Best Sandwich: Our Daily Bread
By: Camryn Collier
The first bite of a sandwich after a long day is one of the best things in the world. It’s comforting and reminds us of the joy in simplicity. In 1984, the owners of Our Daily Bread recognized this and opened up the comfortable, wooden yellow-hued shop at 627 W King St. The mission of Our Daily Bread is highlighting simplicity by staying ingredient-focused, according to their website. The shop showcases 22 sandwiches with a variety of stand-out, fresh ingredients. Some menu highlights include the Cali Croissant, featuring avocados, tomatoes and fresh spring greens. The Fresh Basil Press is another star, with roasted red peppers, basil leaves and mushrooms. With great simplicity comes great responsibility, and Our Daily Bread offers options for all dietary restrictions, including vegetarian and vegan sandwiches. Need more than a sandwich? Don’t worry, the sides include the Southern potato salad, kettle chips, marinated veggies or Zapp’s Voodoo chips. Finally, if you’re hoping to end your day with something a little more decadent, Our Daily Bread offers large pieces of cake with various flavors throughout the week. So, if you want to sit back, relax and enjoy some time for a simple staple, check out Our Daily Bread. They’re open Monday through Wednesday from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. and closed Sundays. Find a time to stop by, it’s guaranteed you’ll find something to enjoy.
Best Grocery Store: Publix
By: Lily Kincaid
The first Publix grocery store opened in 1930 in Winter Haven, Florida. A few years later in 1940, Publix expanded with its first supermarket. In 2017, Publix opened a store in Boone at 1620 Blowing Rock Road, adding another branch to the thousands of stores across the country.
The store curates weekly ads with deals on both name brand and Publix brand items and is open every day from 7 a.m-9 p.m. It’s known for its buy one, get one free deals, fresh-baked goods and old-fashioned lemonade. If you get hungry while you’re shopping or if you’re looking for a quick bite, stop by its deli and hot bar to get anything from subs to egg rolls to fried chicken. Publix has dinner style catering options to make family meals, parties and potlucks simpler.
Best Breakfast: Melanie’s Food Fantasy
By: Gabrielle Troutman
Founded in 1991, the corner where King Street meets N Depot Street nestles a fan favorite for breakfast and lunch items filled with locally sourced items. From Stick Boy Bread and Hatchet Coffee to farm-raised eggs and homemade apple butter, be sure to stick around and see why Melanie’s Food Fantasy maintains its three-year winning streak for best breakfast.
Mismatched cloth napkins and random mugs give you the perfect accompaniment to your delectable Stuffed French Toast or hearty Trucker’s Breakfast. Whether seated outside, surveying King Street’s bustling activity or sitting inside in the cozy atmosphere, it’s no secret Melanie’s, open from 8 a.m.-2 p.m every day at 664 W King St., is the breakfast and brunch place to be. Perhaps not Boone’s best-kept secret, you’ll likely have to wait a decent amount to get in, but it earns its accolade for a reason.
Best Vegetarian/Vegan Option: Coyote Kitchen
By: Ansley Puckett
Known for their Southwest and Caribbean food, including burritos, tacos, soup and more, Coyote Kitchen has been a go-to for Boone vegans and vegetarians for 19 years. Located across from Walmart at 200 Southgate Drive and open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Coyote Kitchen offers favorites like chicken sandwiches and burgers but with a meatless twist. Vegans and vegetarians can dine with their omnivore friends while choosing from diet-friendly protein options like tofu and tempeh and dairy-free plates like the Nomad Bowl. While lacking actual coyotes, the local restaurant makes up for it with starters like chips n’ dip, fried plantains and homemade french fries. It also offers a variety of side items like beans, coconut rice and salsas. With choices for every diet, vegans and vegetarians won’t miss out on options at Coyote Kitchen.
