Lake Lure is known for beautiful views and fun in the sun. It is also known for having restaurants that don’t last long. You can name a few that have been there for decades, but that’s all. Here at Around Lake Lure, we want you to explore further than these restaurants. Lake Lure is seated in Rutherford County, which has many small towns waiting to be explored. Each town has a restaurant you will want to try. You may not have heard of these places, but that’s because you haven’t gotten out there yet!
Legendary Restaurants in Rutherford County:
139 S Washington St, Rutherfordton, NC 28139
It is almost two decades old. The owners, Cindy and Rodrigo, met in a restaurant they once worked in, where Rodrigo taught Cindy Spanish. The original restaurant in Rutherfordton was torn down in 2013 in order to remodel completely. It now has a full bar, outdoor seating, and a salsa bar. It is a small local chain, and there are five Mi Pueblito restaurants in Western North Carolina, all with the same great food and hospitality.
What to eat: If you want to go into a good coma, Steak and Cheese Burrito. If you want something authentic, get Tacos de Carne Asada. Check out the salsa bar to top your meal off with cucumber salsa, mango salsa, and many, many more!
Do this after: Downtown Rutherfordton is just a block away. Get ice-cream at Main Street Ice Cream and take the kids to KidSenses Children’s Museum.
300 Chimney Rock Rd #16, Rutherfordton, NC 28139
Since 1958, Scoggin’s has been serving up steak and fish to Rutherford County locals. Vegetarian? They have a complete salad bar. When I say complete, I mean it – two types of pickles, a wide array of fruit, and all the fixin’s for a salad. This may be the only restaurant in Rutherford County that my family can agree on because it offers so much on its menu.
What to eat: Try the Shrimp Lovers Platter, which comes with popcorn shrimp, sautéed popcorn shrimp, grilled shrimp, cold boiled green shrimp, and butterfly shrimp – holy mother of shrimp! Don’t forget a side salad to top your meal off.
Do this after: Walk next door to Mimi’s Dairy-O for dessert (see below).
286 Chimney Rock Rd, Rutherfordton, NC 28139
When I was a little girl, we always went to the Dairy-O after ballet recitals, graduations, or games. It closed down for years, but luckily, it was reopened in 2010. It is a walk-up window only with outdoor seating. Not only do they have ice cream, but they also have delicious burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheeses, and much, much more. This year, it was voted #5 best hole-in-the-wall in North Carolina.
What to eat: Also named #2 for the best pizza joint in North Carolina, you have to try their pizza! Finish your meal with Mimi’s delicious pineapple walnut milkshake!
Do this after: Take a short drive to Crestview Park. There are two playgrounds with swing sets galore, complete with tennis courts, basketball courts, and a walking path.
Website: MiMis Dairy-O on Facebook
302 W Main St, Spindale, NC 28160
Although Shake Shop has delicious, thick and creamy shakes, that is not what the diner is named after. It was built right in front of a railroad, and every time a train would pass, it would cause the building to shake! It’s a definite hole-in-the-wall, but one of the most delicious places you will ever eat.
What to eat: If you want a juicy, greasy burger, this is where you need to go. It’s what your body craves on a cheat day or a vacation! You can’t leave Shake Shop without one of their creamy shakes.
Do this after: The railroad that gave the restaurant its name is no longer functioning for trains. Instead, Rutherford County transformed it into a walking/biking path called the Thermal Belt Rail Trail. Take a walk on it at sunset to see the best view in town (and, of course, to burn off all the calories you just consumed).
139 E Main St, Forest City, NC 28043
Smith’s Drug has been open in the same location in downtown Forest City for over 60 years! For generations, it has been the lunch spot in Rutherford County. It has the true diner style, complete red leather booths and bar stools. Wrapping around the booth seating area of the restaurant is a hand-drawn painting of Forest City in the early 1900s. The menu has all diner favorites and service is quick.
What to eat: Try the Burnt Chimney beef sandwich. Named after the previous name for Forest City, Smith’s Drug takes their twist on the perfect roast beef sandwich.
Do this after: Take a walk down Main Street Forest City, where you will find an array of boutiques and shops, including a pet store and bookstore.
Each of these restaurants in Rutherford County is unique to itself and brings about the small town vibe. Some of these restaurants are older than me and have been a lunch and dinner destination throughout generations in Rutherford County. Lake Lure is a picturesque place, and the towns around it are also hidden gems. Embrace the small town living with these “big taste” restaurants!
More Crazy Good & Delicious Fun:
- For more local favorites, see Eat Your Way Along 74A – Discover What Locals Love About Lake Lure Dining.
- Thirsty? We got you covered with our Beer Lovers List of Area Favorites & Asheville Breweries which are kid and dog-friendly.