20 Best Restaurants in Waynesville, NC

Best Restaurants in Waynesville, NC
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From the foothills of the Smoky Mountains to the charming antique shops lining Main Street, Waynesville's enchanting atmosphere has always made it a special place for me.

This scenic town, nestled in the heart of North Carolina, is not just known for its breathtaking vistas and vibrant arts scene but also for its thriving culinary landscape.

The local restaurant scene here is as diverse and colorful as our community itself.

Whether you're a food connoisseur, a casual diner, or someone looking for a cozy corner to enjoy a warm cup of coffee, there is a place for your palate among the best restaurants in Waynesville, North Carolina.

So, join me as I take you on a gastronomic journey, exploring the culinary treasures that this Appalachian town has to offer.

About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable restaurants, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional dining establishments 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

Forke in the Road

Whenever I think of comfort food, the first place that comes to mind is Forke In The Road.

If you're a fan of a traditional hot dog with a twist, this place is a must.

Nowhere else can you find a hot dog so exquisite it makes you rethink everything you knew about this quintessential American dish?

The tiny wait before the food is served shouldn't deter you.

It's proof they're preparing your order from scratch.

It's worth every minute, I promise.

What's my favorite?

The Monday special.

Who could possibly resist a juicy burger with a side of crispy crinkle-cut fries or tots, and a drink, all for just $8?

It's the perfect pick-me-up to kick off the week.

The vibe here is laid-back and homey.

The seating area consists only of picnic tables in the yard - it's just like being at a family cookout.

The restroom facility is also a plus.

Forke In The Road · 3164 Asheville Rd, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Mi Montañita Tacos

"Every town has its hidden gem, and for us, it's all about the tacos.

Nestled in our little corner of the world is a place called Mi Montañita Tacos.

It's a humble spot that might not catch your eye at first, but trust me; it’s a place where the magic happens.

One sunny afternoon, I decided to take a break from my usual eateries and give this place a shot.

The ever-popular steak and tongue tacos were my choice of the day.

It may sound daring to some, but one bite and I knew these were no ordinary tacos.

They were absolutely amazing; each bite was a perfect symphony of flavors dancing on my palate.

Another day, I decided to try something new and opted for the al pastor tacos.

The anticipation was killing me as I took the first bite, and I was blown away!

The meat was beautifully seasoned to perfection, and the sauce it was cooked in was tangy and bright.

Now let's talk about the tortillas.

They were just as they should be - properly cooked and slightly crisp.

What also makes Mi Montañita Tacos even more special is the service.

Mi Montañita Tacos · 1639 Brown Ave, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Taco restaurant

Third Bay - Filling Station

If you're ever in my neck of the woods, you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you don't pop into the Third Bay - Filling Station.

I've practically grown up here; it's my go-to for a hearty, delicious lunch.

I've never had a disappointing meal, and trust me, I’ve tried just about everything on their creative menu.

The daily specials are a gamble that always pays off - they're a delight to the taste buds!

And you won't leave here hungry, that's for sure.

The portions are generous, so much so that I often find myself unable to resist and end up eating half of it before I can even snap a photo.

One of my favorite parts about Third Bay is the vibrant patio area.

It's the perfect place to enjoy a lovely day while digging into a delicious meal.

And the best thing?

It's a locally owned and operated business run by the most amazing folks.

And here's a little insider tip - make sure to stop by Corner Station, the little store attached to the restaurant.

It's a mini treasure trove that you wouldn't want to miss.

Now, let's talk breakfast.

There was this one time when a power outage led me and a few friends on a wild hunt for a good breakfast spot.

We ended up at Third Bay, and boy, was it a serendipitous find!

We started our meal with a moist white chocolate blueberry muffin seared off in a buttered pan.

Sounds dreamy, doesn't it?

Just wait until you try the main meal of a frittata burrito spiked with bacon and sharp cheddar, then pressed panini style.

The explosion of flavors was just sublime!

Their custom-blended coffee is something else too.

It's professional-level good and the perfect way to start your day.

