OPINION: Try local restaurants over chains


Bella Lantz, Associate Opinion Editor

When coming to Boone, there is a variety of new and one-of-a-kind restaurants and cafes, but, many times, people like to eat at places that are similar and regularly seen, such as McDonald’s or Cook Out. Instead of eating at these chains, visitors should branch out and eat at the local restaurants. Boone has many options for local restaurants, yet some may not give them a chance, because they want something familiar and known. There are similar local places that are as good, if not better, than chains and should be the first option when finding where to eat, instead of the last. Here are some local restaurants to eat at instead of chain restaurants.

Cracker Barrel vs. Troy’s 105 Diner

Cracker Barrel is known as a family-friendly restaurant with many different food items for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Troy’s 105 Diner has a similar menu plan, which includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is a family-friendly restaurant as well. 

 The meal prices at Cracker Barrel range quite a bit, but are around $9-$13 for a meal. The prices at Troy’s Diner are similar in price ranging from $8-$11. The decor, of the two restaurants, is the defining difference. Cracker Barrel is known for being a Southern-type restaurant, whereas Troy’s Diner is more of a ‘50s retro-like diner. Cracker Barrel is in an actual building with seating and a store. Troy’s Diner is smaller in size because it is in an original metal-bound trailer. The dining experience is the same for both restaurants, as both their staff treat customers kindly. Troy’s Diner does beat Cracker Barrel in faster service and with both getting crowded so quickly, Troy’s Diner becomes the better option. If a family is looking for a fun, family place to eat, Cracker Barrel might seem like the safer choice, but Troy’s Diner has different types of food that most everyone can enjoy while being surrounded in a relaxed, retro-like setting. Cracker Barrel and Troy’s Diner open at 7 a.m., seven days a week. Cracker Barrel closes between 9-10 p.m., whereas Troy’s Diner closes between 8:30-9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday through Tuesday.

 Overall, both restaurants are similar in food and pricing, but they vary in style.

Starbucks vs. Local Lion

Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the U.S. and made over $32.25 million in 2022. Coffee lovers should give other coffee shops a chance at this kind of success and go to a local cafe, a few minutes’ drive from App State, called the Local Lion. Starbucks is known for its many different drink options, but the Local Lion also has an amazing selection of freshly brewed coffee, teas and smoothies. They both have pastries and sweets, but Local Lion’s treats are guaranteed to be freshly made that day, whereas Starbucks’ treats come out of plastic bags. The Local Lion is cheaper, while Starbucks’ prices range from $4-$6, the Local Lion’s prices range from $2.50-$5. Not only are the prices cheaper, but the Local Lion is usually not busy and has a shorter line than the long line at Starbucks. Also, if you walk into the Local Lion, the space is filled with plants in an old, industrial type of space. It also offers outdoor seating in a covered space filled with plants and cushioned seats. The atmosphere is also calmer than at Starbucks and the workers always seem glad to have you walk in. Starbucks is open from 6 a.m. -10 p.m. every day. The Local Lion is open from 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m. every day except Sunday. The best part is Starbucks and the Local Lion are as little as a three minute drive away from each other, which makes it easy to go and visit.

Applebee’s vs. The Local

Applebee’s can be a great restaurant if you want to sit down and enjoy a meal that is mid-price-to-expensive but will not break the bank. Applebee’s has an array of food options on its menu. With prices ranging from $10-$15, you get the standard good food. The Local has a similar concept. This sit-down restaurant is a little bit off of King Street and is well known among the community. The Local’s menu ranges in price from $10-$20 and has many food options. This restaurant has homemade meals and is well-known for its brewery options. Applebee’s is open from Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and 11 a.m.-midnight on Sunday. The Local is open longer, from 11-2 a.m. Monday and Wednesday through Sunday. On Tuesday they are open from 4 p.m.-2 a.m. The Local is smaller than a standard Applebee’s restaurant, but it has a homely feel when walking in. Both The Local and Applebee’s are very similar in price range and food options, but at The Local, there is a mountain community feel that you will not find at Applebee’s.

Ben & Jerry’s vs. Blue Deer Cookies

Ben & Jerry’s is the second leading ice cream brand with around 181.66 million sales in 2022. Blue Deer Cookies is a smaller, local ice cream shop that has a few flavors. Ben & Jerry’s houses over 25 flavors of ice cream in several different ways to make different types of desserts, such as milkshakes, ice cream cakes, sundaes, etc. Although Blue Deer does not carry as much variety, they still have classic and seasonal flavors. Blue Deer can still make sundaes with their ice cream, but the item they are best known for is their ice cream sandwiches. Their ice cream is around $4.50 for a cup and $4.75 for an ice cream sandwich. Ben & Jerry’s ice cream prices range due to size and type, but on average a cup or cone can range from $4-$6. Blue Deer also has an espresso bar for those who want ice cream and coffee. Ben & Jerry’s opens at 1 p.m., seven days a week, and is only open 9 hours on Sunday through Thursday and 10 hours on Friday to Saturday. Blue Deer, on King Street, is open from 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m.-10 p.m. on Sunday. Blue Deer may have fewer flavors, but the ice cream and price point make up for it.