Best Pizza: Lost Province
By Jaclyn Bartlett
Lost Province, located on Depot Street in downtown Boone, is a family-owned gastropub that opened in 2014. All the food is made in-house, including its well-known Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas, which customers can build their own or try one of its lunch or specialty pizzas. For the build your own, customers can choose San Marzano tomato sauce, herbed cream sauce, or rosemary olive oil and add toppings from their variety of over 25 options. Lunch pizzas are available Monday through Friday before 3 p.m. and include the Lunch Margherita which has San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, sea salt, and extra virgin olive oil. The one-topping lunch pizza has San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and a choice of either pepperoni, Italian sausage, or roasted mushrooms. It also has 13 specialty pizzas of its own creation with unique toppings such as sweet potatoes and candied walnuts on the Sweet Beet, and apples and goat cheese on The Lost Province pizza. It is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Thursday through Saturday, when it is open until 10 p.m.
Best Sandwich: Our Daily Bread
By Camryn Collier
Yellow twinkling lights, a wooden interior and a casual atmosphere all combine to create the downtown staple Our Daily Bread. Opening in 1984, the shop highlights 24 different sandwiches catering to a range of dietary needs, including vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. Incorporating local and seasonal ingredients whenever possible, the menu mixes and matches deli favorites including smoked ham, turkey, and bacon with portobello mushrooms, tomatoes, and various cheeses. To add even more flavor, all sandwiches come with a side of Southern potato salad, marinated vegetables, kettle chips or Zapp’s Voodoo chips. Looking to go beyond sandwiches? You’re in luck! Our Daily Bread also serves “fresh from the garden” salads along with wines, beers, mimosas and various desserts like cakes and specialty breads. Next time you’re taking a stroll down King Street, open the glass door, greet some friendly faces and take a seat at one of the rustic tables; you’ll be in for a treat.
Best Burger: Come Back Shack
By Asher Davidson
Since its opening in 2011, Come Back Shack has been a staple of the Boone area, and it is no surprise that it has won Best Burger two years in a row. It is owned and operated by a local family with only two other locations: North Charleston and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Come Back Shack is best known for its locally sourced ingredients and food “so fresh they don’t have freezers.” Its hand-pattied burgers and all-natural chicken are served with hand-cut fries from real Idaho potatoes and their original Come Back Sauce. Come Back Shack offers the experience of letting customers mix and match their burgers and styles to a uniquely specific degree. Customers can choose whether to have meat from a local farm or butcher’s blend chuck, then must choose a style. Come Back Shack’s plethora of styles range from their original Come Back style all the way to Buffalo style. Come Back Shack also offers a wide variety of free toppings for customers to add as they see fit. Come Back Shack is located at 1521 Blowing Rock Road and is open from 10:30 a.m to 9 p.m every day. There is only drive-thru and minimal heated outdoor seating.
Best Breakfast: Melanie’s
By Zoe Zink
It’s a sunny Saturday morning in Boone and people are lining up on King Street in hopes they might reserve a seat at Melanie’s Food Fantasy. Melanie’s was founded in 1991 and has since grown to be a Boone classic, winning best breakfast two years in a row. Its extensive menu full of locally sourced ingredients attracts meat lovers and vegetarians alike. The menu includes biscuits and toast from local bakery Stick Boy Bread Company, a make-your-own omelet section, and an $8 student special of eggs, home fries, and toast curated for students wanting the most bang for their buck. It also hosts an array of menu specials weekly that are sure to catch your eye. All of these items can be served alongside a grapefruit mimosa or coffee from Hatchet Coffee. Melanie’s offers an array of menu items, a welcoming environment, and a friendly staff for breakfast lovers from all over.
Best Mexican-Inspired Cuisine: Dos Amigos
By Camryn Collier
With a name translating to “two friends,” you can’t go wrong with Dos Amigos. Just a shot off of U.S. Highway 421, Dos Amigos is the best stop for Mexican-inspired cuisine in Boone. With familiar favorites like arroz con pollo, margaritas, fajitas, queso, tacos and special “Amigos” menu items like the Fiesta Burrito and Dos Amigos Cheese Steak, you’ll certainly satisfy your cravings. Beyond the food, Dos Amigos’ bright interior of yellows, greens and reds along with the classic mariachi music brings guests that iconic family-friendly feel. Don’t feel like dining in? It doesn’t matter! Dos Amigos will accommodate any of your dining needs including a to-go option. Stop on by from any time for a classic taste inspired by the delicacies below the border.