Third Bay - Filling Station · 136 Depot St, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Cafe

Beach Mountain Diner

The moment I step into Beach Mountain Diner, I feel like I've been whisked away to a quaint seaside cove.

From the charming décor that mirrors the laid-back vibe of the beach to the lively atmosphere, it's one of my favorite places to escape from the hustle and bustle of Waynesville's town life.

I often find myself sliding into the counter seat, opting to enjoy my meal in a more intimate setting.

On one visit, I savored the Salisbury steak lunch special - a hearty steak ladled with rich gravy and earthy mushrooms, served over fluffy mashed potatoes.

I opted for cream corn on the side, a decision I've never regretted.

Each bite was seasoned to perfection, the portions were generous, and I found myself recommending this dish to everyone I knew.

On a busy breakfast day before a hiking trip, I was pleasantly surprised by how diligent they were with my food allergies.

I felt completely at ease, enjoying my meal without any worries.

Plus, their flexibility to order either breakfast or lunch from 7 am to 3 pm puts them on the top of my go-to list.

It may be a little wait, but as the saying goes - the best things in life are worth waiting for.

Beach Mountain Diner · 429 Hazelwood Ave, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Dough Boys Pizza & Wings Waynesville

Sometimes, you need a good pizza and wings fix, and when that craving hit me, I knew exactly where to head.

Tucked away just outside downtown Waynesville is a little piece of pizza heaven, Dough Boys Pizza & Wings.

Trust me when I say their menu is the food dreams are made of!

I strolled into Dough Boys, an aroma of freshly baked pizza and savory wings wafting through the air.

The heat and characteristic smoky scent from the kitchen added to the ambiance, making the place feel cozy and inviting.

The aesthetics did feel a bit hot and muggy, but that could never overshadow the exceptional food.

I made my order at the bar; 6 garlic Parmesan wings and a large pizza laden with mozzarella, feta cheese, and cupped pepperoni.

As I took my seat, I couldn't help but appreciate their selection of drinks.

With 43 taps offering a variety of beers, there's something for every palate.

When the food arrived, I was delighted by the pool of sauce at the bottom of the wings' basket, and the wings themselves were perfectly crispy.

The pizza, oh, the pizza!

It was savory, with a golden crispy crust that added a perfect crunch to every bite.

The feta and mozzarella cheese blended seamlessly with the pepperoni, creating a harmony of flavors that was nothing short of indulgent.

Honestly, it's not just the food but also the prices that make Dough Boys a win-win.

Considering the quality and taste, their prices are quite reasonable.

Dough Boys Pizza & Wings Waynesville · 180 Legion Dr, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Haywood Smokehouse

Have you ever tasted meat so tender and flavorful that it literally melts in your mouth?

Well, that's the kind of culinary masterpiece Haywood Smokehouse is known for.

Nestled in the heart of Waynesville, this smokehouse is popular for its succulent meats and heavenly side dishes.

I remember the first time I stepped into Haywood Smokehouse.

When they say this place is all about the meat, they aren't joking.

My personal favorites are the smoky pork and brisket, but the pork quesadilla is another standout that you should not miss.

Every bite of the meat is a flavorful journey, making me appreciate the artistry that goes into slow-smoking it to perfection.

But the brilliance of Haywood Smokehouse doesn't end there.

Their Brunswick soup is nothing short of amazing, and their homemade sauces are the perfect complement to the meat.

And if you're a dessert lover like me, the banana pudding will knock your socks off.

It's a sweet finish to a hearty meal that will leave you planning your next visit before you even leave.

One of the things that set Haywood Smokehouse apart is the warm and friendly service.

Haywood Smokehouse · 79 Elysinia Ave, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Barbecue restaurant

The Cuban Guy

Oh, the flavors of Cuba, right here in our town!

The Cuban Guy is my favorite spot to satisfy my craving for authentic Cuban food.

You might need to practice a bit of patience when you visit; it's not your typical fast-food joint.

But trust me; the wait is worth it.

Every dish is prepared with care and served piping hot.