Best Off-Campus Coffee: Espresso News
By: Ansley Puckett
Hidden at 267 Howard St., Espresso News is Boone’s worst-kept secret and best off-campus coffee shop. Easily recognizable by the concerned looking woman as its logo, E-News, as it’s been coined, is tucked between Footsloggers and occupies an old auto repair shop. Since its opening in 1993, it has been a staple in Boone and campus life. The small but cozy cafe is the perfect place to walk from campus to study or meet for a coffee date. Grab a latte, cappuccino or an Americano and get comfy in its upstairs or downstairs seating. The iconic coffee shop also offers non-coffee options like smoothies, hot chocolate and chai, as well as food choices like soup and pastries. Using “art and science” to roast their beans, E-News has made a name for itself with its fresh, daily roasting and distinct flavor and atmosphere. Espresso News is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
Best Bar: Lily’s Snack Bar
By: Denise Casalez
Located at 455 Blowing Rock Road, patrons will find Lily’s Snack Bar right next to The TApp Room across from Durham Park. The bar and sandwich shop combo brings a positive atmosphere for students and locals alike with tasty drinks, food and entertainment. Lily’s provides an all-in-one stop for local music and dance parties to customers in Boone.
Surrounded by its funky vibe of vintage posters, jukebox and “A Real Cool Time” neon sign, Lily’s loves to bring the party in a safe environment. It makes sure to state that “Lily’s is not the place for Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia, Ableism, or hate of any kind” on signs throughout the bar.
Since its opening in late July 2019, it has served a large variety of food and drinks such as Lily’s Famous Potato Wedges and ‘Smash It Up!,’ a cocktail with bourbon, mint and brown sugar. It also offers vegan, vegetarian and gluten free snacks to suit the dietary needs of all customers.
Lily’s is open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m.-2 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m.-2 a.m. The entire restaurant is 21 and up after 9 p.m. for those who enjoy the nightlife in Boone. It offers indoor dining, patio seating and takeout. Lily’s has everything a patron could wish for: a fun time filled with drinks and food in a safe environment.
Best Pizza: Lost Province
By: Maggie Watts
One brick building on Depot Street houses a destination microbrewery and wood-fired gastropub. Home to craft beer and Neapolitan wood-fired pizzas, Lost Province Brewing Co. opened its doors to Boone in 2014. The two-story historic building at 130 N Depot St. It once housed an automobile showroom and later a local newspaper office. This eatery is family-owned and operated, and the ingredients are locally sourced by High Country farmers. Local musicians may perform there on the weekends as customers enjoy any of the 13 unique specialty homemade pizzas. Customers can also build their own pizza, with a choice of three sauces and over 25 toppings. Lost Province is open from 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. There are dine-in and take-out options.
Best Mexican-Inspired Cuisine: Los Arcoiris
By: Savanah Brewer
Look no farther than the unsuspecting brown, red and green of Los Arcoiris’ brick exterior for an authentic Mexican-inspired dining experience. Situated right off of Highway 321 at 168 Boone Heights Drive, Los Arcoiris boasts a bustling atmosphere with enticing smells and unbeatable prices. It has served Mexican-inspired cuisine to the High Country since 1991, and it continues to impress. In 2021, it celebrated its 30th anniversary. The interior of Los Arcoiris features wall-to-wall art and decor, including a larger-than-life mural of Frida Kahlo. Its menu is extensive with classic burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and tacos. The restaurant also features other options such as Higado Ranchero, El Sinaloense, Pollo a la Mango and 10 different ACP options. The restaurant features a lunch menu with prices starting at $5. You can find specials and updates on Los Arcoiris’ Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sunday. Whether you are planning a date night, a family dinner or even a night in with the restaurant’s DoorDash options, Los Arcoiris is the place to eat.
Best Wings: River Street Ale House
By: Aubrey Smith
Whether you’re craving lunch or a midnight snack, wings from Rivers Street Ale House make for the perfect meal. Located at 957 Rivers St., the restaurant is open 11 a.m.-2 a.m., Monday through Saturday, and until midnight on Sunday, so there’s plenty of time in the day to stop by and order a basket of wings. You’ll never have to worry about a limited number of options — Ale House has 16 wing flavors ranging from mango habanero to lemon pepper, bourbon-glazed and more. It offers both traditional and boneless wings, and you can order either eight, 12, 16, 24, 48 or 96 wings. Need something to pair with your meal? You can add a side of fries for $2.45 or order one of Ale House’s many beverages to wash your wings down.