Best BBQ: Pedalin’ Pig
By Ansley Puckett
Just off the side of the road of NC Highway 105, Pedalin’ Pig has reclaimed its spot as the best BBQ in town for another year. With locations in Banner Elk and Boone, Pedalin’ Pig has made a name for itself with fans favorites like its pulled pork sandwich, fried flounder and brisket. Extra hungry customers or families looking for a deal can choose from their large selection of platters served with two sides and Texas toast. Pedalin’ Pig also offers signature craft cocktails and local craft beer, perfect to pair with its house-made BBQ sauces. Each of the eight sauces offers something different and covers different regional flavors. Pedalin’ Pig even bridges the age-old North Carolina vs. South Carolina BBQ sauce divide with its South Carolina house-made sauce. With a wide variety of sides like mac and cheese, green beans, cheddar grits, fried okra, and more, Pedalin’ Pig has something for everyone.
Best Sweets: Appalachia Cookie Company
By Lily Kincaid
Appalachia Cookie Company is everything you and your sweet tooth could ask for: a local business that sells and delivers sweets in the Boone area until 3 a.m. What started as a student-owned company located in a warehouse has grown into a successful sweet shop that ships cookies across the country. Appalachia Cookie Company offers an array of flavors, from the traditional chocolate chip recipe to its unique Maple Bacon Bourbon cookie. The menu was made with dietary restrictions in mind, as many flavors are gluten-free, vegan and keto friendly. Individual cookies are $2.49 or $3.49 for specialty cookies. Its cookies are also available in a half-dozen for $10.99, a dozen for $19.99 and two dozen for $37.99. Customers can add a cup of buttercream icing to their order for $0.75 and a cup of milk – available in whole, 2%, chocolate and soy – for $2.99. The company also offers packages with up to 300 cookies for catering events.
Best Wings/Best Bar: Tapp Room
By Aubrey Smith
When driving up Blowing Rock Road, before you meet App State’s campus, you’re greeted by the Tapp Room. Usually with college students lingering in and out of the bar, it’s the perfect destination. Whether it’s a laid-back weeknight dinner, a fun weekend visit, or a celebration after a football game, Tapp Room has enough wings to go around. From teriyaki to mango habanero, they offer up to 24 wings to satisfy your cravings. Complemented with celery and carrot sticks with ranch or blue cheese dip, it’s a meal that’ll leave you licking your fingers for more. You can even chase those scorching hot wings with a beer or two as you enjoy the lively scene of the Tapp Room. They’ve got 26 different beers on tap that pair perfectly with a serving of wings, or if you just want a nice, cold bottle of beer, they’ve got anything from Budweiser to porter.
Best Asian-Inspired Cuisine: CoBo
By Kenedy Singletary
Located on Howard Street next to The Local, CoBo Sushi Bistro & Bar is the perfect place for Asian-inspired cuisine. If you’re looking for a fun-loving, yet elegant atmosphere, this is the restaurant for you. CoBo opened in May 2013 and has continued to grow since. CoBo offers a wide variety of Asian cuisine from house rolls to hibachi. CoBo offers over 29 sushi options. It is known for its specialty rolls including the
“Appalachian” with salmon, avocado and tempura fried shrimp and the “Yosef” roll made with tuna, panko shrimp, crab, avocado and spicy aioli. You can also expect weekly specials at CoBo. On Mondays, it offers free miso soup or edamame with any roll and half off appetizers on Tuesdays. On Wednesdays, people can buy two rolls and get one roll free and get half off sushi rolls on Saturdays. CoBo is open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday and Friday through Saturday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Best Food Delivery Service: Boone Delivery
By Aubrey Smith
Whether you’re craving a late-night snack or want a meal without having to leave your house, Boone Delivery is there for you. Rain or shine, it will come through with your meal of choice, with options ranging from Ben & Jerry’s to The Local.
Boone Delivery partners with over 40 restaurants and delivers Boone’s finest right to your door. With fast and easy delivery, it’s a stress-free process that’ll leave you enjoying your meal just 30 to 60 minutes after ordering. Just sit back and relax, and soon enough, a car with the distinguished Boone Delivery sign will greet you with your meal without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. If you’re a student on campus, forget the hassle of walking to your car that’s inconveniently parked far away, and order Boone Delivery. Treat yourself to some food from High Country Greek or Elevation 3333. You can even hold off on the grocery store trip and let Boone Delivery pick up your order from Goober Peas Country Store.