The first time I dined here, I was recommended the Cuban combo, and it was a revelation.

The portion was generous, and the flavors were just right; it felt like a hearty home-cooked meal.

If you're not familiar with Cuban cuisine, I'd suggest you try their sampler.

It gives you a taste of a variety of their dishes.

I remember my friends, new to Cuban food, trying it out.

They loved every bite, a testament to the authenticity and quality of the food here.

On my last visit, I had the Cuban sandwich, which brought back fond memories of my childhood.

The taste was just as I remembered - a delightful blend of well-marinated meat, pickles, and mustard in freshly baked bread.

The Cuban Guy · 42 Montgomery St, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Mad Anthony's Taproom & Restaurant

Every time the craving for a good old pint of craft beer kicks in, I usually find myself at Mad Anthony's Taproom & Restaurant.

With a casual ambiance that effortlessly blends with the rustic charm of the town, this place is a real gem.

You see, they never have less than 50 craft beers and ciders on tap at any given time.

Coupled with their classic comfort bites, it's a haven for anyone seeking a laid-back night out.

I remember the first time I walked into Mad Anthony's.

I was immediately taken by the dizzying array of draft options, 49 to be exact.

But what really entices me back every single time is their exceptional pizza.

I've tasted a lot of pizzas in my life, but nothing quite like Mad Anthony's.

Their gluten-free crust option is divine, and the variety of toppings is mind-boggling.

Beyond the fantastic food and drink, Mad Anthony's boasts a cool, low-key vibe that I absolutely adore.

It's the perfect spot to unwind after a day in the great outdoors, whether you've been splashing about on the river or conquering the mountain trails on your bike.

You might find the beer list doesn't rotate very often, and the service might not be the friendliest, but the soul of this place more than compensates for these minor quirks.

Of course, Mad Anthony's isn't just about the beer and food.

The place itself is pretty cool, with an interior that radiates a unique character.

Mad Anthony’s Taproom & Restaurant · 180 Legion Dr, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Bar

Chef's Table

I'm always on the hunt for the next best place to satiate my palate, and boy, did I hit the jackpot with Chef's Table.

Nestled in the heart of Waynesville, this gem of a restaurant offers a unique observatory-dining experience, allowing you to witness the magic that unfolds in the kitchen.

I'm no stranger to the world of fine dining, but the gastronomical adventure that Chef's Table offers is truly second to none.

Every dish is an artistic masterpiece, from tantalizing appetizers to mouth-watering desserts.

The kitchen whips up seasonal wine country fare that is as delectable as it looks.

One of the standout dishes for me was the deconstructed lasagna.

This heavenly creation had all the classic components of lasagna but was presented in a way that was both unique and delicious.

The handmade pasta sheets, spinach, and tomatoes, all smothered in a delightful Parmesan cream sauce, were a sight to behold and a taste to remember.

If you're a meat lover like me, their Black and Blue Steak is a must-try.

Chef’s Table · 30 Church St, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

The Patio Bistro

Oh, how I adore the charms and flavors of The Patio Bistro.

It's one of those places that make you regret getting your food to go, thanks to its enchanting patio.

Trust me; I found out the hard way when I ordered lunch takeout.

The enchanting patio, dotted with cheerful furniture and verdant plants, beckoned me as I waited for my order in my car.

The food, oh the food!

It's the kind that brings out the mmm's and ahh's with every bite.

From deliciously wholesome lunches that make you feel good rather than bloated to dinners that hit all the right culinary notes, the Patio Bistro never fails to surprise and delight.

I find myself going back at least three times a month; it's that good.

The chicken salad sandwich is a revelation– a must-try if you ask me.

The chicken noodle soup is another favorite.

Every bite is a delightful surprise that tantalizes the taste buds and leaves you yearning for more.

It's exciting to know there's still so much more to try from their menu.

The Patio Bistro · 26 Church St, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Bistro

J Creek Cafe

Oh, the charm of stumbling across a small town café that serves food with the kind of love you'd only find at home!

That's exactly what you can expect at J Creek Cafe.

