We have diligently been trying to eat and sip our way through the town of Blue Ridge, Georgia this past year or so. I’m almost embarrassed to say that even after this much progress, there are so many places we still have not reached.
In our defense, we do a lot of other things, but this blog is dedicated completely to the unique food and beverages of Blue Ridge.
My song for this blog is “Hungry Like the Wolf” by Duran Duran:
Das Kaffee Haus is one place we usually end up at every time I am in town. The generic German name lured me in, though I figured it would be like many other places in mountain towns that take on a cutesy Alpine name or theme but have no authentic German connection. I was wrong!
One of the two owners moved to the USA from Bavaria, Germany and later married a Georgia gal.
The café offers a wide selection of coffee shop standards as well as their personal creations, with German names and all.
I usually just drink plain lattes or coffee with cream, no sugar or flavours, but I have successfully been tempted to try a couple specialty drinks here.
Das Kaffee Haus gets their beans from a company called Batdorf & Bronson in Marietta, so even more kudos on partnering locally.
Lovely truffles and huge slices of cake in the display cases are made in their own offsite bakery and fudge shop. Once you see them, you might notice that other local restaurants carry these items on their dessert menus.
This dense lemon cake with fluffy white chocolate icing and shavings got me good.
Tupelo Tea is a great way to start your day or to savour an afternoon in the courtyard. The company shares a building with Blue Ridge Olive Oil which has three other locations in Copperhill-McCaysville, Murphy, and Ellijay.
Margo’s Gourmet Polish Kitchen (known also as Margo’s Bistro) is one of my top Blue Ridge favourites. Margo is bright, funny, and thoughtful, having brought out little sausages for our pups on occasion.
Being well-versed in Slavic cuisine I had no trouble deciding exactly what I wanted (EVERYTHING) but she enjoys asking what her guests like eating and putting together special plates for them that may not be on the menu.
Above is the Polish sampler with stuffed cabbage, roasted kielbasa sausage, and pierogi. Below is a schnitzel-like breaded and fried pork cutlet with mushroom gravy, beet salad, and spinach.
The owner told us about a special fruit cake she was baking and we promised to stop by again later to pick it up.
This cake was incredible, with a buttermilk and Streusel-like top over pillowy layers of baked fruits.
I wish I had written the exact name of it down, but I believe it is called Placek na Maslance, and a quick Google image search backs that up.
Rum Cake Lady has one of the best Cuban sandwiches I have ever eaten, as well as tamales, Spanish lasagna, and other Latin specialties.
The owner is from Cuba and settled in Blue Ridge after moving around a bit. She began baking her family recipes for the public in 2015, opened this location in 2017, and then a second location in 2019 in McCaysville.
Her café is so famous for her decadent rum cakes, they serve them by the hundreds and now offer shipping. I would never have expected the flavour punch I got from one of these the first time, and hopefully many more times to come.
The Black Sheep proudly has the largest patio bar in Blue Ridge, and in colder weather they encapsulate it to keep guests cozy.
We have sat outside each time but the restaurant is in a building that used to belong to the late Colonel Butt, former mayor and Alderman of Blue Ridge. It was built in 1914 and was the first home to have indoor plumbing.
The Black Sheep has been our go-to place for brunch and there is always something new and delish every time.
Eggs Benny over fish cakes, lots of salmon and bacon options, fried potatoes any way you please.
Various tacos, red velvet Belgian waffles, and even some lighter options for those who don’t know how to brunch is supposed to be done; all on the table for you.
The Black Sheep’s owner opened up a second restaurant in 2021 called The Dogwood, slightly more casual, which we have also grown to adore.
The Dogwood is located two doors down in the historic McKinney house. It has a rad backyard patio, also encapsulated in cold weather to keep the chill away.
Tables and sofas are arranged in a party atmosphere so you usually end up making new pals.
Giant onion rings and pulled pork potato skins with chipotle cream almost knocked me out of my seat.
My friend and I went back for her birthday a couple weeks ago, to have dinner and a few drinks. We ended up making friends and dancing while a live band played.
By the end of the night we had invites to go whitewater rafting and tour family farms, numbers were traded, and one guy even offered to come fix my dad’s tractor. It’s the place to be on weekends, really.
And that Reuben, tho.
Breakfast at the newly-opened Sublime Roots was just brilliant.
Sublime Roots is already becoming well known for their toasts and breakfast bowls, medicinal steamer teas, espresso-based standards, donuts, sammies, shakes, and juices. Locally sourced and organic, there are just as many decadent options as there are calorie-conscious ones.
Below is the Aloha Morning toast with roasted pineapple, toasted coconut, and honey over a thick vanilla mascarpone spread.
Here is the Appalachian Lox, their take on the lox bagel, with smoked trout, pickled onions, thin radish slices, and sprouts over a layer of lemon-dill cream cheese.
