morning, have ’em with sausage, country ham, chicken, tomato or the essential Southern biscuits and gravy.
Guilty Pleasures to Indulge Your Taste Buds
What is life about if not chocolate and wine? Enjoy and enjoy.
You know you’re in the right place when “Emergency Chocolate” is front and center. Hidden in a downtown alley, inside you’ll find a wide assortment of dark and milk-chocolate barks, truffles and other fancy creations.
A lively gem of a find tucked between galleries where you can taste any of the more than 35 wines before you buy. There’s the long wood slab of a bar up front, or small tables and couches in the back, plus a back deck where you can sit with your dog.
A local favorite to pick up a bottle, a case, hand-crafted beer or fine cigars. Cozy neighborhood atmosphere with tastings by the glass and a comfy leather couch to sit a spell.
Culinary Adventures from Italy to N’Orleans and Beyond
Find interesting and lip-smackin’ meals from downtown to the Blue Ridge Parkway.
New Orleans Chef Jaime Hernandez offers a sultry mix of Creole and Brasserie style cuisine with fresh, locally sourced and indigenous ingredients from North Carolina and Louisiana. On Main Street in the center of downtown in a renovated historic building, choose from an open-air patio, intimate dining rooms, large family style tables and a chef’s table that overlooks the kitchen. No reservations.
Chef Marc Dambax brought his Italian-inspired menu to the mountains in 2000 from Charleston. Enduring menu favorites in the old house at the end of downtown include the beet and gorgonzola salad (Insalata di barbabietole), the Butternut Squash Ravioli and any of the wood-oven personal pizzas. Lunch or dinner on the outdoor patio is a true Southern delight. Reservations recommended.
Cozy back-alley bar with bistro tables, dining room with brick walls and local art, dog friendly outdoor patio. Ever-changing specials based on local produce and classic standards with a Southern twist, like Grilled Pork Flatiron topped with Moonshine Grilled Peaches. Reservations recommended.
A favorite local hangout a block off Main Street, either in the long, often crowded bar or out back on the patio. The bar offers a full complement of local craft beers and the menu includes a variety of appetizers, salads, wraps and home-baked desserts. The burgers are a perennial favorite. The place for Sunday brunch. Reservations recommended.
The Phoenix calls itself Brevard’s only Farm to Table Gastropub and Music Venue. Local musicians and bands find a welcome audience here, with nightly music during the summer season. It has a casual vibe with dining on one side, couches and bistro tables on the other, the bar at the back and an eclectic selection of local art.
Combine a fabulous culinary experience with a leisurely drive through the forest and on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Every seat in the restaurant has a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge or dine outside on the expansive new deck. Superb service and excellent food, such as the Walnut Crusted Fresh Mountain Trout make the Inn a destination. No reservations but sitting a spell isn’t a hardship with one of the best views in North Carolina.
Treats to Reward a Forest Adventure
There are few things more satisfying and memorable than a cold treat after a day of blue mountain vistas and stunning waterfalls.
A downtown Brevard landmark, Rocky’s still faithfully serves Mrs. Varner’s grilled Pimento Cheese sandwich recipe along with classic grilled hotdogs, burgers and salads. “Full retro” is the Rocky’s experience, back to 1941 and the original lunch counter and soda fountain from Varner’s Drug Store. Recently expanded to include more fun stuff and old-fashioned candies.
True gelato and sorbetto, made fresh daily with lip-smacking flavors like Peach with Fresh Thyme, Champagne and Cinnamon Cookie. And real lattes and espresso from an Aussie (aka Kiwi) who knows coffee. Relax with your adults treats while the kids play with games and books in the corner.
The place to stop for ice cream with the family after a hot day in Pisgah National Forest. Long lines move fast. Generous portions, dozens of flavors and combos, plus rocking chairs on the porch in the shade.
Whether you prefer your sweetness hot or cold, you can probably get it here. Twenty flavors of ice cream plus four rotating flavors of soft-serve yogurt. Fruit smoothies, coffee drinks, hot fudge cakes, sundaes, parfaits and milkshakes. Blueberry, raspberry, peach, grape, and orange Italian Cream sodas.
Coffee Culture Provides Local Gathering Places
Brevard has a vibrant coffee culture fueled by excellent bakers who offer strong incentives to get up early in the morning. Plus, with a coffee roaster in town you can grab a croissant or cupcake to go and brew your morning mug at home.