Nestled just a short drive west of Asheville, it's my go-to place when I need a hearty breakfast to kickstart my day or a comforting lunch to soothe a grumbling tummy.

Their hospitality is unlike any other, and you instantly feel like you are part of the café family.

I've lost count of the number of times I've indulged in their meatloaf special.

It's a dish that truly hits the spot with its home-style flavors, and every bite brings back nostalgia for my mom's kitchen.

When I'm in for breakfast, their variety never ceases to surprise me.

From fluffy pancakes to eggs, just the way I like them, there's something for every palate.

Sure, there are some mornings when a bunch of older gentlemen hang around, sharing tales and sipping hot coffee.

But it adds to the charm of the place, like a scene from an old movie.

J Creek Cafe · 3796 Jonathan Creek Rd, Waynesville, NC 28785, United States
★★★★★ · Breakfast restaurant

Suwana Asian Cuisine

Let me tell you, when I crave a real Asian culinary experience right in the heart of Waynesville, there's no place I'd rather be than Suwana Asian Cuisine.

This gem in our small town is truly a gastronomic delight.

Talk about their fried rice or hibachi; I'd confidently say it's the best in town.

However, the crowning glory of my meal here is always their Crab Rangoons – the best I've had, hands down.

Forget Asheville; this is the place that has my vote and my heart.

The authenticity of their dishes is what lights up my taste buds, too.

Trust me, one bite of their seafood dish, and you'll be transported right into the heart of Singapore; the spice level is just right, tantalizing yet not overpowering.

The food here isn't just delicious; it's culturally sound.

And if you're passing through on your way to Cherokee, NC, and that Thai food craving kicks in, I can guarantee you won't regret making a pit stop at Suwana.

Whether it's their pleasing atmosphere, their excellent service, or their mouth-watering Basil fried rice and Drunken Monkey, it's a full package.

The portions are generous, too, perfect for sharing if you're dining with a companion.

Suwana Asian Cuisine · 128 N Main St, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★☆ · Thai restaurant

Sauced - Pizza, Tacos, Taps

You'd be hard-pressed to find a place that blends uniqueness, creativity, and darn good food the way Sauced does.

Nestled in the heart of North Carolina, this unconventional pizza and taco spot has become my go-to for more than just a quick bite.

Their chicken tacos pack a punch of flavor that's hard to beat, while their white pizza is something my better half swears by.

Each bite sends your taste buds on a trip that's worth every penny.

And let's not forget about the drinks - there always seems to be a great selection of adult beverages, including some top-notch local North Carolina brews.

The setting is just as appealing as the food.

With only a handful of booths and bar seats, the place exudes a cozy vibe.

The unique lighting, made from beer kegs, only adds to the quirky character of Sauced.

Oh, and the three televisions provide enough entertainment to keep you occupied while you wait for your meal.

They've always been more than friendly and helpful.

In true local style, here's a little insider tip: your best bet for parking is in the alley behind the buildings on Wall Street.

And if you're a night owl, you'll be pleased to know that Sauced is one of the few places in town open past 9 pm.

Sauced - Pizza, Tacos, Taps · 188 N Main St, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★☆ · Restaurant

Gigi's Restaurant

A little slice of the Florida Keys has found its way to my hometown, and it’s surprisingly perfect, almost like a staycation.

If you've ever had the pleasure of dining at Gigi's Restaurant, you'd get what I mean.

This spot is a culinary gem hidden just a bit off the interstate, and it's always worth the detour.

The atmosphere is inviting, and as a regular, I can promise you, it will become a mandatory pit stop on your journeys—just like it has for me.

Gigi's menu brims with mouth-watering options—I highly recommend the Cuban, Reuben, burger, and chicken salad.

Each dish is not only a feast for the taste buds but also pleasingly affordable.

With such fantastic food and attractive prices, Gigi's stands out as the best value-for-money eatery around here.

The restaurant also features a food trailer with a permanent waterproof patio, complete with picnic tables.

It might heat up in the summer, but they've thought of everything—ceiling-mounted fans keep the air circulating.

