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7 Must-Try Restaurants in Waynesville, NC

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I have stated many times that Western North Carolina is one of my favorite places to visit. There is something about that part of the Smoky Mountains that has a special place in my heart.

map highlighting western NC
Photo showing Western NC. Photo from

It could be the childhood memories that I have experienced there. Or like a close friend of mine said when talking about a restaurant we both have been going to since childhood: “It is not really about the food for me but about the atmosphere, tradition, and memories.”

Either way, the food, and places we visit as a child hold special places in our hearts. It is a way of connecting those memories with the past. Even if the food or place is not as good as we remember, you still like to visit it for memories.

Each time I visited Maggie Valley, NC, we also visited nearby Waynesville. Waynesville is similar in style to Asheville, NC, but on a smaller scale.

There are many cool and unique shops located in downtown Waynesville. There are just as many awesome restaurants throughout the town too. That is why I am sharing this list of 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Waynesville, NC.

#7 Ammons Drive-In & Dairy Bar

To start the list off, we check out a restaurant located at the intersection of Hwy 19 (Dellwood Rd) and Hwy 276, Ammons Drive-In is serving up your classic Drive meals.

Photo From Ammons Drive Inn Facebook Page

The last time I visited I ordered the Hamburger Steak and it was awesome. You can come in and sit down or pull up for the curb service.

Photo from Ammons Drive Inn Facebook Page

They serve all your classic drive-in meals like cheeseburgers, hamburgers, hot dogs, fish sandwiches, and chicken strips.

After your meal, you can opt for a milkshake or a banana split. Ammons has to be included in our list of 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Waynesville, NC.

Ammons Drive-In and Dairy Bar
1451 Dellwood Rd
Waynesville, NC

#6 Fat Buddies Ribs and BBQ

Next, we have a BBQ joint on the list. Fat Buddies is your typical southern BBQ restaurant. They have two locations, one in Franklin, NC, and one in Waynesville, NC. It is located in the Waynesville Plaza right off Hwy 276. They are serving up some of Western NC’s best BBQ and ribs.

They have all your normal BBQ offerings and a few unique ones like fried pickles and fried green beans.

Photo from Fat Buddies Facebook Page

Fat Buddies is certainly worth being on the list of 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Waynesville, NC.

Fat Buddies Ribs and BBQ
193 Waynesville Plaza
Waynesville, NC

#5 Frog’s Leap Public House

Note: FLPH has since closed and is only open for private events. The owners have decided to semi-retire. 

Frog’s Leap Public House is a unique restaurant on its own. They are located in Downtown Waynesville in one of the old historical buildings. They did an awesome job dressing the building up and showcasing the building’s natural and unique features.

Frogs Leap Public House
Photo from Frog’s Leap Public House Website

It has that industrial-modern feel on the inside of the
building with really high ceilings and lots of exposed brick.  I like what they have done with it.

The food there is just as great. When I stopped in I had a hamburger and it had a homemade sauce that was out of this world. They have a very eclectic menu that matches their style.

Burger from Frogs Leap Public House Burger
Photo from Frog’s Leap Public House Website
Frogs Leap Public House-Chicken
Photo from Frog’s Leap Public House Website

Many of their dishes look as if they were cooked in a fancy New York City restaurant. The kicker is that you don’t pay the New York City Prices. Most of their ingredients are locally sourced and are extremely fresh. Try it out, I think you will love it too. We had to include Frogs Leap on our 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Waynesville, NC.

Frogs Leap Public House
44 Church St.
Waynesville, NC

#4 Jukebox Junction Canton, NC

Jukebox Junction is located off the beaten path but it is not that far from downtown Waynesville. We love this restaurant and thought why not include it in the 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Waynesville?

Jukebox Junction

We found this place by accident one year while visiting a pumpkin patch just around the corner from Jukebox Junction.

Jukebox Junction made our list of 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Waynesville, NC for the awesome food and staff that run the place.

The food is great and the people working there are extremely nice. I recommend the club sandwich here. It is awesome.

Yummy food at Jukebox Junction

Stop by and check them out just remember to bring your GPS because you may need it to find them. It is definitely off the beaten path and one of the local’s favorite places.

Jukebox Junction
6306 Pigeon Rd
Canton, NC

#3 Clyde’s Restaurant

We just visited Clyde’s Restaurant a few weeks back. I love the way Clyde’s Restaurant looks. It has that old dinner feel to it.

Clyde's Dinner Waynesville, NC

They have it decorated to a tee for the fall season and I imagine they continue that theme throughout the different seasons.

I also love their sign. Very few places have their original sign left but this appears to be one of them. It has that iconic diner shape and design to it.

Clyde's Dinner decorated for fall
Clyde’s dinner in Waynesville, NC decorated for fall

The food there was really good. I had the open-face sandwich and that gravy on it was to die for. I also want to mention those homemade rolls, mmm mmm good. My kids had chicken tenders and you could tell they were hand-cut and breaded. It is worth the trip to stop by Clyde’s Restaurant. We simply had to include it in our 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Waynesville, NC.

