15 Best Restaurants in Bristol, TN
This article is written by local contributor Jessica Williams & edited by the Travel Lens team.
I live in Sullivan County, and let me tell you, Bristol is one of Tennessee’s many cities that offers great tourist experiences.
It’s also a twin city of Bristol, Virginia. Previously owned by Reverend James King, Bristol is known as country music’s home or birthplace.
Besides music, my city also has plenty of delicious Southern-style food.
From steaks and pizzas to cocktails and home-cooked meals, these Bristol restaurants always satisfy my every craving.
Check out the best restaurants in Bristol, Tennessee.
Find a delectable selection of comfort food in Bristol at Aubrey’s along Pinnacle Pkwy.
Aubrey’s is the perfect place to spend brunch or dinner, thanks to its relaxing atmosphere and low-key setting.
As a frequent visitor, I can attest to the delightfully delicious and uncommonly creative meals they serve.
Their signature Strawberry Salad and Blackened Rattlesnake Pasta are undoubtedly worth tasting.
Another reason I love eating at Aubrey’s is that they source their ingredients from local growers and farms, helping other businesses to grow along with them.
It's always great to support local businesses while enjoying a fantastic meal.
You’ll also find a great wine and beer selection at the restaurant if you plan to swing by in the evening.
I've had a beer and a mixed drink there before, and I even bought a bottle of wine at the bar.
The staff is usually friendly and accommodating, making the experience even better.
Overall, Aubrey's is an awesome place to eat with delicious food at a good rate.
Delta Blues BBQ
I recently grabbed some of the best authentic Southern food around Bristol at Delta Blues BBQ.
I enjoyed the rustic setting and lively atmosphere inside the restaurant and by the patio while listening to blues-inspired music performed by local talents.
I kicked off my dining experience with popular appetizers like nacho blues and loaded delta fries, which were absolutely delicious.
Then, I moved on to their famous blues burger, made from a blend of Angus brisket, short rib, and chuck.
It was hands down the best BBQ I've ever had!
While at it, I paired my meal with draft pints like the Yeehaw Dunkle, State Street Long Tom, and Yuengling Oktoberfest.
The drinks were fantastic and complemented the meal perfectly.
The service was top-notch too. My server Daedrian recommended the dishes I tried, and I was not disappointed.
The environment was very comfortable and well-kept, making my dining experience even more enjoyable.
I also heard about their new location in Plano, and I can't wait to try it out.
I've been told they serve the best prime brisket in a restaurant, not too smoky and super tender.
Their sides, like fabulous French fries, potato salad, and slaw, are also great.
Bristol Cafe & Market
Whenever I crave home-cooked meals while in Bristol, I always make a quick trip to Volunteer Pkwy and grab a seat at Bristol Cafe & Market.
This family-owned restaurant is stocked with every dish I usually find at home, which gives off a comforting and relaxing vibe with every bite.
I love indulging in their handcrafted sandwiches, homemade soups, signature sides, gourmet burgers, and freshly brewed coffee to start my day.
One time, I got the chicken salad on a croissant and added homemade chips and a cup of tomato bisque soup.
The chicken salad sandwich was good, and the chips were okay. My friend got the Caesar chicken wrap, and he loved it.
The inside of the cafe is adorable, and the menu has plenty of sandwiches to please both the pickiest and the broadest of taste buds.
The staff is always friendly, and the prices are more than fair.
If I can't get enough of Bristol Cafe & Market's menu, I bring home gift baskets and takeaways of my favorite dishes to share with my family.
The restaurant also has a market that offers a variety of local goods sourced from small businesses, including jams, jellies, and handmade pasta.
I can't imagine leaving Bristol and Tennessee without ordering anything from the state’s very own Cootie Brown’s.
With three locations, two in Johnson City and the other on Bristol’s Volunteer Pkwy, it's a favorite spot of mine.
The restaurant prides itself on serving real food, good times, and an eclectic atmosphere that anyone will surely enjoy.
