20 Best Restaurants in Franklin, NC

Best Restaurants in Franklin, NC
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Join me on this culinary odyssey as we explore the best restaurants in Franklin, North Carolina, where the local cuisine promises to delight your taste buds and leave you yearning for more.

How this article was written: Our team first analyzed the scores and feedback across major platforms like Google Maps, Yelp, and Trip Advisor, considering not only the ratings but also the consistency of positive feedback. Following this, we conducted interviews with over 30 local residents who have been to these restaurants to gather authentic, first-hand experiences. You can read more about our research process here.

While this list showcases some remarkable restaurants, it's important to note there are many other exceptional dining establishments in Franklin, NC that are not featured here. Our aim is not just to guide you to popular eateries but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city's diverse culinary landscape for yourself.

Haywood Smokehouse

If there's one place in town that never fails to satisfy my cravings, it's the Haywood Smokehouse.

Tucked away in the heart of our beloved city, this smokehouse is home to an array of delectable dishes that will make your taste buds sing.

What's more, their website Haywood Smokehouse is quite convenient for quick menu reference or any other queries about the place.

Making a pit stop at Haywood Smokehouse wasn't initially on my agenda.

But let me tell you; It was a delightful accident.

Everything was just perfect, from the fresh salads to the flavorsome wings.

I'm not generally a smoked wings enthusiast, but how they deep-fry them for that extra crunch is truly something!

The Texas melt with collard greens is another dish that won my heart.

The unique combination of flavors was nothing short of extraordinary.

Plus, the brisket quesadilla was an absolute standout.

Trust me. It's not something you'd want to miss.

Haywood Smokehouse's service, too, is commendable.

And if you're a sauce connoisseur like me, you're in for a treat.

They offer a variety of sauces to suit your taste.

While they don't have an outdoor area, they offer a takeaway service.

So, even if you're planning a picnic or a quick meal in the park with your furry buddy, Haywood Smokehouse has got you covered.

As for me, I'm already planning my next visit to grab another slice of their bourbon chocolate pecan pie.

And mind you, I'm not even a pecan pie person!

Haywood Smokehouse · 33 Macon Center Dr, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Barbecue restaurant

Gracious Plates on Main

On a casual Tuesday evening, I ended up at Gracious Plates on Main, an unexpected gem in the heart of my town.

I decided to indulge in half a chicken, and oh boy, was it a spectacle!

It was probably the best chicken I've ever had, beautifully moist, juicy, and exploding with flavor.

The kitchen's unique approach of first "sous vide" cooking, then finishing it upon order, truly made the difference, a job well done indeed.

During my visit, I also tried the tender and delightful scallops.

My dining experience ended on a sweet note with a divine flourless chocolate torte.

My next visit was just as memorable.

Unable to resist their tempting menu, I devoured two appetizers, an entree, and a dessert.

The lamb meatballs and tempura mushrooms were phenomenal starters, followed by the mouthwatering sautéed salmon.

Oh, and their cannolis?

To die for!

Gracious Plates on Main never fails to create a friendly atmosphere with their excellent service, which has made it a favorite dining spot among us locals.

Despite the occasional hiccup, the overall experience remains remarkable.

I eagerly look forward to my next visit!

Gracious Plates on Main · 46 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Ms. Lois' Restaurant

When the day has been long, and all you crave is a bit of comfort, one place in town stands apart from the rest.

Nestled in the heart of Franklin, North Carolina, Ms. Lois' Restaurant is my go-to spot for genuine Southern comfort food.

The warm and homey atmosphere is an immediate welcome, making me feel right at home whenever I enter the door.

The restaurant might be a bit on the small side, but the wait is worth it.

After work, I often sit at their outdoor tables, basking in the warm Southern evening.

At the same time, I wait for my usual order - a cheeseburger, always with extra crispy bacon.

Something about how they cook it here: the bacon adds that extra layer of flavor that takes the burger to an all-new level.

The all-day menu is packed with other Southern delights I've enjoyed trying, each heartier and more satisfying than the last.

If you ever find yourself in Franklin, don't forget to check out Ms Lois' Restaurant.

It's the best place to experience authentic Southern fare in town.

From the home-cooked meals to the beautiful staff, Ms Lois' truly encapsulates the essence of Southern hospitality.

Ms Lois’ Restaurant · 145 Highlands Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Family restaurant

Kountry Kitchen

Who would've thought that the heart of Southern cuisine is in my hometown?

Yes, I'm talking about Kountry Kitchen.

This hidden gem has been serving delicious meals, delighting locals and tourists alike.