The scones, brioche and Danish from this European-inspired bakery sell out early during busy seasons, but the coffee alone is enough to stop. Take home a crusty European bread or cookies, or sit and enjoy the dozens of framed food quotes crowding the walls.
The unique cupcakes sport a new flavor each week, and the chocolate eclairs are a customer favorite.The lunch menu features a daily soup and quiche, plus salads. Several tables inside.
Fresh pastries, coffee drinks and a variety of coffees roasted by the Appalachian Coffee Company. This refreshed brick building on the Brevard College campus was the college’s original boiler house and heat source. Excellent coffee and tasty treats. Dog-friendly, outdoor patio seating is available.
A coffee cafe focused on conversation and creation — hence the ‘arts’ in cARTS. Quirky atmosphere with comfy, mismatched furniture and local arts and crafts for sale. Kids love blending their own smoothies with the pedal-powered blender bike on the front porch. Individual coffees made with an “air press.” Fresh, whipped cream for mochas. Coffee ice cubes for iced coffee in the summer heat. Traditional and gluten-free, vegan friendly baked goods from local bakers.
Tucked inside a corner of Sycamore Cycles, Crank’s offers fresh juice, pastries, organic coffee and espresso to fuel your ride, refill your tank or satisfy your kids. Quiet booths available.
Breakfast and lunch blur together here. Besides the organic coffee and interesting smoothies, you’ll find an eclectic menu. Lattes and ice coffee. Bike parking, outdoor seating and free wifi is available.
A retail coffee shop with coffee by the bag or bulk, with a knowledgable staff to pick for your palette. Small, family owned small-batch, wholesale coffee roaster specializing in Rainforest Alliance Certifiable sustainable coffee for coffeehouses, restaurants and markets throughout Western North Carolina.
Get Your Food from the Source
Several local markets showcase regionally grown and made produce and products. So if you miss the Saturday morning market (below) you have options!
Transylvania Farmers Market
Year-round Saturday morning market (hours change seasonally) with more than 70 local farmers, food producers and artists offering vegetables, fruit, meat, poultry, honey, eggs, cheeses, mushrooms, herbs, flowers, plants, jams and jellies,olive oils, balsamic vinegars, mustard, salsa, baked goods, soaps and arts and crafts. Breakfast foods and coffee available, plus a covered tent eating area. Weekly live music, events and kid activities.
Two Los Angeles escapees have redefined the local roadside stand. A surprise on the side of 275 in Cedar Mountain, the Whistlestop focuses on produce, meats, bakery, dairy, craft beer and wine. Order fresh fish on Thursday for Friday delivery. Cooking classes and wine tastings.
You can find produce from nearby farms in summer, locally sourced cheeses and house-made charcuterie, wine, local craft beers, specialty items featuring Louisiana staples and ethically raised beef, pork and poultry in the butcher shop. Plus wild caught fish and shrimp. Pick up picnic baskets or box lunches for your hike or waterfall adventure, or have a lunch special — soup, salads and sandwiches — at a cafe table inside or outside.
The cafe occupies the front corner of Food Matters Market, a community oriented market that supports local producers and sells regionally grown healthy food. Build your own sandwich or half. Or try a Reuben, Turkey, Bacon & Cheddar or Salmon Lover’s with lemon aioli. Daily soups and salads. Rice bowls. Illegal desserts.
Trusty and Reliable Classics Never Disappoint
These are the favorites we’re always glad are here.
Soup and sandwich shop with vintage charm. Order at the counter from a varied menu of soups, salads and sandwiches. Besides the usual offerings between bread you’ll find Gingered Pork or Chicken, Short Rib Grilled Cheese and a Kitchen Sink Veggie Burger. Dinners served Mondays through Saturdays. Open at 8 am for breakfast on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
A part of the Main Street scene since 1993, Falls Landing is known for its seafood. Try the Blackened Mahi Mahi in Cajun spices with citrus fennel slaw or the Fresh North Carolina Trout, lightly dusted and pan sauteed with lemon butter and topped with a Bourbon pecan sauce. Burgers are also a great choice. Local favorite. Reservations are always a good idea, any time of year.
Homey, relaxed “local joint” with New York-style pizza from stone-fired ovens, craft beers from regional breweries and big screen TVs for sports fans. Gluten-free pizza is an option, as are generous portions of home-style Italian fare made from fresh local ingredients. Long bar, arcade games and friendly atmosphere within walking distance of everything downtown.
Funky breakfast and lunch place popular with the college crowd and locals. Lots of egg dishes. Known for properly toasted bagels with a variety of cream-cheese spreads. Reasonably priced. Snag one of the sidewalk tables in pleasant weather.