From tamales and salads to pizzas and burgers, Cootie Brown’s ensures that all dishes are prepared without a sprinkle of MSG.
I've tried a basket of grilled whole wings, Cootie’s chili, and goat cheeseburgers, and they were all delicious.
The friendly atmosphere and staff make every visit enjoyable.
I appreciate how they are very good about food allergies and always provide fresh meals at a good value price.
One of my favorite dishes is the veggie burger, which is delicious among other good choices.
The service is consistently great, making every trip worth it.
620 State Restaurant
620 State Restaurant is a fusion food restaurant owned by RMM Hospitality, which has over ten establishments across Tennessee, starting with the Stir Fry Cafe in 2004.
With their years of experience, I knew I was in for a treat.
The rustic interior of the restaurant was very inviting, and I couldn't wait to dive into their menu.
I was impressed by the wide range of sushi options and the variety of American and Asian dishes available.
The food was prepared using the finest ingredients, and I could taste the quality in every bite.
I started with the green tomatoes, which were absolutely delicious.
Then, I tried the Philadelphia roll and General Tso's, both of which were very good.
The sushi specials were excellent, and I can't wait to come back and try more of their offerings.
After enjoying my meal, I headed to the cocktail bar and ordered a few rounds of my favorite drinks.
The atmosphere was perfect for chatting the night away with my closest friends.
The service throughout the evening was wonderful, and I never had an empty glass.
Bristol Bagel and Bakery
There’s nothing quite like fresh bagels on a fine morning, and I can confidently say that the best ones are at Bristol Bagel and Bakery.
This bakery along State Street is my go-to spot for a delicious breakfast.
They prepare fresh servings of delectable morning dishes that never disappoint.
One time, I was craving a bacon, egg, and cheese bagel, and let me tell you, it was loaded with bacon!
If you love bacon, look no further for the ultimate Baconator.
The bagels are always soft and tasty, and I appreciate that they won't yank my teeth out like some of the harder NY-style bagels.
Of course, I can't forget about their fresh pastries on display.
I often enjoy a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with my meal, and the atmosphere is always warm and welcoming.
The staff is nothing but amazing, cordial, and accommodating.
They even make the coffee to my specific request, and it's always very well done.
Bristol Bagel and Bakery also sells gift cards, which I've purchased to share the wonders of this restaurant with my friends and family.
Mad Greek Restaurant
Pizza always makes a great snack or even dinner for some.
Luckily for us, Bristol has the Mad Greek Restaurant on Volunteer Pkwy.
For over 30 years, Mad Greek Restaurant has served mouth-watering pizzas accompanied by Greek-Italian dishes to the people of Bristol.
Mad Greek specializes in Mediterranean and Greek pizzas in flavors like Zeus, BBQ Chicken, White Pie, and much more.
I recently visited the restaurant with my family after a weekend camping trip, and we were delighted by the welcoming ambience, spotless tables, and very attentive staff.
We ordered a variety of dishes, including lamb gyros, a huge cheeseburger, and a perfectly made BLT.
One of the highlights of our visit was trying their famous milkshakes.
We ordered an Oreo milkshake and two Baklava milkshakes with huge chunks of baklava inside.
These milkshakes were absolutely delicious and definitely worth trying.
You’ll also enjoy Mad Greek Restaurant’s house specialties like charcoal-grilled pork chop, smothered chicken, salmon filet, and ranch house chicken.
My kids loved picking out their favorites, as the restaurant has a special menu for younger customers.
As an ardent food enthusiast and restaurant critic, I have traversed the vast culinary landscape of Bristol, TN, and few places have left such a compelling impression as J Frank on 6th St.
Nestled in a strikingly restored Victorian house circa 1850, this splendid eatery presents a feast for both the palate and the eyes.
Its historic charm effortlessly merges with a vibrant ambiance, accentuated by a picturesque outdoor seating area offering enchanting views and the delightful serenades of local musicians.
