The Best Restaurants in Waynesville, North Carolina
Surrounding Areas,  Wining & Dining

The 16 Best Restaurants in Waynesville, NC

The charming town of Waynesville in Haywood County is one of the best side trips from Asheville since it’s only a 25-mile drive and has much to offer. Considering the population of 10,000 people, you’ll find a surprisingly humming downtown with many restaurants and shops. Still, Waynesville is the biggest town in Haywood County, which is known for its lovely small towns and 13 peaks above 6,000 feet. 

You’ll love exploring art galleries, antique stores, gift shops, and restaurants. I’ve compiled a list of some of the best Waynesville restaurants, with options for everyone’s cravings – from the best burgers in Haywood County and Yelp’s #1 Brisket in the US to off-the-tourist-track places to eat (the best Cuban sandwich north of Tampa, anyone?) and awarded farm-to-table restaurants. 

Also, if you are traveling with a furry friend, this town is home to the highly Instagram-friendly Smoky Mountain Dog Bakery in an area known for offering a vast array of dog-friendly activities. Fido deserves to eat out, too!

Are you looking for ideas on what to do in Waynesville? Visit the Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts to discover the art of Native American and North Carolina heritage artisans. The museum also hosts the Shelton House and Barn, a Charleston-style farmhouse built in 1875. 

Waynesville is also at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so there are plenty of outdoor opportunities, from hiking to discovering waterfalls to taking scenic drives on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This town also hosts fun events throughout the year. Go to concerts, art strolls, and festivals, or shop downtown at the local farmers’ market on Saturdays (from June to December). If you want to mingle with locals, listen to the Cider Ridge Band play old-time, bluegrass, Celtic, and gospel music every Monday at 4:00 pm on the corner of Main St. and Miller (from June to October). 

And don’t forget to start and finish your visit to this adorable town with a fabulous meal at one of these excellent Waynesville restaurants!

Don’t forget to check out our web story: The 16 Best Restaurants in Waynesville, NC

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The 16 Best Waynesville Restaurants 

1. Haywood Smokehouse

Haywood Smokehouse has been claiming it long before Yelpers: they serve “the best Texas-style barbecue outside of Texas” at their three locations in Waynesville, Dillsboro, and Franklin. However, not only is their brisket amazing, but they offer a solid menu that makes it one of the best places to eat in Waynesville. 

The secret? A curated process that begins with the highest quality, all-natural cuts of meat (no hormones or steroids) that are never frozen. The meat is only seasoned with spices, not sauce, because “great meat should stand on its own.” 

Then, it’s slow-cooked using only native hickory. Briskets are smoked for about 16-20 hours and butts for 14-18 hours. Ribs and chicken are cooked twice daily, so freshness is always guaranteed. Haywood Smokehouse offers various sauces and sides, including Nana’s Creamy Coleslaw, Campfire Taters, Burnt-End Baked Beans, and an excellent homemade Brunswick Stew.

Of course, no barbecue experience is complete without a classic Southern-style dessert. They have a great Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie, and the Banana Pudding is always a must. 

Location: 79 Elysinia Ave, Waynesville

2. The Chef’s Table

The Chef’s Table is one the best downtown Waynesville restaurants. Chef Josh Monroe’s “wine country cuisine” has been conceived with fresh, seasonal, and local ingredients and an excellent menu of wines from around the world.

The restaurant has received Wine Spectator magazine’s “Best Award of Excellence,” among other distinctions, and the wine menu includes 250 wines, including half bottles and wines by the glass. In addition, it also features a vast menu of local beers and another one of scotch. 

The menu changes regularly, reflecting the season, but the dishes always include herbs from the chef’s garden. However, the restaurant only seats 42 people, so reservations are strongly suggested. The ambiance is intimate and cozy, and you’ll love the walls decorated with local artwork that’s available to purchase.

Are you visiting during Thanksgiving? They are open and will serve up a feast! 

Location: 30 Church St, Waynesville

3. The Cuban Guy

Waynesville, NC Best Restaurants: The Cuban Guy
Images courtesy of The Cuban Guy

The Cuban Guy is actually Verónica, a Cuban gal. This minority and woman-owned restaurant serves authentic, to-die-for Cuban food and coffee. Please go ASAP and check out one of the best places to eat in Waynesville, NC!

You’ll love the Cuban cafe vibe and the homemade comfort food. Of course, the friendliest smiles in town are always guaranteed.  

Everything tastes wonderful here, from the Cuban sandwich, the Picadillo Bowl, the empanadas, croquetas, and tostones (sweet plantains) to the fantastic Cuban coffee, café con leche, and pastries. 