Clyde’s Restaurant
2107 S Maint St
Waynesville, NC

#2 Sweet Onion

Sweet Onion is located in downtown Waynesville just on the opposite block from Frog’s Leap. Every time I go downtown, park, and walk around, I can smell the fumes wafting from the kitchen of Sweet Onion.

sweet onion waynesville, nc
Photo from Sweet Onion Facebook Page

It makes my mouth water every time. After all, it has a high score on Trip Advisor sometimes being number 1. The food here is simply amazing.

Photo from The Sweet Onion

Every time I mention going to Waynesville, people always say try out Sweet Onion. We did and we loved it. We ate here for lunch and as I mentioned above it was amazing. This is why Sweet Onion is number 2 on our 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Waynesville, NC.

#1 Bogarts

Finally, drum roll, please…We love Bogarts. We have eaten here a few times and it has always been right on cue. Most of the time this is a dinner place we eat so we have steaks. They are always flavorful, tender, and juicy.


Just the way a steak should be. On Trip Advisor, they are always near the top like Sweet Onion’s, and are sometimes number 1 too. I have never had a bad meal here and would recommend this to anyone.

Bogart’s is one restaurant you must try and that is why we made it number 1 on our 7 Must-Try Restaurants in Waynesville, NC.

303 S Maint St
Waynesville, NC

While you are visiting the area, make sure to check out our list of 19 things to do while in Maggie Valley, NC. I think you will find there is something for everyone!


In conclusion, Waynesville, North Carolina boasts a delightful culinary scene that caters to a variety of tastes and preferences. From mouthwatering barbecue to American cuisine, these seven must-try restaurants offer a diverse range of dining experiences that showcase the town’s culinary excellence.

Whether you’re a resident or a visitor passing through, exploring these culinary gems is a culinary journey well worth embarking on. With their unique flavors, welcoming atmospheres, and exceptional service, these restaurants have undoubtedly earned their place on any food lover’s list of must-visit destinations in Waynesville. So, don’t miss the opportunity to savor the delectable dishes and create unforgettable memories at these culinary hotspots in this charming North Carolina town.

Thanks for stopping by Southern Food Junkie. It is our hope that you enjoy this recipe sharing it with friends, family, and coworkers. Make sure to take time to give thanks to the creator, God, by which all blessings flow.
John 6:35

-Ronnie | Let’s Get Food Junked

While you are here, check out these other posts that I feel you will like as well:


Do you have a list of restaurants you have visited in North Carolina?

Yes, here is a list of all the places I have visited in North Carolina.

What is Waynesville, NC Known for?

Known as a fun place to visit, I compare it to a smaller Asheville, NC. It is a quiet, small town, but has many cool shops and excellent dining options.

How far is Waynesville, NC from Asheville, NC?

Waynesville, NC is roughly 26 miles west of Asheville, North Carolina.

Why visit Waynesville, NC?

Waynesville North Carolina is very close to the eastern side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There are lots of outdoor activities to do in and around this area. Located just minutes from Maggie Valley, NC, and Cataloochee Valley where Elk was reintroduced in the early 2000s. You can visit this area, hike, see the Elk, Visit nearby Cherokee, and ride the train in Bryson City, among other things. It is a great central location to do many things to keep you occupied. Also, Waynesville has awesome shops such as the Mast General store and food options.

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Saturday 22nd of June 2019

Birchwood Hall Southern Kitchen would definitely be on my list before some of your picks.

Southern Food Junkie

Tuesday 25th of June 2019

I have heard a few comments about this place. I will try to check it out next time I am in the area. When I wrote this piece, I don't think this restaurant was even opened. I was also trying to give a variety of restaurants. I will try to include a newly updated list next time! Thanks for your suggestion, I can't wait to try this place.


Friday 14th of June 2019

Why isn’t Birchwood Hall listed? They put Sweet Onion to shame. Chefs Table isn’t listed either. You didn’t list the best two restaurants in town. Bogarts is good put not quality meat whatsoever. Poor review!!!

Southern Food Junkie

Friday 14th of June 2019

Reviews are clearly very speculative. What I may think is the best may not be for the next person. Just like movies, you read reviews, go watch it and love it. The reviews may say otherwise. Bogarts is always listed on trip advisor as number one in the area or close to it. Birchwood Hall wasn't in the area when I wrote this piece. I am sorry you feel this way but I tried to give a variety of choices in restaurant styles. Thanks for your comments.

JD Alewine

Monday 10th of September 2018

Hey Ronnie,

As Richard mentioned, I think you would very much like Bourbon Barrel, Beef and Ale. Feel free to drop in on your next visit!

Southern Food Junkie

Tuesday 11th of September 2018

Next time I am up that way I will check that out. It sounds like it would be wonderful.

Richard Owens

Tuesday 5th of September 2017

Did you eat at BB in Hazelwood?

Southern Food Junkie

Tuesday 5th of September 2017

I have not. I hadn't heard of that one yet. Is it good? If so, I will add to my list!


Monday 3rd of July 2017

The best by far is the Blue Rooster in Clyde located in strip where Tractor Supply and Food Lion are located. The Best in Southern Cuisine.

Southern Food Junkie

Thursday 6th of July 2017

Hey Elaine, I really appreciate you stopping by to leave us a comment. I have had quite a few people leave comments on the Blue Rooster. I will try it next time I am in Clyde and do a review on it. Thanks again, Ronnie

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