If you're fortunate enough to find yourself in our neck of the woods, I will urge you to drop by Kountry Kitchen.

Despite the plethora of places to eat here, nothing beats the nostalgia of this local spot.

Picture families gathering for a heartwarming post-service meal after a heartwarming Sunday sermon, and you'll have Kountry Kitchen.

I've seen many a grandparent introduce their grandkids to the joys of a proper Southern breakfast at this place!

One of their standout dishes is the 3-veggie plate.

Let me tell you, their black-eyed peas and cole slaw are something else!

The collards might not be everyone's cup of tea, but as the famous saying goes, "different strokes for different folks."

An unexpected delight comes in the form of their fried bologna sandwich.

Yes, you read that right.

A bologna sandwich!

It's a trip down memory lane, a taste of childhood.

Oh, and get this - they serve breakfast until one p.m.

How's that for a late start to the day?

I'll level with you, Kountry Kitchen may have its quirks, but those quirks add to its charm.

So, if you're in town and looking for an authentic Southern dining experience, you know where to go.

But remember, they close at 2 p.m., so plan accordingly!

Kountry Kitchen · 351 Carolina Mountain Dr, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Breakfast restaurant

828 Cafe

There's something to be said about waking up to a real homestyle breakfast, and I've found just the place.

828 Cafe is a charming nook that reminds me of the comforting warmth of home.

I often find myself there, escaping the usual chain restaurant options.

The moment you walk into 828 Cafe, you're welcomed by the friendly staff who almost make you feel like family.

The process is simple: you order first, then find a seat.

It's not long before they bring your breakfast, steaming hot and mouthwateringly good.

The menu isn't overwhelming but perfectly tailored to offer all your breakfast favorites with their unique spin.

But it's not just about the food.

There's something inherently serene about the cafe's setting.

It’s cozy, comfortable, and perfect for a quiet morning before the day's hustle.

I can't count the number of times I've sat at a table, savoring my breakfast while admiring the place's charm.

There's a lunch menu too.

I've yet to try it, but it’s next on my list.

One thing is for sure: whether you're stopping by for breakfast, planning to work remotely or need a cozy place to relax – 828 Cafe is a must-visit.

828 cafe · 228 NE Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Caffè Rel

You wouldn't think to find a culinary gem like Caffè Rel nestled next to a gas station, but believe me, it's there and it's phenomenal!

This quaint café, adorned with chalkboards and a charming tin ceiling, goes above and beyond the ordinary café offerings.

From their impressive range of sandwiches and pasta to the European-inspired entrees, it's easy to see why this place is a favorite in town.

My first time here, I was blown away by the sheer diversity of their menu.

Not only does the food look appealing, but it also tastes sublime.

I remember ordering one of their specials, sesame ahi tuna served over jasmine rice and pickled cabbage - a dish I can still taste whenever I think of it.

It was so delicious that I ate slower than usual to savor every bite.

One thing that sets Caffè Rel apart is the generous portion sizes.

This is not the place you go to if you're looking for a light snack.

It's where you go when you want a hearty, soul-satisfying meal.

My friend once ordered a turkey BLT, and they gave him a sandwich so huge I doubted he could finish it.

But he did, and with a satisfied smile, he claimed it was the best he'd ever had.

The service is equally impressive.

The staff members are always friendly and attentive, adding to the cozy, family-friendly atmosphere.

The price point is fair, too, especially considering the quality and quantity of the food served.

Caffè Rel is truly a hidden gem that delivers unexpected culinary delights in the most unassuming location.

It's the place you always look forward to returning to, and I can't wait for my next visit.

Caffè Rel · 459 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · French restaurant

Normandie Diner

Pulling up a stool at the Normandie is like stepping back in time.

This vintage diner, operating since 1969, is more than just a place to eat - it's a local institution.

It's the kind of place where you're greeted with a warm smile, where the staff knows your name and your order before you even say it.

For me, the day starts with a steaming cup of coffee and a hearty breakfast.

Nothing fancy, just good old, simple food that leaves you satiated and ready to take on the day.

Their cheeseburgers are the best you'll find in the county.

Juicy and flavorful, they never disappoint.

While the food is a major draw, the best part about the Normandie is undoubtedly the sense of community.

Their location, on a quiet corner in Franklin, adds to the charm, making it a perfect spot to unwind and experience the essence of our town.

The Normandie remains the go-to place for comfort food, a friendly chat, or nostalgia.

It's more than a diner; it's a piece of our town's history and a testament to the power of good food to unite people.

