Blue Ridge, Georgia Dining: Alfresco with an Altitude
Find out North Georgia’s Can’t-Miss Stops for Eats and Sweets
About 90 minutes north of Atlanta via Interstate 575, the mountains of Blue Ridge, Georgia, beckon with adventure and countless opportunities for escape. Developed in 1887 as a premiere resort town in the North Georgia mountains, Blue Ridge has evolved with the times and still maintains its casual luxury alongside its rugged outdoor appeal. The area has earned its chops as a dining destination as well.
Outside dining on patios, decks and balconies is a draw for visitors enjoying year-round comfortable temps, crisp evenings, amazing views and the refreshing 1,800-foot altitude. Here are some best bets for alfresco dining. Many offer live music and welcome furry friends. Visit the websites for reservations and more information, as each are busy on the weekends and menus change.
Perhaps the most romantic is Black Sheep, featuring a locally sourced, chef-inspired New Americana menu and a Wine Spectator-recognized wine list. Sit on the patio under the 200-year-old oak tree in the shadows of the historic residence once visited by Southern writer Margaret Mitchell. Favorites include Fried Calamari, Cold Water Oysters, Ribeye and Lamb Lollipop Chops as well as desserts and cocktails featuring house-produced moonshine.
Masseria Kitchen & Bar embodies a Mediterranean concept with a nod toward Southern Appalachian ingredients. Patio dining includes fresh vegetables, roasted chicken and seafood, handmade pastas and pizza, along with cocktails featuring crafted syrups. Try the Tuscan Braised Flank Steak with red wine demi-glaze, roasted vegetables and fingerling potatoes.
Harvest on Main serves Southern-inspired global cuisine, including locally sourced grass-fed beef, seasonal vegetables, local craft beers and an extensive wine collection. Try the Bramlett Farms Rainbow Trout served with Blackened Charred Corn, Lima Bean Stew, Yukon Gold potatoes.
The upscale yet casual bin322 Wine and Tapas Bar offers charcuterie plates, a wide variety of tapas including Duck Rillete, Pintxos (Skewered tomato, roasted poblano, mojo chicken) and more-familiar varieties. Among the entrees are Mojo Chicken, Crab Cakes and Shrimp Calabria. Wine dispensers enable guests to sample a taste or a glass. Wines are also available by the bottle with a meal or take home.
The Vine and Eatery is Blue Ridge's original wine bar, serving cheese plates, flatbreads, sandwiches and pours, tastings and bottles to go. The dog-friendly patio, along with a selection of craft beers and even wine slushies make this Blue Ridge’s go-to place for unwinding. Patrons rave over the Black and Blue flatbread.
Restaurants on the River and Lake
At Lake Blue Ridge Marina, rent a canoe, kayak or motor-craft and explore the mountain-reflecting waters, either with a takeout picnic or pre- or post-dockside dining. Boat Dock Bar and Grill offers a festive atmosphere and lakeside fun food, including Fried Grouper or Fried Shrimp Tacos, Craft Blend Hamburgers, wraps, wings, tenders, wine, beers and specialty cocktails.
Take a scenic mountain drive just 15 minutes southeast of Blue Ridge to Toccoa Riverside Restaurant in the Aska Road Adventure area, surrounded by forest. With a dock and steps up from the river, it’s possible to take a kayak and even the dog for lunch. Choose from 12 appetizers, a respectable beer and wine menu and plenty of entrees and desserts, but don’t pass up the specialty: North Georgia trout served eight ways, including smoked and crab-stuffed.
Under 20 minutes north of Blue Ridge are the charming twin border towns of McCaysville, Georgia, and Copperhill, Tennessee. It is really one town split by the Georgia-Tennessee state line, with its own selfie spot. Drive or take the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway on an hour (each way) excursion to waterside dining on a ride that winds alongside the Toccoa River. Visitors have a two-hour layover with time for lunch or a snack and shop for unique crafts and antiques.
The Riverwalk Shops at McCaysville offer scenery, shopping and sipping while savoring a view on the deck overlooking the Toccoa River. At Burra Burra on the River dig into fresh seafood including oysters, clams, crawfish, shrimp and more including street tacos and seven styles of burgers. Next door, Twisted Tomato Restaurant serves brick-oven pizza, salads, Italian sandwiches and pasta with a river view. At Happy Bear Café indulge in breakfast, bakery goods, gourmet hot dogs and ice cream treats, including banana splits and ice cream-topped brownies. For groups, The Very Berry Honey Bowl is 20 scoops of ice cream with blueberries, raspberries, caramel, whipped cream, topped with a cherry and a honey drizzle for $25. Beer, wine and specialty coffee drinks are also served
If checking into one of the many cabins high above the gorgeous green landscape and alongside the rivers and Lake Blue Ridge, Cabin Concierge service delivers groceries and meals from a wide variety of sources around the area, including casual and fine dining. Ten percent of all restaurant deliveries go towards supporting Feed Fannin.
With a plethora of independently owned restaurants, don’t waste part of the getaway agonizing over the choices. To do justice to the palate, an extended stay in Blue Ridge is a must. Peruse the breakfast options at the blog and the three wineries and three breweries in the restaurant listings at www.BlueRidgeMountains.com. Find welcoming options for eating outside with your pets, too.
The hospitality industry here has enacted and maintained strict Covid safety standards, and restaurants are welcoming guests for indoor and outdoor dining as well as takeout.