Best Burger and Take-Out: Come Back Shack
By: Jaclyn Bartlett & Meredith Smith
Born in Boone, Come Back Shack has been a local hot spot since opening in 2011, so winning best burger for the third year in a row is no surprise. It is not a chain or franchise, but a family-owned and operated restaurant with only two additional locations in North Charleston, South Carolina, and Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. But that’s not all that sets it apart. Come Back Shack is known for its “fresh-never-frozen,” locally sourced ingredients. Its burgers are made from fresh beef blended using chuck, round and sirloin. Its local burgers are made from grass-fed beef that comes from a local family farm and are pattied in-house every day. Also made fresh, in-house every day is its Come Back Sauce, ranch dressing, cole slaw and pimento cheese just to name a few. There’s also its hand-cut fries made from Idaho potatoes. The menu has many burgers to choose from such as the Come Back Burger, Steakhouse Burger and Fried Green Tomato Burger. Customers can also build their own sandwich, choosing from their variety of toppings from mayo, ketchup and lettuce to jalapenos, pineapple and avocado.
If burgers aren’t your thing, Come Back Shack offers other options. It boasts a large menu with nearly 50 items ranging from Blackened Tuna Salad to a Cinnamon Toast Crunch Milkshake. Come Back Shack is located at 1521 Blowing Rock Road and is open from 10:30 a.m-9 p.m.
Best Food Truck: El Taccoriendo
By: Torri Marshall
When walking on King Street and window shopping at local businesses, you can definitely work up an appetite. Satiate your hunger by stopping at the best food truck in town: El Tacorriendo a.k.a. The Running Taco. Alejandro and Ashley Leon started this Best of Boone winning food truck in August 2019. While this restaurant on wheels can go anywhere within Boone, it is commonly found on West King Street in the lot next to Blue Deer Cookies. If your pockets are hurting after a successful run to Appalachian Antique Mall, Common Good Co. or Footsloggers, then El Tacorriendo is the perfect place to be. Its menu has a wide variety of meals, including but not limited to, churros, tacos, quesadillas, tortas and its one-of-a-kind ACP wraps. These prices range from $2.75 to $11.50 — totally within a college student’s budget. So sit back, eat a beautifully priced taco and enjoy the flavors of Best of Boone’s four-time consecutive food truck winner and also Best of North Carolina three time consecutive best food truck winner. Keep updated with its Facebook, which has daily updates on its operating hours.
Best International Cuisine: Mint Indian Cuisine
By: Erin Isley
For nine years, Mint Cuisine of India has transported the flavor and richness of Indian cooking from southern Asia to the town of Boone. Located at 203 Boone Heights Drive and open Monday through Friday from 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. then 5 p.m.-10 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m.-3 p.m. then 5 p.m.-10 p.m., Mint is this year’s best international cuisine winner. Whether you’re inclined to the sweet, salty, sour or spicy, Mint has the perfect dish for you. If you crave the robust flavor of Indian specialties like basmati rice, tikka masala, tandori chicken, shrimp biryani or fresh naan, look no further. Wanting to try something a little on the spicy side but not too far out of your comfort zone? Don’t worry. Mint can alter entrees to your liking with its one to five spiciness scale. The menu also features a section of specialty diet options, including the vegan eggplant bharta and vegetarian paneer tikka masala. Alongside the excellent food, Mint’s interior ambiance can set the mood for a quaint date night or a pleasant family outing with its warm natural lighting and inviting atmosphere. Whether you’re in the mood for some exceptional Indian cuisine or are just in search of a new restaurant venue, Mint Cuisine of India should be your next stop.
Best Delivery Service: Boone Delivery
By: Rachel Rodgers
Whether you’re craving a late-night snack or simply don’t want to cook dinner, Boone Delivery is there for you. Boone Delivery is a fast and easy delivery service that works hard so you don’t have to go through the hassle of going out. Hours range from 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sundays. Partnered with over 40 restaurants in the Boone area, it can bring any of your favorite meals right to your door. So sit back and relax, and soon enough you will have a car with the Boone Delivery sign at your front door. From fast food chains to local restaurants, it offers a variety of places to order from, meaning you can enjoy grub from places such as Mint Cuisine of India or Black Cat Burrito without ever leaving your room.
Best Asian-Inspired Cuisine: COBO
By: Brionna Dallara
From its cocktails to candlelit meals, CoBo Sushi Bistro & Bar makes for an elegant dining destination. Located at 161 Howard St., CoBo opened in May 2013 and offers the best of both worlds when it comes to traditional and contemporary Japanese dishes. CoBo offers tasteful starters, like the fried calamari and serves entrees ranging from the CoBo styled hibachi to crispy honey-duck. The restaurant offers over 29 sushi options, including specialty rolls that are especially tasteful and unique. Named after App State’s right-hand man and mascot, feel free to treat yo-self to the Yosef Roll, made with tuna, panko shrimp, crab mix, avocado, nitzume and spicy aioli. Customers can also get a taste of the city with the New Yorker Roll, made with filet-mignon, lobster, asparagus, crispy shallot and the house-made CoBo sauce.