Starting off my epicurean journey with their small plate offerings, I was utterly smitten by the crab hush puppies and blue point oysters.
The fusion of the fresh, tender seafood with the crisp exterior and soft interior of the hush puppies was nothing short of a gastronomic revelation.
The entrée segment of the menu further whetted my appetite. J Frank's USDA prime ribeye, heritage rib roast, and Fair Island salmon were all cooked to sheer perfection, each bite a symphony of flavors that left me yearning for more.
The brunch menu was equally delightful, a mesmerizing assortment of comfort food that would start any day off on the right foot.
The pecan waffles were wonderfully fluffy and delicately sweet, complemented perfectly by their savory counterparts, steak and eggs, deep dish quiche, and the ever-tempting Frank's Plate.
As I reflect on my dining experiences at J Frank, I am captivated by the eclectic harmony of its stunning setting, live music, and the virtuoso performance of flavors in each dish.
This Bristol gem is undoubtedly a must-visit for any discerning gourmand.
Whenever I'm craving authentic Mexican food in Bristol, I always head to Pinnacle Pkwy and grab a seat at La Carreta.
First established in Lynchburg, Virginia, in 1987, this restaurant features a great selection of dishes inspired by the small town of Jalisco, Mexico.
I usually start my dining experience with a serving of fajita-style nachos before moving on to the famous La Carreta Salad, a crispy flour tortilla filled with greens, chicken, and mushrooms topped with cheese dip.
The food is always delicious, and the cozy atmosphere and friendly service make it even better.
If I'm in the mood for seafood with a twist, I go for La Carreta’s Camarones a La Diablo or the Camarones Rancheros. Both dishes are packed with flavor and never disappoint.
For dessert, I can't resist their famous flan or the deep-fried cheesecake, which is a unique and indulgent treat.
Stateline Bar and Grill
There's nothing better than relaxing in a local bar and filling up on some good food after touring the streets of Bristol.
If there's one place to do that, it's the famous Stateline Bar and Grill along State St.
I've been coming here since 2002, and it's always been a great spot to enjoy classic drinks in a comfy atmosphere that only makes me want to stay longer.
Diving into favorite dishes like hand-breaded chicken tenders, BBQ pulled pork platters, Stateline sirloin, and more is always a treat.
The menu options are excellent, covering everything from meat-eaters to sushi lovers to vegetarian diners.
I've always found the bartending staff to be top-notch, and the wait staff is equally impressive.
The seating is dispersed enough to not feel threatening (insofar as Covid), but it's still cozy, classy, and comfortable, creating a great ambiance.
Plus, it's always clean.
For dessert, I love satisfying my sweet tooth with a plate of fried cheesecake, brownie overload, or cookie monster.
On my recent visit, I decided to try their onion rings as a side (my guilty pleasure), and they were fantastic; honestly, not just really good, they were fantastic.
Their wings are the best I've ever had, with the most amazing sauces.
I highly recommend trying their Dirty South with Raw Dawg for dipping.
In fact, I got their Whiskey sauce on five wings and Dirty South on five more, dipping both in the Raw Dawg.
Pal’s Sudden Service
In the heart of Bristol, TN, you'll find the gem that is Pal’s Sudden Service on Volunteer Pkwy, a personal favorite haunt of mine for years.
This fast-food oasis has mastered the art of serving up quality fare with a unique comic-inspired ambiance, making it a gastronomic hotspot that offers much more than your average meal.
Pal's holds the honor of being America's first restaurant chain to win the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, a testament to their outstanding food consistency.
Their menu is a gastronomic delight, with breakfast biscuits, hearty burgers, sandwiches, and sumptuous hotdogs, all exuding an authentic, home-cooked taste that satiates both heart and stomach.
I find their Cheddar Rounds an irresistible breakfast choice, while the Big Pal burger reigns supreme for lunch, each bite promising a melange of flavor and fulfillment.
However, the Pal’s experience isn’t complete without a dive into their Frenchie Fries, a side order that has the power to transform your meal.