If you have trouble deciding, give the sampler platter a try! Follow them on Instagram to check their daily specials and combos. If you end up loving them (and you will), The Cuban Guy can also cater your private events. 

Location: 42 Montgomery St, Waynesville

4. Church Street Depot

Church Street Depot offers deliciously simple hand-patted burgers, hand-dipped milkshakes, and perfectly-cooked fries. What can go wrong with that? 

The trick? They use the finest, freshest ingredients, which made them win first place many times as the “Best Burger of Haywood County.”

They offer three beef options: 100% Angus, a custom blend of brisket and chuck, and locally-sourced beef. Also, the shakes and floats are made with all-natural Mooresville Ice Cream and come with toppings like fresh strawberries and a decadent house-made chocolate sauce. Fries are hand-cut daily, cooked to order, and fried in high-quality peanut oil. 

In addition, they offer hot dogs, sandwiches (including a vegetarian option), bowls of chili, and turkey burgers. Try one of their “Local Picks” burgers, like the “Brunch” burger with a fried egg and bacon, or the “Palmetto” burger with jalapeños and house-made smoked pimento cheese.

This is one of the best casual restaurants in downtown Waynesville, and it’s perfect for families with hungry kids or adults that get cranky when they are hungry. You order your food by the counter, and they’ll bring it quickly! 

Location: 34 Church St, Waynesville

5. Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen

Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen was established in 2017 and quickly became one of the best Waynesville restaurants. It offers brunch, lunch, and dinner menus featuring handmade dishes based on seasonal produce. While the cuisine is rooted in Southern tradition, it has a fun, contemporary twist. 

Chef Nicolas Peek’s vision has been “to bring a collaboration between the chef and the farmer and create a menu that celebrated the best of Appalachian and Southern cuisine, utilizing the highest quality possible local and regional ingredients.”

The menus offer everything from yummy starters, salads, sandwiches, and soups to fantastic chef’s selection entrees. Try the Goat Cheese Fritters, the Duck Wings, the Birchwood Fried Chicken Sandwich (fried chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, comeback sauce, pickles, and Annie’s brioche bun), and the Apple Cider Brined Pork Chop (grilled heritage pork chop, fall succotash, and Cheerwine red eye gravy). 

Location: 111 N Main St, Waynesville

6. The Sweet Onion

Best Restaurants in Waynesville: The Sweet Onion

The Sweet Onion is one of the most popular Waynesville restaurants. This downtown eatery offers something for everyone, from freshly-made pasta dishes to classic Southern comfort food staples – all at reasonable prices. You must try the Sweet Onion Soup, a creamier, revisited version of the classic French onion soup, topped with croutons and bubbling-hot Swiss cheese.

This is a very versatile place. It works for family dinners, date nights, or special occasions. Do you need some suggestions? Order the Crispy Fried Onions served with Southwest Ranch sauce or the Fried Saltines and Pimento Cheese as starters.

Follow with the Open Faced Pot Roast (slow-roasted beef chuck roast served over sourdough bread with provolone cheese, caramelized onions, creamy horseradish, and herb au jus) or the Chicken Schnitzel (lightly breaded, lemon sautéed chicken breast cutlets with Madeira wine mushroom sauce).

They also have a lengthy menu of local beers, wines by the bottle and glass, and Waynesville Soda Jerks’ artisanal sodas. 

Location: 39 Miller St, Waynesville

7. Frog Level Brewing

There are many downtown Waynesville restaurants, but Frog Level Brewing is the place to be. This microbrewery offers 21 taps, excellent pub food, a beer garden perfect for families with human and fur kids, and live music from spring to fall. 

You’ll love the chill, artsy ambiance of the indoor space (think local art on the brick walls), the shady outdoor seating space perfect for summer, the creekside seating,  and, of course, the great selection of beers, including an award-winning American IPA that’s pine and citrus forward with a balanced malt base. 

The menu offers a variety of pub food, including great pretzels, wings, and mac and cheese. They also have a “For the Kids” menu, which features a warm bowl of peas and carrots with diced chicken for your four-legged kid! Plus, the space is perfect for parties or larger gatherings.

In addition, Frog Level hosts special fun events like “Yoga and Beer” classes, concerts, and the “Experimental Series: Tuesday Tapping” every Tuesday at 3:00 pm. 