A Variety of Mexican Flavors to Suit Your Taste
Brevard offers numerous options for satisfying your Mexican food fix.
In a small town with numerous Mexican restaurants, Quixote sets itself apart as a “fine dining Mexican restaurant” with Guadalajaran cuisine. Indeed. Filet mignon with wine sauce, grilled ribeye marinated in mojo sauce and served with sliced poblano peppers, and chicken breasts cooked in a creamy nut sauce with apples.
Laid-back and relaxed atmosphere. The salsa bar (incudes guac!) is popular with diners, as is the spicy bean dip and chips served with every meal. With Brevard Brewing next door, you can bring your own brew. Generous portions at reasonable prices.
Plaza Garibaldi prides itself on preparing fresh, authentic Mexican food with imported spices and ingredients for the best taste. Family atmosphere with friendly staff. Margarita pitchers and salsa bar both get thumbs up. (Tip: Try the mango salsa.) Chori Pollo is a lunch favorite.
Watch your burrito, taco, nacho, quesadilla or taco salad built in front of you in the open kitchen. Eat inside the crazy colored restaurant, outside or grab a carry out. Fresh ingredients and several degrees of heat to choose from in your salsa. The Fish Burrito is Pescado’s claim to fame.
Beef fajitas and carnitas are favorites. Large margaritas, reasonable prices. The outdoor patio is a pleasant respite in the evening, especially during the busy summer months.
Small Mexican restaurant close to the entrance to Pisgah National Forest for when you just-gotta-have Mexican after a hike, bike ride or slide down Sliding Rock.
Authentic Asian Delights Satisfy That Craving
Should you crave Chinese or Thia, we’ve got you covered.
Unassuming, “don’t let the looks fool you” type of discovery. If ambience is your thing, order take out. The quality and flavor surprise for a small town Thai joint. The Pad Prick Pow is popular, as are the Drunken Noodles.
It’s been said you can see the bright red roof of the Twin Dragons from space. Well, from the Blue Ridge Parkway perhaps. Inside you’ll find dozens of selections from numerous Asian cuisines on the enormous buffet. American dishes and kid friendly items like pizza and chicken nuggets as well.
Locals’ favorite. Eat-in but mostly order online and take-out. Family owned with the owners doing the greeting, cooking and serving. Authentic Chinese with modern intrepretations of classic dishes. Fresh ingredients; no MSG. Generous lunch specials.
A quiet surprise for the location near WalMart. Sit in view of the sushi chef. Friendly service, exceptional presentation.
Mobile Eats Bring the Goodness to Where You’re Having Fun
Food trucks have become commonplace accessories at outdoor events with a variety of freshly cooked food made to order.
The T is for tacos, tortas and tostadas. Asheville-based food truck featuring Mexican and Yucatecan street food. Pork, shrimp and fish tacos are among the variety. Fresh ingredients. Reasonable prices.
A mobile espresso and coffee truck usually parked at The Hub at the entrance to Pisgah National Forest. Kimberly takes extra pains taken to source ingredients from local farms and coffee from local roasters. Offers a variety of coffee drinks, frappes, teas and fruit smoothies, along with — get this — mini-donuts made to order.
The Chubb Wagon, named after one of Oskar Blues’ popular brews, is a regular fixture outside the Brevard brewery during music and bike events. Mouth-watering burgers made with quality ingredients like grass-fed Angus beef, Berkshire pork and Pacific salmon. Including OB’s Mama’s Yella in the beer cheese that smothers the fries. Small menu, but with what else do you need with great beer besides a good burger and music?
A fixture at the Pisgah National Forest entrance on US 276. Freshly made chicken gyros, burgers, asiago chicken sausage and pepper sandwiches. Kids menu. Vegan and vegetarian friendly. Family owned.
Judging from the reviews, may be the best BBQ on wheels. Pulled pork, grilled fish, cheesy corn and all the fixin’s — slaw, beans, pimento cheese and more. Plus Turkey Reubens, cucumber salad, BBQ Cubans. And a veggie sweet potato burrito.
Steamed all-beef natural skin hotdogs from Vienna Beef in Chicago on a poppy seed bun. Toppings are freshly made and include sweet onions cooked with Oskar Blues Old Chub, a variety of ketchups, mustards and sauces. Check out the signature Pisgah Bier Cheeze Sauce and the Aloha Sauce made with pureed pineapple, teriyaki and sweet chili sauce.