Don't worry about the chillier months either, and they've got a heater installed for our comfort.

It's a great spot to unwind after a long drive, rivaling any halfway point between Cincinnati and Myrtle Beach.

As for service, it's commendable.

Expect nothing short of quick and friendly interactions, which pairs well with the impressively large portion sizes.

And if you're in a rush, they also accommodate telephone orders for pickup.

Gigi’s Restaurant · 4632 Jonathan Creek Rd, Waynesville, NC 28785, United States
★★★★★ · American restaurant

Frog Level Brewing Co

If you're ever wandering by the old historic Frog Level district of Waynesville, North Carolina, and you happen upon a charming riverfront establishment, chances are you've found Frog Level Brewing Co.

This microbrewery is more than just its signature beers; it's a quaint spot where you can enjoy good food with a side of local vibes.

And if you're not in the mood for alcohol, they have sodas, too, chilled to perfection in their cooler.

The food is as much of a star as the brews themselves.

While the Buffalo Chicken Tacos and the Portobello Mushroom sandwich are personal favorites, their Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich is a must-try.

The perfect combination of spice and savoriness will leave your taste buds dancing.

Just a word of caution, though, steer clear of the fries; they can often be a miss.

What sets Frog Level Brewing Co apart is its riverfront location.

Imagine munching on that delicious sandwich while nursing your beer, all the while enjoying the serene view of the river.

They have ample outdoor seating, complete with tables, chairs, and benches, perfect for soaking in the sun or sitting back and relaxing.

As unpredictable as the North Carolina weather can be, a sudden shower is never a problem.

The inside seating is as cozy and comfortable.

You can enjoy your drink while catching up on the latest game on their TVs, or if you're in a playful mood, there's a shuffleboard waiting for you.

Frog Level Brewing Co · 56 Commerce St, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Brewery

The Buttered Biscuit

"Mind your own biscuits, and the rest is gravy" - this mantra perfectly encapsulates the honest hominess and delicious simplicity of The Buttered Biscuit.

There's no pretense here, just straightforward Southern comfort food cooked to perfection and served with a heaping side of genuine hospitality.

Let me tell you, this place is a breakfast haven.

Imagine waking up to the rich aroma of freshly brewed coffee that's as smooth as silk and hearty portions of your favorite breakfast classics served piping hot.

Even the most ravenous of appetites are more than satisfied here, I once split a meal with my spouse, and we both had our fill.

Now, let's talk prices.

You might expect to pay a premium for food and service of this quality, but not at The Buttered Biscuit.

It's as cost-friendly as it is stomach-friendly, giving more reason to make this a regular spot for breakfast and lunch.

The Buttered Biscuit · 1226 Dellwood City Rd, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Breakfast restaurant

Singletree Heritage Kitchen

The first time I stepped into Singletree Heritage Kitchen, I knew I was in for a culinary journey like no other.

Nestled within my hometown, this kitchen exudes an elevated sense of modernity and charisma that few local eateries can ever hope to match.

I remember the moment the trout was served; it was cooked to absolute perfection, well-seasoned, and utterly mouthwatering.

It was an adventure, every bite encouraging my palate to explore further, to delve deeper.

Yet, the charm of Singletree Heritage Kitchen does not just lie in its delicious offerings.

The decor looks like it's straight out of a luxury lifestyle magazine, boasting a modern and sophisticated design that's a rarity in the local dining scene.

The establishment serves not just food but an atmosphere of contemporary elegance that makes every visit a unique experience.

The service, although a tad slow on my first visit, was nothing short of heartwarming.

My absolute favorite, however, is the whole grilled Mediterranean Bronzino.

This bone-in fish is a gastronomical marvel, offering a delicate, tender consistency that melts in your mouth.

Paired with the cherry pudding topped with ice cream, it transforms into a symphony of contrasting yet harmonious flavors - a delight that always leaves me yearning for more.

The variety at Singletree Heritage Kitchen is astounding.

From the assorted local cheeses and charcuterie board to the Parisian Gnocchi that feels like a comforting hug from home, each dish is a testament to the culinary prowess of the establishment.