Location: 56 Commerce St, Waynesville

8. Bogart’s Restaurant & Tavern 

When it comes to top-notch Waynesville restaurants, Bogart’s Restaurant & Tavern checks all the boxes: outstanding service, good portions, excellent food, and great value. Established in 1977 and family-owned since then, this is one of the best (and oldest!) downtown Waynesville restaurants. 

Loved by locals, it serves excellent flame-grilled steaks, wings, soups, salads, beer, and wine. You will love the rustic, barn-like building, the lively ambiance, and the motorcycles parked outside. Try the Philly Steak Sandwich, the Pork Steak, the Filet Mignon, and the Sweet Potato Fries. 

The restaurant is child-friendly, and space upstairs is available for larger gatherings and private events. You shouldn’t miss Bogart’s during your next visit to Waynesville because it’s part of the local culture. Go hang out with locals and get three essential things in life: “cold drinks, hot steaks, and warm smiles.” 

Location: 303 S Main St, Waynesville

9. Watamis Sushi & Noodles

Best Restaurants in Waynesville, North Carolina:  Watami Sushi and Noodles

Watami Sushi & Noodles not only serves the best sushi in town, but it’s one of the most popular places to eat in Waynesville. It offers a solid selection of rolls, sushi, sashimi, and a menu of Asian food classics. You’ll love the variety of rolls!  

Try the Rock and Roll, with tempura crab meat, mango, shrimp, avocado, and tobiko, or the Sakura Roll, with spicy crab salad, salmon, white tuna, yellowtail tuna, four types of tobiko, and sweet chili sauce. You’ll be impressed by the presentation and the taste.

In addition to sushi, they have many other dishes, including soups (the miso soup is great), stir-fried noodle and rice plates, pad thai, and teriyaki plates. So even if you don’t like sushi, I can guarantee you’ll find at least five things you’d love to eat.

They have chai, coffee, mango, and strawberry bubble tea, or order a beer, wine, tea, or sake, including flavored and hot. 

Location: 33 S Main St #101, Waynesville

10. Bocelli’s Italian Eatery

Bocelli’s Italian Eatery has been in business since 2008, and it’s one of the best downtown Waynesville restaurants, offering an eclectic menu of traditional Italian food, including freshly-made entrees, pizza, and pasta.   

You’ll love the warm ambiance and the outdoor seating area. Also, they offer daily dine-in specials like Lasagna, Salad & Bread on Thursdays, 12″ House Calzone on Fridays, or Buy One Get One Spaghetti Dinner, Salad & Bread on Sundays.

This is the go-to place for folks looking forward to feasting on authentic, fresh Italian food. Start with the Garlic Knobs topped with an herb blend of rosemary, oregano, and thyme and served with their signature marinara. Follow with homemade pasta (they have excellent ravioli) with various sauces or a fantastic pizza (or both!). 

The best news? The prices are very reasonable, and you’ll get great quality for your money. 

Location: 319 N Haywood St, Waynesville

11. Haywood 209 Cafe

Haywood 209 Cafe‘s extensive menu features traditional American diner staples that taste solidly good. This restaurant opened in 2015 and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. In addition, it offers to-go food and is a favorite among local families.

You’ll enjoy the neat, bright, classic diner vibe, the friendly and fast service, and the variety of foods. The breakfast menu features all the staples, including a great Big Boy Breakfast with a 10-oz hand-cut ribeye, two eggs, and two sides to set your day to a fantastic start. Plus, the excellent locally roasted and in-house ground coffee, tea, and soda are refillable. 

The lunch and dinner menus’ superstars are the Philly Cheesesteak and the Tenderloin Beef Tips, but there are delicious options for kids and adults alike. 

Now let’s skip to the good part: dessert! They offer super creamy vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, peanut butter, and cookies ‘n cream hand-dipped milkshakes, touted as “the best milkshake you’ll ever have.” 

Not a fan of liquid desserts? They have house-made cake (slices are enormous!) and other baked goods, too. 

Location: 3360 Crabtree Rd, Waynesville  

12. Boojum Brewing

Must Try Restaurant in Waynesville: Boojum Brewing
Images courtesy of Boojum Brewing

Boojum Brewing is one of the most popular Waynesville restaurants. Loved by locals, it offers 16 taps of beer plus wine and craft cocktail menus. The offerings rotate with the season. For example, in the summer, they may offer a Mimosa Gose, Gem & Juice NE IPA, Boojum Light Lager, Loral Saison, Bramble On, and Coast to Coast Hazy IPA.

The food menu features pub food and also changes seasonally. You’ll love the burgers, the fried green beans, and the fish tacos. There is indoor seating, and the covered outdoor deck gives mountain vistas. 