Normandie · 64 W Palmer St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Diner

Hiker's Kitchen

When you've spent your day trekking the mountains of North Carolina, there's nothing quite as satisfying as a hearty meal to fuel your tired body.

That's where Hiker's Kitchen steps in, a hidden gem in my town.

There's something incredibly comforting about the aroma of sizzling burgers wafting through the air as you approach.

The Hiker's Burger is a personal favorite of mine. Every bite is packed with flavors that genuinely hit the spot.

However, in my humble opinion, the crown jewel of Hiker's Kitchen is the world-famous french fries.

Hand-cut, perfectly seasoned, and utterly delicious are a must-try for anyone stopping by.

But the charm of Hiker's Kitchen extends beyond the food.

The bustling brewery and the delicious food create a unique, lively atmosphere that's hard to find elsewhere.

Even on our busiest days, we locals find ourselves drawn to this little corner of our town, the perfect spot to unwind over fantastic food and good company.

Hiker’s Kitchen · 188 W Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Las Margaritas

You know those places where you're greeted with a warm smile, a hearty meal that doesn't leave your wallet empty, and a vibrant, colorful ambiance that instantly lifts your mood?

Las Margaritas is precisely that place for me.

Nestled in the heart of our community, it truly is a hidden gem.

After a long day of work, nothing quite hits the spot like their generous servings of seafood choices, more than I've seen elsewhere in the town.

I'm a big fan of their fish tacos; it's always impeccably prepared, and the sauce - oh, the sauce!

It's always fresh, tangy, and the perfect accompaniment.

There's a lot to be said about Las Margaritas, but one thing that stands out is the quantity and quality of the food.

They don't skimp on meat or seafood or resort to using fillers.

The dishes are well-seasoned and served in ample portions, often enough for later meals at home.

The cherry on top is affordability.

The prices are reasonable, and you definitely get your money's worth and then some.

I also recommend the margaritas and chips.

Las Margaritas, you've got a regular in me.

Las Margaritas · 24 Iotla St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Mexican restaurant

Lucio's Restaurant

One name that always pops up when finding an authentic Italian dining experience in town is Lucio’s Restaurant.

It was a typical Friday evening, and the plan was simple - good food and a relaxing ambiance.

The meal started with a large fresh salad, delicious garlic rolls, and a generous pour of wine - a perfect beginning to a delightful evening.

I ordered the Mussels and Linguini, while my spouse opted for the Cannelloni.

The portions were plentiful, ensuring we wouldn't leave hungry.

The sauce, a key player in any Italian dish, was mouth-watering, the right tang to our meals.

Meanwhile, the eggplant in my Spaghetti & Eggplant was cooked to perfection, neither mushy nor tough, just the way I like it.

Despite the busy scene, Lucio's managed to maintain an eloquent design, mirroring a quaint Italian setting.

As we enjoyed our meals, we felt whisked away to a charming trattoria in the heart of Italy.

Considering the whole experience, Lucio's charm lies in its plentiful servings, warm ambiance, and friendly staff.

It's a place worth checking out for an authentic Italian meal.

Lucio’s Restaurant · 313 Highlands Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Italian restaurant

The Franklin Cafe

Every town has hidden gems, but Franklin Cafe is an absolute treasure!

This place is my go-to spot when I need a delightful meal or when my kids and I crave a fun afternoon outing.

The cafe's kid-friendly atmosphere is second to none; their delightful little games and coloring pamphlets always entertain my children.

And, of course, the food is simply divine!

The pancakes here are a work of art.

But their talent extends far beyond just breakfast food.

On the chillier days, when we were looking for a cozy retreat, we discovered their hot chocolate to be the perfect antidote to winter's bite.

It’s not just a drink. It’s a work of art and a warm hug in a mug.

And their bologna sandwich?

Delightfully hearty and a must-try!

The cafe is also known for its traditional dishes done right.

Their chicken fried steak and fried okra are the talk of the town.

Add some cheese grits to your order, and you have a meal that utterly satisfies you.

And do not get me started on their sweet tea. It's simply the perfect drink to quench your thirst.

Even with such outstanding quality, the prices here are surprisingly reasonable.

I am always pleasantly surprised by the value for money this place offers.

A gem in my quaint town, Franklin Cafe sits in its little corner of culinary delight.

You never have to go far to find great food when you live in Franklin!

Franklin Cafe · 1251 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

El Charro Mexican Grill

From the first mouth-watering chimichanga combination meal to the last satisfying crunch of the fried chicken burrito, dining at El Charro Mexican Grill is nothing short of a fiesta for your tastebuds.

Nestled in the heart of our community, this place has fast become a go-to for lunch and dinner catch-ups.

