Top 5 Franklin NC Restaurants

franklin nc restaurants

For the past year and some change, Caroline and I have lived in the Franklin, NC area. We would be lying to you if we originally moved to the mountain town for the food. Just because we’re in a small town now doesn’t mean that we don’t have some really delicious restaurants. In this article, we’re nominating our current top 5 Franklin NC restaurants. If you’re visiting and don’t exhaust this list then you are missing out. Before we get started, I would also like to clarify that this is only including restaurants in the Franklin area, in future articles we will include the greater Western NC area where many other great restaurants are.

Let’s get started!

1. Bent Willow Baking Co

While this is technically not a Franklin NC restaurant per se, we think it’s totally worth adding to this list. One of the fastest-growing small businesses in the area, the women duo at Bent Willow put so much energy and passion into their loaves of bread, intricate pastries, and refined beverages. If you come here for a light breakfast you will likely leave a changed traveler.

man pouring tea at Bent Willow Bakery

I would highly recommend scrolling their Instagram for all the goodie madness and giving this a try on a slow morning where you’re excited by the idea of sipping your coffee and pondering what your day may entail. Their interior aesthetic will surely get your creative juices flowing… and make you want to remodel your entire home when you get back.

Address: 473 E Palmer St, Franklin, NC 28734

2. 828 cafe

Serving up some of the best Latin meets southern-inspired breakfast bowls and chicken-centric dishes in the greater western NC area is 828 cafe. This place has an absolutely stunning brunch and lunch menu filled with epic flavor. Their Nashville Hot chicken sandwich is a true gem in this gem capital and you would be remiss for not trying it if you’re a sucker for anything with a kick.

Farm Fresh Bowl 828 cafe
Farm Fresh Bowl
Guava french toast 828 cafe franklin nc
Guava French Toast

We love to visit this place on Saturdays for late breakfast (salty or sweet) or during the weekday for a much-needed workday lunch reprieve. Just be mindful, this place closes at 2:30 PM which is pretty early so get in before you miss out on their menu.

Address: 228 NE Main St, Franklin, NC 28734

3. Root & Barrell Kitchen

This is your classic Americana restaurant and bar. Root & Barrell will give you what you need for a nice dinner with all the reliable and classic conveniences of a restaurant you would expect. We’ve had most of their dishes by now and I would recommend their salmon or pasta dishes if you’re looking for a hearty dinner.

When we moved to the area we originally fell in love with their sweet potato wedges with a seasonal sauce and goat cheese as an appetizer. We hope they will bring that back this fall/winter because that is a true MVP.

lady hand reaching for Root & Barrel appetizer

If you’re not in the mood for a proper pasta or fish dinner, then go with their Fiesta or Soul bowls which they serve for lunch and dinner.

They are conveniently located downtown so if you wish to walk around and maybe visit Outdoor 76 or the other local businesses, this is a great restaurant to pair with that.

4. Mi Casa Mexican Restaraunt

Our go-to Mexican restaurant in the area, and trust us we’ve tried many of them! Mi Casa is everything you want in a local Mexican restaurant — the service is extremely friendly, the food portions are massive, and the flavors are delicious.

We typically opt to come here on weeknights for a much-needed break from work and sit on their screened-in patio and watch the sunset off in the distance over the mountains. You can’t go wrong here so get whatever looks great on their overwhelmingly expected menu.

Address: 788 E Main St, Franklin, NC 28734

5. Haywood Smokehouse

Our favorite place to grab barbecue is certainly Haywood Smokehouse. A western North Carolina brand with three locations, Haywood specializes in all things smoked meat. And if you’re like me, sometimes you are in the mood and you can’t shake it until you get a little brisket in your belly. Their meats fall off the bone and their sides equally match. It’s a one-two punch of a BBQ experience.

Make sure to try all their different sauces even though their meats don’t need an ounce of dolling up. My only gripe is that they don’t offer cornbread, but I hope someday they’ll cave. 😉

Address: 33 Macon Center Dr, Franklin, NC 28734

Bonus: To Dye For Food Truck (currently at Currahee Brewing Company)

While breweries are a staple of the local eats and hang vibes of this area, we would be remiss if we didn’t include our current favorite food truck of the area. The To Dye For food truck. It is currently located at Currahee Brewing Company and will knock your socks off.

Order the pimento cheese and a chicken quesadilla and thank us later at the bar!

Address: 100 Lakeside Dr, Franklin, NC 28734

So there you have it, our top 5 favorite Franklin NC restaurants of which we visit frequently. As you can see, even in a small town there are plenty of places to grab a bite when cooking at home just doesn’t sound exciting. If you are visiting you will certainly enjoy any of these places and if you really want to work up an appetite beforehand, be sure to get your exercise in with a local hike like Silers Bald Loop.