The ambiance is cozy, homey, and fun! Their events include karaoke and trivia nights, live concerts, and music bingo. The gem is the bar located below the restaurant/brewery (21+), offering ample seating space, Boojum beer, wine, and a full liquor bar, and more opportunities to amuse yourself by playing bar games, including darts, shuffleboard, and foosball. 

Location: 50 N Main St, Waynesville

13. The Buttered Biscuit

You’ll appreciate The Buttered Biscuit‘s down-to-earth ambiance, fast and friendly service, and generous breakfast portions, including gigantic biscuits and gravy. This is a family-friendly classic that will always live up to your expectations.

The Buttered Biscuit is open for breakfast and lunch, and the menu has something for everyone, from eggs, hash browns, and sandwiches to pancakes, waffles, and French toast, making it the perfect option for larger groups. 

The portions are very generous, and you’ll find all the staples, but, of course, they are famous for the size of the biscuits. However, the texture and the flavor are excellent too, and the gravy is the perfect made-in-Heaven match. 

The cafe also features many (very photogenic) pieces of biscuit wisdom, like this painted quote: “Mind your own biscuits, and life will be gravy” or the classic “I love you like biscuits and gravy.” 

Location: 1226 Dellwood City Rd, Waynesville

14. The Swag

Waynesville, NC Best Restaurants: The Swag
Images courtesy of The Swag

The Swag is a beautiful boutique mountain lodge located 30 minutes from downtown Waynesville at 5,000 feet. This gem features diverse luxury accommodations, astonishing vistas, hiking trails, and a private entrance into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. 

The Swag’s restaurant serves excellent farm-to-table food with a menu that changes daily based on local produce availability. The good news? Not only can guests enjoy fine dining at the resort, but non-guests can also book a dining-only experience online. 

They also offer an exciting Swag Trail Pass, which includes a packed lunch, access to the property’s trails from 10 am to 4 pm, a cute Swag walking stick, and a 10% discount on spa services (please make reservations!). 

So you can explore the mountains, make The Swag a starting point of your Great Smoky Mountains National Park adventure, or spend a laid-back day soaking in the hot tub and getting a massage. 

Location: 2300 Swag Rd, Waynesville

15. Angelo’s Family Pizza & Pasta

Angelo’s Family Pizza & Pasta not only serves fantastic Chicago-style pizza (square slices) but offers a broad selection of yummy pasta, desserts, subs, wraps, soups, salads, and desserts. 

They are also famous for their Garlic Balls: baked pizza dough dipped in a garlic-butter-basil sauce, topped with Romano cheese, and served with homemade pizza sauce. 

Everything about this restaurant screams “family:” the ambiance, the generous portions (each entree comes with two rolls and a choice of house salad or cup of soup), the Italian comfort food, and the fact that it’s family-owned. 

Angelo’s Family Pizza & Pasta has been owned and operated by the Hansen family for over 27 years! The owners are now Crystal Hansen and Chef Shawn McCoy, the author of celebrated cheesecakes and desserts.

They are open for lunch and dinner. Dine here, and you’ll love the pizzas and the calzones. Plus, the variety of dishes is perfect for a family or group outing. 

Location: 166 Walnut St, Waynesville

16. Beach Mountain Diner

Why the name? Beach Mountain Diner in Waynesville is the fifth restaurant of a family-owned business in Northeast Florida. The owners, Barry and Cason Adeeb, fell in love with this area and decided to bring their award-winning restaurant concept to these mountains.

The result is another one of the most popular restaurants in Waynesville that’s open for breakfast and lunch, serving plentiful portions of amazing food at great prices. You’ll love the happy, yellow and white decorations and the seating arrangements, from booths and tables to high seats by the counter.

Their menu is super extensive and has some great brunch options, like Mama Helen’s Fried Chicken & Waffles (lightly breaded chicken breast, fluffy Belgian waffles, syrup, and blueberry butter) or The Ultimate (two eggs with home fries topped with melted cheese, grits, bacon, sausage links, and two pancakes). 

Follow them on Facebook to check out their specials. 

Location: 429 Hazelwood Ave, Waynesville

There you have it! The 16 best restaurants in Waynesville, NC. What are your favorite Waynesville restaurants? Let us know so we can give them a try!


Born in Argentina, Laura is a journalist who's lived in Asheville for 10 years. She loves all things Asheville, from the vast business scene to the beautiful nonprofits, magical people, and marvelous nature. She loves being involved in projects that are the change she wants to see in the world.

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