The food?


From classic Mexican and Tex-Mex staples to unexpected delights like chicken wings, seafood, and steaks – everything comes out rich, flavorful, and downright delicious.

The pitchers of margaritas are just the perfect touch to complement the meal.

One thing that stands out at El Charro is how they balance speed and quality.

I can enjoy a quick meal without compromising flavors or nutrition.

Overall, El Charro offers a delightful mix of excellent food, great service, and fair prices.

It's a must-try for anyone looking for authentic Mexican flavors.

El Charro Mexican Grill · 201 Highlands Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★★ · Mexican restaurant

Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant

It was another bright weekend, and I was craving Mexican food there.

Remembering Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant, I decided to give it a visit.

It's my go-to spot in town, with various options and unbeatable prices.

Entering the restaurant, I was struck by the family-friendly ambiance, full bar, and delightful patio.

It's one of those spots where you can enjoy the weather, soak up the sun, and indulge in some mouth-watering cuisine.

I ordered fajitas and chimichangas, their signature dishes, and they didn't disappoint!

The fantastic outdoor patio was well thought out and offered a relaxed vibe.

Enjoying the crispy and delicate chips while waiting for my order was a treat.

The fried burrito, flaky and crunchy, was a delight.

Likewise, I enjoyed the freshness of the ingredients in the guacamole, lettuce, and tomato.

Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant is a gem in the city, offering an authentic Mexican experience.

Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant · 788 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★☆ · Mexican restaurant

Sunset Restaurant

Imagine it's a cold afternoon, and you're out for a motorcycle ride when your rear tire suddenly goes flat.

Unexpected mishaps can instantly dampen your spirits, but not in Franklin.

Right there, in the heart of our town, welcoming you with its warm glow during the most unexpected moments is the Sunset Restaurant.

The Sunset, an emblem of Southern hospitality, has been a mainstay since 1945.

It still beams with a homely allure that makes you feel like you're simply visiting a friend's place.

Amidst the hustle and bustle, it's a comforting haven where you can sit back, cherish a good conversation, and savor home-cooked meals that bring back memories of grandma's kitchen.

The food is always on point, prepared with love, and served with a smile.

The portions are generous, guaranteeing that you'll be taking a box home for later.

Their breakfast is phenomenal, making it the perfect spot for an early morning treat.

And don't even start on their homemade pies. They're sinfully delicious.

Sunset Restaurant is our little piece of Southern comfort in Franklin, and I wouldn't trade it for the world!

Sunset Restaurant · 498 Harrison Ave #2580, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★☆ · American restaurant

Motor Company Grill

You know there's something magical about a place when you start planning your meals around it.

That's the kind of spell the Motor Company Grill has cast on me.

It's the kind of joint that brings a classic 50s vibe into the 21st century.

I find myself there more often than I care to admit.

The culinary delights that await are hard to resist.

Especially their burgers, oh, their burgers!

Whether you’re a meat lover or a vegetarian, they cater to all.

Customers swap a regular ground beef patty for a veggie burger or beyond burger without being charged extra.

Isn’t that something?

Their veggie burger is a masterpiece on its own.

Perfectly cooked and exuding flavors that leave a lasting impression on your taste buds.

It's the place that makes you feel like you belong.

And the food? Let's say it's the place that makes you want to stick around for dessert.

Life in North Carolina wouldn't be the same without Motor Company Grill.

It's become a part of my routine, a cozy spot I look forward to visiting at the end of a long day.

If you're ever in the area, do yourself a favor and visit them.

It just might end up being your new favorite spot too.

Motor Company Grill · 86 W Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★☆ · Restaurant

Jaxon's Downtown

There's something about the smell of fresh, hot pizza wafting through the air that can instantly lift your spirits.

And nowhere is it more heartwarming than at Jaxon's Downtown.

Walking in, you're greeted with the delicious scent of baking dough, melted cheese, and sizzling toppings.

Jaxon's offers more than just good pizza, though.

Their onion rings add a delightful crunch to your meal, and their side salads, while simple, are always fresh and tasty.

Speaking of adventure, I'd highly recommend the Nacho Fries if you're a fan of trying new things.

Alright, I'll admit it.

I was a bit skeptical at first.

I mean, nachos and fries are good, but together?

I wasn't sure.

But, much to my surprise, it was a delightful mix of texture and flavor that hooked me from the first bite.

The portion size was quite generous, but that's hardly a complaint.

More of a treat!

If you want to push the boat out, the Carnivore Stromboli is a must-try.

It's huge and packed with all kinds of meaty goodness.

Whenever I'm feeling starving, it's my go-to order.

