A growing trend, food travel is becoming increasingly popular as travelers seek out the tastiest eateries and dishes across the country. In the towns of Cashiers, Cherokee, Dillsboro and Sylva, which make up Jackson County, you’ll find a true haven for all things delicious, making it the ideal spot for a culinary adventure. From barbecue to fresh farm-to-table cuisine to handmade chocolates, Jackson County has everything needed for a foodie’s perfect getaway.
Proving that food really is the way to a person’s heart, a recent survey showed that dining at unique non-chain restaurants was the No. 1 activity people said they loved doing while in Jackson County. People value exclusive cuisine you can’t try anywhere else, and, with locally sourced ingredients from area farms, Jackson County is chock-full of options for every palate. Plus, with the Jackson County Ale Trail and cocktail lounges, visitors can find the perfect hand-crafted pairing for every meal.
Where to Go
Plenty of locally loved, award-winning restaurants are found throughout the county. While just a start, the restaurants below can serve as the perfect starter guide on where to dine and what to order when visiting.
Named Southern Living’s “Favorite Restaurant in the Region,” Lulu’s on Main specializes in items that are both certified hormone-free and humanely raised. To dine like area residents, start with the Szechuan salad and the salmon, then wrap up the meal with the delectable peanut butter pie.
Rated by Gourmet magazine as one of “America’s Best Farm to Table Restaurants,” Guadalupe Café blends farm-to-table cuisine with tropical delights to create dishes such as red curry shrimp, blackened plantains and mango pork tacos.
Opened in 1926, The Coffee Shop is a local favorite serving up Southern staples. In fact, if you want to live like a resident, fuel up with the biscuits and gravy, or the gypsy omelet before setting out on your adventure. Don’t forget to take along a piece of their famous pie for later!
Fans of barbecue better set their alarm clocks to get to Big Nick’s Barbecue sooner rather than later. Due to the eatery’s popularity and flavorful menu, guests may find a “sold out” sign on the door if they arrive too late in the day, so arrive early to ensure you’ll be able to sample the mouth-watering beef brisket and the slow-smoked barbecue pork.
Named one of Yelp’s “Top 100 places to eat in the U.S. in 2019,” Haywood Smokehouse serves up beef brisket, barbecue ribs and a delectable Sweet Ketchup sauce. You can even grab a bottle to take home with you.
Touting a menu of world cuisine with a Southern twist, Foragers Canteen focuses on “farm-to-fork” offerings that result in a menu that changes with the seasons to ensure the freshest ingredients. Think double-cut pork chops, golden-fried, wild-caught Atlantic cod, smoke gouda cheese grits and maple balsamic Brussels sprouts.
For 15 years, Jackson County residents and visitors alike have headed to The Orchard for seasonal menus overflowing with farm-to-table choices like Carolina quail sliders, Continental Divide trout, Dark Cove garden risotto and Hawkin’s venison filet.
Known as Cashiers’ favorite porch, Cornucopia Restaurant lives up to its name by featuring a varied menu of favorites loved by the residents of Jackson County. Open seasonally, this popular dining spot offers a range of dishes diners can enjoy from the Arabian Club and Black Bean Burger to the Southern-Fried Farms Chicken and “Wade Hampton’s Downfall.”
Boasting an impressive list of more than 70 wines to complement its dishes, Table 64 delivers a delicate pairing of creative, locally-sourced cuisine and fine wine to create an elevated, yet relaxed dining experience. With the tapas-style portions, diners can try a variety of delectable dishes including Duck Confit Egg Rolls, Buttermilk Fried Porkbelly and Wagyu Sirloin. Specials change daily depending on what local fresh ingredients are available.
Every community has a favorite pizza place. For Cashiers, that place is Slab Town Pizza. Start with town favorite Schrute Farms Beet Salad, before moving on to the Duke Pizza. This must-try pie is loaded with Italian sausage, pepperoni, bacon, ricotta, grandé mozzarella and red sauce.
For Your Sweet Tooth
Be sure to leave room for dessert! Jackson County is home to a number of chocolatiers, bakeries and ice cream spots sure to satisfy even the strongest sweet tooth. For instance, choose from an assortment of decadent chocolates at Baxley’s Chocolate in Sylva or Dillsboro Chocolate Factory. Take it a step further and indulge in a chocolate pairing with Innovation Brewing at both of these sweet spots.
Named by Our State as one of their “favorite ice cream shops in North Carolina,” Jack the Dipper is home to the made-to-order vanilla warm waffle cone. In addition to your favorite ice cream flavors, try a sundae, shake, malt, shaved ice or banana split.
With so many dining options to choose from, there is something for every palate in Jackson County. Many of the area’s restaurants open seasonally or have seasonal hours, so be sure to check online or give the restaurant a quick call before paying these exceptional eateries a visit.
In Jackson County, you’ll find many accommodations within walking distance of the best bites in the area, so you can walk off your dinner and dessert – or walk to get more if you please! Download your visitor’s guide today to plan your visit.