The Peachy Tea, a blend of sweet and revitalizing, stands as my personal beverage recommendation to wrap up your feast.
But the allure of Pal's extends beyond its meals.
The staff is the epitome of warmth, always greeting you with a friendly smile and ensuring your orders are served swiftly.
The Angry Italian Restaurant
Bristol offers unique experiences, even regarding the food served in the area.
If you want a unique dining experience, you might want to swing by the Angry Italian Restaurant on State St.
The Angry Italian Restaurant infuses Chicago-style pizza with the traditional Italian way, giving customers the best of both worlds.
I recently visited the Angry Italian Restaurant and was blown away by the flavors of their pizzas.
I tried the Original Southsider, Quattro Formaggi, Bianco, and tavern-style pizzas, and each one was better than the last.
The Angry Italian Restaurant derives its name from head chef Keith Yonker and his passion for preparing the finest meals possible inside his kitchen.
During my visit, I was served by Katherine, who was friendly and efficient.
She made sure my dining experience was enjoyable and memorable.
The service was really good, and I could tell that the staff genuinely cared about the quality of the food they were serving.
Overall, my experience at the Angry Italian Restaurant was a positive one.
The unique combination of Chicago-style pizza and traditional Italian cuisine made for a memorable meal, and the friendly service made me feel right at home.
Pins & Friends
Stepping into Pins & Friends on State Street feels like discovering Bristol, TN's best-kept secret.
This lively establishment, nestled in the heart of the city, is an exquisite amalgam of culinary exploration and interactive amusement.
The menu bursts with hearty fare, ensuring that everyone has something to look forward to.
The spare ribs, with their succulent meat falling off the bone, paired perfectly with the crunchy and lightly battered fish and chips.
The gutterball grilled cheese, gooey and full of flavor, was a delicious twist on a classic, and a standout among the scrumptious selections.
But the centerpiece of our meal was the ten-pin platter.
Each chicken drumstick, generously coated in savory sauces, evoked homestyle cooking in each satisfying bite.
Ideal for sharing, it was an undeniable hit among my company, satiating our hunger as we dived into the evening's diversions.
What truly sets Pins & Friends apart is its innovative blending of dining with entertainment.
As we feasted, we reveled in the spirited competition of duckpin bowling, a delightful nod to yesteryear's pastimes.
The added thrills of the redemption games brought a buoyant energy that intensified as the night progressed.
Pins & Friends is more than a restaurant; it's a destination.
An exceptional spot for an evening with loved ones.
Machiavelli's Italian Restaurant
I don't have to travel far to satisfy my cravings for fine Italian cuisine in Bristol.
Just a short walk to 5th Street, in the heart of downtown, and I find myself at Machiavelli’s Italian Restaurant.
This restaurant offers everything Italian, from pizzas and calzones to pasta and desserts.
One thing I always look forward to at Machiavelli’s is live entertainment, where I can sing along with the musicians.
The atmosphere is cozy and inviting, making it a perfect spot for a casual date night or a get-together with friends.
I've been here a couple of times, and the service has always been super attentive and helpful.
They give me enough time to figure out what I want from the menu, which is always a plus.
On my visits, I've ordered pasta dishes and shared a bottle of wine.
I'm no wine connoisseur, but I can say that the Italian wines they offer are always good.
The pasta has been great both times. The first time, I had the lasagna bolognese, which I would absolutely go back for again and again.
The second time, I quickly devoured a plate of ravioli that was on the specials menu, and my friend may have been a little jealous of how good it was.
I highly recommend trying their chicken pesto, manicotti, mushroom and olive vermicelli, and more.
Living in Bristol, Tennessee, I've had the pleasure of dining at some truly amazing restaurants.
It can be overwhelming to decide where to eat, but I've narrowed down my personal favorites for you.
If you ever find yourself visiting our lovely city, be sure to check out these top restaurants in Bristol, Tennessee.
Trust me, your taste buds will thank you!