A Visual Guide to NC’s Secret Foodie Capital

By now, it’s no secret: Haywood County is the real foodie capital of WNC! We’re home to Master Chefs and more than 700 working farms that provide fresh ingredients for our resident culinary masterminds. From Italian dishes to traditional Southern cooking and just about everything in between, you’re sure to find a spot or two that’ll make your tastebuds sing! Check out some of our standout restaurants in Haywood County.

1. Firefly Taps and Grill

Fresh, local flavor is the name of Firefly Taps & Grill’s game. Try out their savory and delicious southern-inspired menu items throughout the week and brunch on Sundays from 10am – 2pm. Oh, and make sure you come hungry.

2. Joey’s Pancake House

Breakfast lovers flock to Joey’s Pancake House in Maggie Valley for their incredible hotcakes and seemingly endless supply of coffee. This legendary breakfast spot usually has a line out the door, so get there early to beat the crowds!

3. JRO’s Burgers and Subs

From the same folks behind Waynesville’s famous Smoky Mountain Sub Shop comes this awesome addition to Canton’s downtown food scene. The best part? You’ll only ever find locally and responsibly raised beef between JRO’s buns.

4. Haywood 209 Cafe

This hidden gem is tucked into the side of a Shell gas station on Hwy 209 right off I-40. In typical, dynamic diner fashion, you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes here. Haywood 209 Cafe’s milkshakes are worth saving room for, and they pair especially well with their fries. Don’t say it’s weird until you try it for yourself!

5. Sauced

A vibrant mural greets you upon entering Sauced on Waynesville’s Main St. But its best feature is undoubtedly the mountain view you’ll find through the front window. This is a great place for your favorite guilty pleasures, with pizzas, tacos, and a great selection of beer. Their “tatchos” make for an excellent warm-up dish. Just seeing their pizza elevator in action might be worth the trip alone.

Sauced Restaurant in Waynesville, NC

6. Blue Rooster Southern Grill

This may sound a little funky, but Blue Rooster’s new take on traditional Southern favorites (like fried green tomatoes) makes it a must-try. Get a load of the Pimento Cheese Crab Dip before diving into dishes like Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon, Queen Elizabeth Burger, or a BBQ Quesadilla.

7. Southern Porch

The former Imperial Hotel in Canton is now home to Southern Porch. Here, you’ll find Southern staples with a twist—like a Mac & Cheeseburger, Pimento Cheese Shrimp & Grits, and a French dip. They boast a huge porch and regular live music performances, taking an outdoor meal to the next level.

8. Chef’s Table

Executive Chef/Owner Josh Monroe engineers delicious farm-to-table, wine country cuisine at Chef’s Table that you’ll want to snap a pic of first before your first bite. We’ll just leave you with this teaser before you swing by: Fried Risotto Balls.

9. Frankie’s Italian Trattoria

Serving handmade pasta and traditional Italian meals in Maggie Valley since 2011, Frankie’s is an adored lunch and dinner spot among locals and travelers. They have certainly mastered the delicate and critical art of creating delicious Italian comfort food.

Frankies Italian Tratorria AmyRohr

10. Frogs Leap Public House

This farm-to-table restaurant and bar only sources its ingredients locally and sustainably. And you can really taste their commitment to fresh meals. With a wide range of regional dishes, innovative southern comfort foods, street foods and pub fare, you just might be leaving with a couple of to-go plates from Frogs Leap.

11. J. Arthur’s

Prime rib and fresh Maine lobsters in the Smokies? Yep, the ultimate “treat yourself” dishes can be enjoyed thoroughly and without regret at J. Arther’s in Maggie Valley. Don’t miss their winter interior decorations that rival Santa’s own each year.

12. Bourbon Barrel Beef & Ale

Explore Waynesville past Main Street and you’ll find thriving neighborhoods like Hazelwood that features Bourbon Barrel Beef & Ale. Meat lovers rejoice, they specialize in hand-cut, all natural steaks from local farms, incredible burgers, and other classic american comfort foods.

13. Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen

Executive Chef Nicolas Peek shows off his masterpieces at Birchwood Hall showcasing a farm-to-table approach deeply rooted in Southern tradition. Each dish pays homage to the down-home warmth of Southern cuisine with an eclectic, modern twist.

14. The Sweet Onion

The Sweet Onion Restaurant puts together regional cuisine with contemporary flair. A popular date night spot just off Main St in Waynesville, this restaurant has traditional favorites and amazing signature pastas.

15. Kandi’s Cakes & Bakes Shop

What would a foodie capital be without excellent dessert options? Sweet toothers beware: Kandi’s will fulfill your cravings and has been known to ruin a diet or two with freshly-baked treats like chocolate thumbprints, lemon bars, uniquely shaped cookies, apple turnovers and more.

16. The Strand

Frozen dessert more your speed? Head to The Strand on Main St Waynesville for ice cream or milkshakes and floats. They’ve got pretty much every topping under the sun, and their freshly brewed coffee makes for a perfect pick-me-up.


Explore our foodie capital and comment down below your own favorite places to grab food!
Share your foodie pics with us! Tag us @visitncsmokies using #haynow!
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