We had to try their biscuit and gravy bowl topped with an over-easy egg, and a couple lattes too.
One Saturday, or maybe every Saturday, they hosted a small art market in the side room. It was full of lively, creative locals and I really enjoyed the vibe.
Serenity Garden serves a killer breakfast with pancakes the size of your plate and colourful cast of characters, both employees and patrons.
As we were waiting for our food, a gentleman walked over jingling his pockets, presented us with a fistful of costume jewelry and bison teeth, cracked some jokes, and returned to his table. It was one of those “you had to be there” moments, for sure.
Lunch at Harvest on Main was rustic and hearty. I find mounted animal heads disturbing, but I loved the wood paneled ceiling, chandeliers, and woodsy cabin atmosphere.
Like most places in Blue Ridge, Harvest takes pride in local sourcing from neighbouring farms and businesses including their own, The Cook’s Farm, where they produce and care for bees and honey, chickens and eggs, quail, pheasant, and heritage breeds such Duroc/Tamworth Pigs, Cotton Patch Geese, and Silver Fox Rabbits.
We shared the pickle plate, French onion soup, a blackened salmon BLT, and their Hot Brown specialty.
The Blue Ridge Hot-Brown is toasted French bread with smoked turkey, Swiss cheese, crab meat, and a creamy Mornay sauce. It was definitely the unique comfort food experience they were going for.
Whiskey & Water Seafood and Bourbon Bar has a lovely interior inside the historic former 1937-era post office.
We tried the grilled Fish-of-the-Day tacos with serrano and mango pico, grilled lime, rice and beans, plus the Whiskey & Water Burger, a brisket burger with Gruyere, sautéed onions, and a mint-bourbon glaze that somehow disappeared before proper photo documentation.
General Ledger is Blue Ridge’s newest downtown restaurant, set up where Mercier Orchards previously held a storefront.
The building was built in 1926 and originally housed the People’s Bank, and through time each business who made its home there has kept the bank vault in tact.
We have not had a chance to eat there yet, but we stopped by to check out the bar and snap a shot of the celebrated vault.
Hook & Eye is a locally-owned, one-off tavern bar that makes its home above the Hampton Inn.
I avoid writing about chains and hotel bars, but the bartender told us that Hook & Eye is completely local, not owned by Hampton, and that this location is the only Hampton Inn in the country that has an on-site bar. Interesting.
Hook & Eye is also one of the few places in Blue Ridge that is open past 9 pm, officially. We shared the Korean tacos, fried dumplings, and a few cocktails.
PoKitos is one of Blue Ridge’s newest Mexican/Salvadorian spots, and they have Birria, one of my favourite dishes.
It is served with a cup of cheesy ramen noodles here instead of a spicy red consommé- talk about fusion.
Our server was a peach, and told us that the pupusas are made with her mama’s recipe. They were delish, and we loved the garlic pickled veggies also.
Mona Lisa’s Dessert House is the place for sweets, coffees, cocktails, and wine in a romantic setting. We sampled the Mocha cake and, if I remember correctly, a caramel apple cake.
The Sweet Shoppe of the South is a winner of Cupcakes Wars.
A quick look inside says it all.
Grumpy Old Men Brewing, affectionately called Grumpy’s, was started by two retired pals back in 2013. They passed the torch on to different owners in 2018 but still show up for support.
It’s comfortable and spacious, and they often have food trucks outside on weekends. My favourite beer is their Choco Blanco brew, a white chocolate wheat ale.
Angry Hops is the newest brewery in Blue Ridge, and I really like this place too. They have dozens of their own brews on draft including seltzers.
We had chatted with the owner and another gentleman, possibly both owners, and they were so chill and knowledgeable, gave us samples, and told us about their inspirations and various processes.
The Boro Inn is an Irish pub owned by an actual Irish Priest, possibly former, but everyone calls him Father Brennan, or Father B.
Bartenders at Boro Inn have a solid rep for being rude but that is not my most important metric for judging a place.
A group of gentleman slowly accumulated around our ladies night out, calling us the Hot Girl Table. We had an all-around great time in the colourful, quirky environment and enjoyed our drinks, even though we had to arm-wrestle the bartender to get them. I kid.
Lake Blue Ridge Marina is a popular local hangout, even if you don’t have a boat.
We sat outside and drank a few beers, shared some fried pickle slices, walked around the water’s edge, and enjoyed the view.
With so many excellent indoor options in Blue Ridge, it was a special treat to find this one out in the fresh air.
So what’s left on our list? For now it’s Southern Charm, Mystic Mountain Pizza & Arcade, Serenity Garden Café, Sue’s Burgers, Pete’s Place, Masseria Kitchen + Bar, Poke Jon’s, and whichever new places open in the meantime, as they often do.
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