(UPDATED AUGUST 2022) There is nothing like the beautiful towns of the North Georgia region. If you haven’t experienced this unique area where the small towns make up the landscape, along with a plethora of cascading waterfalls, majestic mountains, tasty wines, and apple orchards, you are in for a real treat. The lines get muddied where a town ends and the next one begins, but rest assured, each one is outstanding. Let me help you figure out where to eat in North Georgia with this informative list. I’ve also recommended dishes that I especially liked.
Our arrival (me and my husband) in Ellijay took us to a sandwich shop for lunch. While there, I spoke with many local patrons who all said, “do not miss Country Corner Kitchen,” a local eatery beside a gas station. We couldn’t wait to try it out. Country Corner Kitchen serves a nice mix of American menu items and Cuban, which we had not expected to see in North Georgia.
Being from Vero Beach, we know Cuban food well, and this place is legit…even down to the Café Bustelo Cuban coffee. Because we could see the pan of homemade biscuits in the window, we chose sausage & cheese biscuits and a cafe con Leche for breakfast. They were fantastic. So fantastic, we ended up going again the next day for the same thing, plus a side of sausage gravy.
Country Corner Kitchen was in the process of moving to a different location, but rest assured the service, food quality, and friendly vibe are worth the visit no matter what the address.
After reading many menus in Ellijay, I knew Ellijay Wood-Fired Pizza was on my go-to list. You can’t go wrong with the daily fondue choice, and luckily, we had crab artichoke wood-fired fondue on our visit. It was so gooey and creamy, with plenty of artichoke bites.
For our main course, my husband chose a bowl of French onion soup, served with a basic salad, while I had a sausage & peppadew peppers pizza, yummy in every bite. I even had plenty to take away for leftovers. Ask for spicy sausage and really spice things up a bit.
Fun Fact: If you aren’t familiar with peppadew peppers, they are a little bit sweet, spicy, and very tangy. They have a unique taste; my favorite way to eat them is stuffed with goat cheese.
For more restaurants in Ellijay, check out our complete list.
Sundance Grill in Hiawassee is a one-stop shop for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I went there for breakfast, a good choice. Inside, the restaurant has a welcoming vibe and cute, whimsical artwork on the walls. The omelets are stuffed full of ingredients, and the taste was sensational.
I liked the rustic potato dish with my omelet and toast. Since I ordered the Greek omelet with lamb meat, I did ask for a side of tzatziki, which was a great addition. The food was hearty and tasty; I would eat at Sundance Grill anytime.
Fun Fact: Sundance Grill is in a little strip mall of sorts, with a year-round Christmas store next door.
Chester Brunnenmeyer’s Bar & Grill is one of Blue Ridge’s most popular restaurants. My husband and I drove into town after dark and liked the restaurant vibe from what we saw outside. We lucked out with bar seats for dinner, which was lucky because they are on a long wait on the weekend; reservations are suggested.
Eddie had the Pimento Cheese Chicken Sandwich on a brioche bun piled high with a sandwich pre-set, bacon, and jalapeños. I went with the Shaved Prime Rib Sandwich with caramelized onions and horseradish crème, served with au jus for dipping. It was 10/10 good.
Sandwiches come with a choice of side dishes. We chose French and sweet potato fries. The bartender was excellent company, made stellar cocktails, and gave us pointers for exploring Blue Ridge. Chester’s is also a place to watch all your favorite sporting events.
Harvest on Main was another restaurant we tried in Blue Ridge with a group of friends. The restaurant probably always has a waitlist, but they text you when your table is ready so that you can browse around town until then. Harvest on Main is a big restaurant with front porch dining, the main dining room, and a downstairs bar.
I immediately settled on the Blue Ridge Hot Brown with a side of green beans. My sandwich was layered with toast, smoked turkey, crab meat, and Swiss cheese. Then it was drizzled with a cheesy, delicious mornay sauce. Not at all a typical Kentucky Hot Brown, but an enjoyable comfort food dish.
Other menu items enjoyed at our table were Shrimp and Grits, a Caesar salad (freaking nom!), Three Onion and Apple Soup, and Curry Chicken Salad with whole wheat flatbread. Harvest on Main has an impressive wine list and serves local craft beer.
A heavy hitter in Blue Ridge is Mercier Orchards, where apples are the star of every dish imaginable, plus a host of other delicious eats. Mercier Orchards is where I go for fried pies, a North Georgia staple. I prefer cherry and peach to apple, but you have many flavors. Perhaps you prefer fudge, as my husband did…no worries, they have that, too.
Mercier Orchards has a huge selection of locally-made jams, jellies, sauces, salsas, and gourmet food products. You can also stock up on home accessories, kitchen decor, toys, and stocking stuffers. The property has a bounty of family-fun activities, such as hiking around the orchard and pond, catch & release fishing, and taking photos in the photo displays around the grounds.
As my daughter and I headed out of town on my first visit to the North Georgia Mountains, we saw a small window-service style eatery beside the road called Rum Cake Lady Cuban Cafe. I turned the car around so fast it would make your head swim because we had to try Cuban food 10 hours away from where it gets real in South Florida.
We were pleasantly surprised when our Midnight sandwich (Media Noche), rice and beans, and ham croquetas came out perfect. All the necessary Cuban flavors and depth were there, and it was all so good. We ate on a covered outdoor patio, along with the rest of the diners. Try sides of the green and pink sauces for your croquetas, which are so good with the rich fried flavors. A second Rum Cake Lady Cuban Cafe is now open in Blue Ridge.
Be sure to save room for the star of the show—the individual award-winning rum cakes with limoncello, original, caramel chocolate, and more.
