Where Do the Locals Eat?


Where do the locals go? What is the best hole in the wall restaurant? Can you recommend a place that serves true southern food? I get asked these questions A LOT by guests. I get it... we all want to be able to do as the locals do and live the local life while on vacation. That's the best part about being on vacation; we get to escape our every day lives.

So here it is, my list of the top 5 "Hole In the Walls", "Local Dives", and "Best Places To Eat" in Jackson and Swain Counties

The Coffee Shop, Sylva

The Coffee Shop has been a fixture in Sylva since the 1970's. It has a long counter, bar stools, and a well-used grill. The waitresses call you "Honey" and old license plates from across the 50 states adorn the walls and ceiling. Open for 3 meals a day though breakfast tends to be the most poplar time. The menu includes southern favorites such as biscuits and gravy, omelettes, hot cakes, southern fried steak, chuck-wagons and of course great burgers. For dessert, top it off with one of owner Gary Phillips' famous meringue pies.

City Lights Cafe, Sylva

Located just off of Main Street, City Lights Cafe is tucked away underneath a charming bookstore. Many of their ingredients and menu items are locally sourced and organically produced. They also offer an array of gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan options for those looking to grab a healthier bite. Menu items include savory crepes, salads, soups, grilled panini sandwiches, burritos, quesadillas, tacos, small plates & more. They also offer a variety of wines, brewed beers and will fill growlers. If you're looking for a laid back atmosphere with free wi-fi (yay!) then this is the place to go.

The Well House, Dillsboro

Serving gourmet deli sandwiches since 1977. The well house is only steps from main street Dillsboro and makes a wonderful place to grab a quick lunch. The menu includes several kinds of sandwhiches, homemade soups, salads, wraps, smoked BBQ, and delicious desserts. While only open during lunch hours, they do serve a prime rib dinner on Thurs/Fri evenings. My favorite sandwhich is the Triple Treat... make sure to try it!

Jimmy Mac's, Bryson City

Jimmy Mac's has become a local favorite and is often described as the "Best Burgers In Town". A family owned company since 1979 Jimmy Mac's offers a kid friendly environment that you can bring the entire family to. Their menu offers american cuisine from steaks and seafood to BBQ. Friendly staff and great food are a guarantee at this restaurant located on Main Street in Downtown Bryson City.

Nabers Drive-In, Bryson City

One of the last drive-ins... Nabers will truly take you back in time. Nabers has been in Bryson City for 50 years and still operates as an authentic drive in set in the 1960's. The food ranges from hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken tenders, slaw, baked beans and BBQ. The staff treat you like family and you can eat your meal while sitting in your car overlooking the Tuckasegee River. If you are looking for a quick bite with an experience, this is the place to go!