My friend often orders the Philly cheese steak, and trust me. She's not often left with room for dessert.

Jaxon's Downtown is a delightful spot to grab a good, hearty meal without breaking the bank.

Jaxon’s Downtown · 381 Depot St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★☆ · Pizza restaurant


Moving to Franklin, NC, I was apprehensive about the culinary scene.

But when I stumbled upon Sakura, a gem of a Japanese restaurant in a humble strip mall, my concerns were instantly put to rest.

Their gyoza is an absolute taste explosion, perfectly seasoned and flavorful.

The hibachi is always a hit too.

Just last week, I ordered their filet, and it was cooked to rare perfection, just as I like it.

Although I must admit, their fried rice could use a bit more seasoning.

No place is perfect.

What always amazes me is the promptness of their service.

It's worth shelling out those extra bucks for the quality of food, the friendly service, and the cozy atmosphere.

You can linger there with family and friends, savoring the flavors of each dish, the clink of glasses, and good conversation.

Don't even get me started on their 'Yummy Roll.'

It's honestly one of the best sushi rolls I've ever had!

Who would've thought you could find such delicious Japanese cuisine here in small-town Franklin?

If you're ever in the area, do yourself a favor and drop by Sakura.

I promise your taste buds will thank you!

Sakura · 57 Highlands Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★☆ · Japanese restaurant

Fat Buddies Ribs & BBQ

Ah, the sweet, smoky goodness of barbecue – it's the taste of home.

And when we talk about barbecue here, we talk about Fat Buddies Ribs & BBQ.

This rustic restaurant has become my go-to place for those hankerings of Southern and American classics.

On a recent visit, I found their menu filled with BBQ sandwiches and platters.

Let me tell you, the Brunswick stew was a revelation!

Hitting a perfect balance between hearty and savory, I felt it was probably the best stew I've ever savored.

But the star of the show?

The BBQ.

Smoky, rich, and tender, it was everything you'd want in a barbecue dish.

One of the things I admire about this place is the exceptional service.

I've also brought large groups to Fat Buddies, and each time, they've accommodated us easily.

If you plan a get-together, this place should be on your radar.

Fat Buddies Ribs & BBQ · 311 Westgate Plaza, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★☆ · Barbecue restaurant


Imagine the fragrance of warm garlic bread wafting through the air as you step into a cozy, welcoming space.

That's precisely the sensory delight that greets you at Gondolas, a little piece of Italy in the heart of the South.

My first visit to Gondolas made a lasting impression.

I was welcomed by the friendly staff, who quickly offered their services.

The menu, though compact, has been carefully curated to ensure an authentic Italian dining experience.

Their cheese garlic bread is a heavenly treat that one shouldn't miss.

The generous spread of melting cheese atop the perfectly toasted garlic bread is a sight to behold and a bite to savor for a lifetime.

The salads were crisp, fresh, and excellently dressed - perfect for the rich, hearty mains.

I heartily recommend the shrimp alfredo.

The shrimps were succulent, swimming in a creamy alfredo sauce with a bed of perfectly al dente pasta; every bite celebrated flavors.

It's a memory I relish every time I think about Gondolas.

Being a small venue, finding a table can sometimes be a challenge.

The charm of Gondolas is that it is a hidden gem, a treasure too precious to be given away to the masses.

It's an authentic Italian experience that leaves you longing for more.

Gondolas · 1111 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★☆ · Italian restaurant

Boone Thai Restaurant

There's a small yet delightful place in town where I repeatedly return.

The Boone Thai Restaurant is tucked away in a quaint corner, where exotic herbs and spices waft, stirring your senses before you step inside.

As you enter, you're met with a heartwarming greeting and led to your table.

The portions are generous enough to fill even the hungriest stomachs, and the flavors are unforgettable.

I usually go for the yellow curry and cream cheese fried rolls - a delightful dance of spicy and sweet on your palate, leaving you full and completely satisfied.

The restaurant may be small, but it's undeniably cute and cozy.

It's a place where you can enjoy a slow, relaxing meal, absorbing the symphony of flavors in your food and the warm ambiance around you.

So, if you're up for a culinary adventure, Boone Thai Restaurant will not disappoint.

Boone Thai Restaurant · 553 Highlands Rd, Franklin, NC 28734, United States
★★★★☆ · Thai restaurant

Final Thoughts

Franklin, North Carolina, has a rich and diverse culinary scene.

I've spent many beautiful evenings at these dining spots, enjoying the food, the atmosphere, and the friendly people.

These restaurants make Franklin a great place to live, one meal at a time.

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