CoBo is open for reservations and dine-in Tuesday through Thursday from 4-9 p.m. or Friday to Saturday from 4-10 p.m. CoBo is available for take-out and customers can tune in on Thursdays to CoBo’s new Sushi Tracker livestream on the restaurant’s socials from 5-7 p.m. to see chefs preparing to-go orders.
Best Local Brewery: Booneshine Brewing Company
By: Briley Turpin
If you’re looking for a nice, locally brewed beer after a long day in the outdoors, Booneshine Brewing Company, located at 465 Industrial Park Drive, may be perfect for you. Nestled by the South Fork New River, Booneshine offers a rotating menu of freshly brewed beers as well as a food and snack menu sure to satisfy everyone in your group. Whether you find yourself hanging out on the patio, enjoying a meal in the restaurant area or relaxing in the beer garden, there is no question that your experience will be fantastic. Beer prices vary depending on the size and type of drink, ranging from $2-$15. The food options include appetizers like soft pretzels and fried cheese curds as well as entrees such as burgers and barbecue. If beer isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Booneshine offers a wine list as well as non-alcoholic drinks. Booneshine is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
Best Sweets: Appalachia Cookie Company
By: Jacqueline Behringer
Located at 208 Faculty St., the overwhelmingly popular Appalachia Cookie Company has retained the title of Boone’s best sweets for another year. Founded in 2012 by former App State student David Holloman, App Cookie Co. offers what every college student craves when their sweet tooth suddenly hits: a wide variety of delicious cookies, all baked from scratch and made with fresh ingredients. The flavors App Cookie Co. offers range from the traditional chocolate chip to flavors like cheesecake, maple bacon bourbon or a decadent brownie cookie. There is something for everyone, even for those with dietary restrictions. The company’s inclusive menu also boasts vegan, gluten-free and keto options. All cookies are available for purchase singularly, as well as in bulk. App Cookie Co. also has its own local, late-night delivery service, which brings customers a bottle of ice cold milk with their box of cookies. Sunday through Thursday its normal hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays its hours run from 11-12:30 a.m.
Best BBQ: Pedalin’ Pig
By: Asher Davidson
Dominating the best barbeque category for three years in a row, The Pedalin’ Pig remains on top in this year’s Best of Boone. The comfy and cozy barbecue joint first came to the High Country in 2014, opening its first location in Banner Elk. In 2015, the restaurant announced its second location in Boone. The Pedalin’ Pig offers a gourmet splash of flavor to already cherished High Country and southern dishes. In both locations, customers can choose from a plethora of delicious meal options. All meats are smoked “low and slow” for 16 hours and customers can choose to top them with any of the restaurant’s eight sauces made in-house. The sweet potato fries and macaroni and cheese are also a must-try. On a sunny day, customers can enjoy an outdoor meal at the Banner Elk location. Both locations are open Monday through Sunday 11 a.m.-9 p.m. No matter which location you go to, there is always something tasty to eat at The Pedalin’ Pig.
Best Off-Campus Smoothie: Juice Boone
By: Asher Davidson
Opened in 2016, Juice Boone is making its debut as winner of the best off-campus smoothie. Juice Boone uses all local, organic and vegan ingredients. The tasty smoothie cafe is also the only smoothie joint in Boone that cold presses their smoothies to be environmentally friendly. Juice Boone’s mission is to give the people of Boone organic, cold-pressed, raw, superfoods benefiting the body, mind, and spirit, according to their website.
Paula Medley, a certified juice therapist and holistic practitioner, owns Juice Boone. She provides customers with juice cleanses with hopes to help them achieve their wellness goals. Inside Juice Boone, there is a welcoming atmosphere meant to induce relaxation in all patrons. Small potted plants line the left wall as you walk in, and the entire room is minimalistic with white walls, floors and furniture. For those looking to relax and enjoy great, healthy smoothies, head over to Juice Boone, open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. -6 p.m. at 240 Shadowline Dr. Suite AAB.
CORRECTION: Best Delivery Service previously included mention of a restaurant the delivery service does not partner with. It has been remedied to better reflect the business’ availability.