Best Vegan/Vegetarian Option: Coyote Kitchen
By Sabrina Hess
Coyote Kitchen is a family-owned restaurant that specializes in sizzling Southwest Caribbean soul food and is sure to provide a feast for your senses. While Coyote Kitchen’s menu offers burritos, tacos, burgers, sandwiches, bowls and salads, one of its more unique options is its boats. Boats are boat-shaped casserole dishes that are covered in different toppings such as red beans or cornbread. Its Taos Boat includes layers of cornbread, red beans, blackened plant-based patty, mushrooms, corn, caramelized onions and broiled jack cheese. Three-year winner of best vegetarian/vegan option, Coyote Kitchen also makes catering to different diets its priority. The restaurant uses antibiotic and hormone-free meat, eco-friendly fish, and offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free menu options. There is sure to be a dish for everyone! Coyote Kitchen caters to vegan and vegetarian diets by using a dedicated vegan fryer, offering tofu or tempeh as substitutes in any meat entree, and offering vegetable and bean substitutes for any meal. Coyote Kitchen also offers menu options that cater to gluten-free diets by offering gluten-free hamburger buns and made-from-scratch sauces. The restaurant is open from Thursday to Monday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Best Grocery Store: Harris Teeter
By Savannah Brewer
This year’s best grocery store is native to North Carolina. Started in Mooresville in 1960, Harris Teeter has served its Boone residents faithfully. Located at Shops at Shadowline at 240 Shadowline Dr., this grocery store is open on weekdays and weekends from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Senior hours occur on Thursdays from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Harris Teeter also offers online ordering, order ahead and pickup. Offering shoppers with a stand-out experience, the store ensures the safety of its shoppers with Covid safety measures. Another unique feature of Harris Teeter is the many discounts offered to residents, as well as students. Harris Teeter’s free VIC program allows shoppers to save extra on weekly sales and promotions, and the store offers additional discounts to students. Harris Teeter’s fuel points program also allows shoppers to earn $1 per gallon when they use their VIC card. Boone’s Harris Teeter also includes a Starbucks location and other in-store features include a salad bar, pizza station, florist and sub bar.
Best New Restaurant: Lily’s Snack Bar
By Jaclyn Bartlett
Lily’s Snack Bar, a bar and sandwich shop located on Blowing Rock Road that opened in 2019, describes themselves as “bringing the party in a safe environment.” Its slogan, “a real cool time,” is backed up by the flocks of students seen enjoying themselves in its patio seating area on a warm day. Lily’s offers snacks and sandwiches, including numerous vegan and gluten-free options. One such snack is its popular potato wedges that come with Lily’s sauce, described on their menu as “the quintessential dipping sauce.” It also has a variety of unique drinks such as liquor buckets, house cocktails, and alcoholic slushies in diverse flavors and colors. Some of its specialty drinks include its best-selling cocktail, Lily’s Mule with ginger and citrus, and its new spring special Son of a Sailor Pina-Rita, which has tequila, pineapple juice, lime juice, brown sugar simple syrup, and cinnamon. It is currently open for patio and takeout service only, and its hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Best Food Truck: El Tacorriendo
By Savannah Brewer
Boone hosts many famous food trucks, but none quite as recognizable as El Tacorriendo. This cuisine on wheels is hard to miss with its bright red siding and dizzying array of menu options. El Tacorriendo is Boone’s best food truck for the third year in a row. Owners Alejandro and Ashley Leon opened the truck’s doors in 2016. The truck caters authentic Mexican street food up and down US Highway 321. The menu at El Tacorriendo hosts items such as tacos, tortas, quesadillas, burritos and many vegetarian options. Look no further than the beckoning sliding window for the original, iconic ACP wrap. El Tacorriendo’s reasonable prices range from $2.25 to $10.50. When in Boone, it can often be found at 415 Blowing Rock Road right across from East campus next to Tapp Room, where the Leon’s also own El Barrio Mexican Goods. Visit its Facebook page for updates about the truck’s schedule, specials and daily locations, as well as pre-order, and catering options.
Best Local Brewery: Booneshine Brewing Company
By Lily Kincaid
If you’re searching for a brewery that embodies the atmosphere of the High Country and offers a variety of local brews, Booneshine Brewing Company might be the place for you. Located along the South Fork New River, Boone-shine Brewing offers a scenic, cozy atmosphere. Patrons can choose to hang out in the tasting room and restaurant area, on the patio or in the beer garden. Alternatively, customers can visit Booneshine Brewing Company’s food truck. Regardless of which part of the brewery you venture to, you’re sure to find yourself in a casual and welcoming environment. Booneshine’s drafts range from $2 to $12 depending on the size and type of drink, and most of the items on its food menu are under $15. In terms of food, Booneshine Brewing Company offers sandwiches, salads, tortillas, flatbreads and more. Whether you’re craving ales, IPAs, wines or ciders, Booneshine Brewing has got you covered, and if you’re looking for a bite to pair with your brew, its food menu is sure to satisfy.
Best Off-Campus Coffee Shop: Local Lion
By Ansley Puckett
If you live in Boone, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Local Lion. As the only local coffee shop in town with a drive-thru, owners Josiah and Meredith Davis have made a name for themselves since the coffee shop’s opening in April 2012. Also claiming the title of Small Business of the Year, The Local Lion has become a Boone staple known for its great coffee and large homemade doughnuts. Using a traditional 1930s recipe, Local Lion doughnuts are made from scratch with glazes, custards and jams. Customers can pair their doughnuts with a wide variety of coffee options, including lattes, cold brew and nitro, just to name a few. For non-coffee consumers, it offers teas from across the globe and all-natural smoothies. With a large outdoor patio and cozy indoor seating, Local Lion is perfect for conversing with friends or hitting the books.