Mary’s Southern Grill was a lovely lunch stop for my daughter and me on our North Georgia travels. The home-style eatery has a superb staff, and we were treated like family. She enjoyed a cheeseburger platter with fries and a vegetable. I chose the four-veggie plate, which was excellent in every way.
For my four veggie choices, I went with coleslaw, greens, baked beans, and the delectable potato salad. It was seriously some of the best potato salad ever. The iced tea was wonderful, too. From the repeat crowds and conversations we could hear, I’d guess everyone in town approves of Mary’s Southern Grill, a family-friendly Young Harris jewel.
The Dining Room at Brasstown Valley Resort and Spa is a treat for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. I’ve been for both and always had commendable service and good food. The Brasstown Meatloaf is hard to beat for dinner, but the Steak Au Poivre (New York Strip) with a brandy cream sauce might be the best thing on the menu.
While the main courses are fantastic, so are the warm dinner rolls with honey butter that are complimentary. The Caesar salad is always a safe and tasty choice, but save room for dessert because the bread pudding here rocks, as does the vanilla Crème Brûlée and chocolate peanut butter cake.
If you are at Brasstown Valley Resort’s Dining Room for lunch, the Chicken Broccoli pasta dish is exceptional—rich, creamy, and filling. I’m pretty sure you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
Enrico’s Italian Restaurant should be on your radar when you venture out into the town to eat. I met a friend there for dinner, and we had a fantastic time, from start to finish. Enrico’s waitstaff is appropriately trained and provides suggestions on what to order. We started with a complimentary bread basket with herbed dipping oil but added the appetizer to the garlic rolls soon after. This is a basket of deliciousness you won’t want to miss.
For our mains, one of us ordered the pasta with a meatball and sauce (we chose linguine, but spaghetti is also available) and the other a brick-oven pizza. My pasta dish was mmm, mmm good, with a tangy and deeply flavorful tomato sauce, plus fresh parmesan to top it off. Melody=1, spaghetti dinner=0.
Reservations at Enrico’s are recommended. We were too full for dessert, but spumoni, tiramisu, cannoli, and Italian love cake are some options.
I perused several menus in Dahlonega before choosing Spirits Tavern, and what a perfect choice. My husband, Eddie, and I bellied up to the bar through a bustling lunch crowd. Spirits Tavern is a fun place with lots to look at and a vibe that makes you want to hang out.
I ordered the Augusta burger with white cheddar pimento cheese and green tomato chow chow—I am salivating writing this just thinking back to how good that burger was. Fries were my accompaniment.
Eddie chose a Greek Chicken Sandwich (Fresh & So Clean is the official name) with somewhat melted feta cheese, sliced English cukes, and tzatziki sauce. He chose cheesy tots for his side item. Both of our dishes were A+ choices, and we enjoyed every bite.
Eating German food is a must when visiting Helen’s Bavarian North Georgia town. One of the best places to do that is The Heidelburg, a three-floor German restaurant, pub, and music hall located in the back left corner of downtown Helen. You’ve arrived when you see the most authentic-looking building that would be your top pick for Helen photos.
The wait can be brutal, but get your name on the list and stand by. The food is worth the wait. Eddie went for sausages (Bratwurstteller) with two types of potatoes, a rustic mash, and a full-flavored German potato salad. I had the Jagerschnitzel (pork loin with mushroom cream sauce) with red cabbage and Spätzle. Everything on my plate was well received, and the pork was perfectly cooked. You can choose grilled or breaded schnitzels at The Heidelburg. I thought that their red cabbage was the best in Helen.
If you aren’t stuffed to the hilt, there are apple strudel and Black Forest cake for dessert that aims to please.
Smith Creek Tavern has above-average hotel food at the Unicoi State Park & Lodge property. Way above. I loved my pulled pork bbq platter, with fries, Garlic toast, and coleslaw. The coleslaw was excellent, a perfect mix of tangy and sweet, plus finely ground.
Smith Creek Tavern’s pulled pork was more like chunks of lean, flavorful meat, with just the right amount of barbecue sauce, and not the syrupy sweet kind I typically run into. I loved that my meal came in a cast-iron skillet—excellent presentation. If you are really hungry, order the Jumbo Bavarian pretzel as an appetizer, served with whole-grain mustard and beer cheese sides.
For more restaurants in Helen, check out our complete list.
My friend Howard recommended Sawmill Place. After numerous breakfasts through the years, he had never been there for lunch until going with me.
Howard chose the daily special of the day, meatloaf, which came with three sides. He picked fried squash, cheesy potatoes, and black-eyed peas. The meatloaf also came with a billowy, buttery biscuit. Nom. There was a tiny square blondie for something sweet at the end of the meal.
I went with a cheeseburger and a side of green beans. When my plate arrived, I made a mental note of how fresh the lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle preset looked. Every single item on my plate was delicious and perfectly prepared. The Sawmill Place is an excellent choice when exploring this part of the North Georgia Mountains.
My husband and I drove by Big D’s Barbecue in Dawsonville and liked the looks of the restaurant, so we went to eat lunch. Big D’s is a counter-service restaurant with typical and traditional barbecue meats and side dishes. We both chose bbq lunch trays, which came with Garlic toast, two hush puppies, and a choice of two sides. Eddie had the Mac & cheese and baked beans to go along with his pulled pork and chicken. I had Mac & cheese and green beans, pulled pork only.
My favorite thing on the tray was the green beans, but the Mac & cheese, while incredibly cheesy, was a nice compliment to the smoky meat. There are several Big D’s Barbecue joints in the North Georgia Mountains.
A few of these meals were hosted by Coral Hospitality Group from my stay at their properties for gathering editorial content. Opinions are 100% mine and unbiased.
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