I particularly enjoyed the Moroccan Style Vegetable Tagine, which is an explosion of flavor from the first bite to the last.

Singletree Heritage Kitchen · 136 Depot St Suite 101, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Church Street Depot

Ever have one of those days where all you crave is a good, juicy burger with crispy fries on the side?

Well, I found my haven at Church Street Depot.

Imagine sinking your teeth into a perfectly seared patty stacked with your favorite toppings sandwiched between toasty buns.

Sounds heavenly, right?

That's my usual order at Church Street Depot, which never fails to hit the spot.

But it's not just about the burgers - they serve up some sublime hot dogs and fries too.

The fries are hand-cut and fried to a delightfully crisp, perfect for dipping into their house-made sauces.

As for the hot dogs, they are just as flavorful and satisfying, making every chomp worthwhile.

All the portions are generous, and a single platter is more than enough for two.

Apart from the food, the ambiance at Church Street Depot is just perfect for a relaxed meal.

It's a cozy little eatery, but certainly, one that packs a punch when it comes to flavor.

I've been frequenting this place since 2019, and each visit is as good as the first.

Church Street Depot · 34 Church St, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Hamburger restaurant

Kanini's Restaurant & Catering

You know you're in for a treat when you walk into Kanini's Restaurant & Catering.

A trip to the nearby Mount Soma temple is never complete without a stop at this family-owned restaurant.

The air is always filled with a mix of tantalizing aromas that make your mouth water in anticipation.

Here, the atmosphere is always warm and welcoming, much like having a meal in your home.

The restaurant stands out not just because of its service but because of the food.

Each dish showcases a creative and unique flair, which is a testament to the freshness and quality of the ingredients used.

Nothing exemplifies this better than their homemade fries.

They're a different take on the classic staple, and let me tell you, they are a revelation!

They are one of my favorite dishes, and I find myself craving them at the strangest times.

Their cheeseburgers, too, are something to write home about.

While I personally prefer mine less well-done, they're still incredibly tasty, and the fries that accompany them are just as great.

Cleanliness is another thing you'll appreciate about Kanini's.

A trip to the restroom will affirm this- it's always spotless.

And rest assured, parking is never a hassle, even on the busiest days.

Kanini’s Restaurant & Catering · 1196 N Main St, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Sweet Onion Restaurant

Imagine a quiet afternoon where the only sound is the soft hum of conversation, and the delicious aroma of Southern comfort food fills the air.

Welcome to the Sweet Onion Restaurant.

I often find myself there, nestled in the cozy brick-walled space, away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

I remember the first time I walked through their doors.

A visit to the Sweet Onion isn't just about savoring their delicious food but also about experiencing the hospitable charm of Southern culture.

One of my favorite things about the Sweet Onion is their creative, upscale renditions of classic Southern dishes.

Who knew Pimento Cheese and Fried Saltines could taste so divine?

I often find myself recommending these to friends who visit the restaurant for the first time.

And let's not forget about their open-faced pot roast.

Its savory flavors still linger on my taste buds, making me yearn for my next visit.

Another dish that elevates the culinary experience at the Sweet Onion is their Chicken Salad BLT.

Every bite takes you on a journey of flavors and leaves you wanting more.

The Sweet Onion Restaurant also offers daily specials.

Once, they served a dish that didn't quite hit the mark.

But, in true Sweet Onion style, they promptly replaced it with something else, proving their dedication to offering an unmatched dining experience.

As if the food isn't enticing enough, the Sweet Onion Restaurant also boasts attentive, friendly service.

Sweet Onion · 39 Miller St, Waynesville, NC 28786, United States
★★★★★ · Restaurant

Final Thoughts

Wrapping up, my journey around the culinary landscape of Waynesville has proven that this small town is a big hub of taste and variety.

After all these years living here, the ever-evolving food scene continues to amaze me, making every meal an adventure.

With its blend of homely atmospheres, international cuisines, and local ingredients, this town has truly stolen my foodie's heart.

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