Everyone knows my favorite thing to do while traveling is to eat. With all the incredible restaurants in Bristol, TN/VA I was not disappointed. One of my favorite things to do in Bristol was EAT!
From mouth-watering BBQ to acai bowls to innovative sushi, I got to try all kinds of things while exploring all the things to do in Bristol.
If you’re in the area make sure you check out nearby Johnson City, TN too! It’s another fun spot with lots of outdoor adventure options.
Disclaimer: I was only in town for three days so of course this list isn’t exhaustive. If you have a suggestion that I didn’t get to then please leave it in the comments!
Another Disclaimer: I was hosted by Explore Bristol. As always, all opinions are my own.
This funky cafe is the perfect spot to kick off your morning. They serve a Brunch Board which is basically a charcuterie board for breakfast and I would have definitely gotten that if I had someone to share.
Instead, I ordered the Bible BELT – a BLT with egg – and a latte. The crisp lettuce, perfectly cooked egg, and spicy mayo went together like magic.
They have hearty options for those who love a big, stick-to-your-ribs meal for breakfast but also some lighter items like a granola bowl or quiche.
The retro feel here is super fun and the prices won’t break the bank either. They also serve sandwiches, soups, and salads for lunch and are open for dinner on the weekends.
Address: 606 State St | Website: Bloom
I’ll be the first to admit that I did not understand the smoothie bowl craze. Until I tried one for myself. And the ones at Blended Pedaler are like regular smoothie bowls on steroids.
You can choose to make your own bowl or pick from one of the House Bowls or specials. There were way too many options for me to make my own bowl so I just went with the Pedalers Way.
The Pedalers Way is made of an acai/dragonfruit base with granola, banana, strawberry, kiwi, cacao nibs, coconut flakes, peanut butter, and honey as toppings. 10/10 would recommend.
You can also order loaded toast and regular smoothies here but I highly recommend the bowl. Just a note – they serve cold brew coffee here but no hot coffee. You can walk down the street to Blackbird Bakery though if you need a hot cup.
This was the perfect stop before I went out fly fishing on the South Holston River.
Address: 170 Piedmont Ave | Website: Blended Pedaler
620 State Restaurant
If you are a sushi lover then this one is for you. Or Stir Fry. But they also have American-style entrees and sandwiches. Tough decisions are made here.
As a new sushi convert though, I wholeheartedly recommend the Stir Fry Roll – salmon, cream cheese, avocado, asparagus, tempura fried, topped with wasabi soy sauce. Delish.
This is a popular lunch spot downtown but it’s downright hard to get into at dinner time. Make a reservation if you can.
You’ll find great mixed drinks here and a good wine and beer selection too. It’s definitely one of the best restaurants in Bristol, TN!
Address: 620 E State St | Website: 620 State Restaurant
Burger Bar – Historic Restaurants in Bristol, TN
If you are craving a thick, juicy cheeseburger then look no further than the Burger Bar. It’s got the old, diner feel with dollar bills taped up to the wall. As soon as you walk in, you know it’s gonna be good.
They’ve got so much more than just a regular cheeseburger. You can try Howlin’ at the Moon with grilled onions, chili, and cheese or, for the adventurous ones, The Fire God with ground habaneros, jalapenos, pepper jack cheese, and tabasco onion straws.
Make sure you get some fries with your order because those things are addicting. They’ve been open since 1942 and I can see why people keep coming back.
Fun Fact: The Burger Bar is the last place that Hank Williams Sr. was seen alive.
Address: 120 Piedmont Ave | Website: Burger Bar
One of the only restaurants on the list not in downtown Bristol, this spot is perfect to hit before or after a visit to Bristol Caverns.
While it may not look fancy on the outside, you don’t want to miss a meal from here. It’s honestly comfort food at its best. Think of your local mom & pop diner.
I went for the baked spaghetti special and the sauce, noodles, and garlic bread all went together perfectly. I knew I had to have dessert.
The Nutterbutter pie tasted exactly like a Nutterbutter with whipped cream and a chocolate drizzle on top. If you are a fan of peanut butter then you don’t skip this.
Address: 3529 US-421 | Website: Price’s Too
Delta Blues BBQ
If a blues song came to life as a restaurant, this would be it. Dim lighting, music-themed decor, and lots of wood set the theme here.
It’s a cool spot to hang out and a local favorite. The BBQ is tender and juicy and the sides are just like you’d get from a home-cooked meal.
Personally, I loved the baked beans and potato salad. Here you walk straight up to the counter to order before you sit down and the menu is written up on big chalkboards.
I actually wasn’t originally planning to go here but another dinner spot fell through and a local recommended this one. Was not disappointed one bit.
Address: 724 State St | Website: Delta Blues BBQ
The Angry Italian
Serving Chicago-style pizza and Italian fare, this is the go-to if you need some Italian comfort food. The pizza really is not to be missed.
I had the Smoked Tuscan Chicken Penne and it was absolutely fantastic. Creamy with the perfect ratio of chicken to pasta.
This is great for date night, dinner with friends, or if you want to take anyone out to a nice restaurant without a huge price tag.
The Chef and Owner has worked at major restaurants all over the US and brought his expertise to Northeast Tennessee in 2015.
You’ll find lots of fun shops and some of the best breweries in Bristol along State Street so leave some time to explore.
Address: 714 State St | Website: The Angry Italian
State Line Bar & Grille
I’ve only had delivery from Stateline but it was incredible. Some of the crispiest and juiciest fried chicken tenders that I’ve had.
Their mac & cheese and baked beans are nothing to turn your nose up at either. It was definitely one of the best to-go meals that I’ve ever had – nothing was soggy, cold, or anything like a typical to-go meal.
If their delivery options are that good, then I can only imagine how good their dine-in food is. As you can tell by the name, it’s a bar & grill type atmosphere with TVs, drinks, and a homey feel.
This was one of my favorite restaurants in Bristol, TN!
Address: 644 State St | Website: State Line Bar & Grille
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Cootie Brown’s started in Johnson City and now they have a few locations around Northeast Tennessee. You won’t find a more diverse menu than you will here.
They have great pizza, good tacos, BBQ, you name it. The atmosphere is colorful, lively, and fun – you really can’t go wrong here.
Whatever you do, make sure you try their signature Key Lime Pie. Oh, and if you visit on Sunday they have a Bloody Mary Bar with all kinds of garnishes for your drink.
It’s definitely one of my favorite restaurants in Johnson City so I had to include it in this list as well!
Address: 118 Volunteer Parkway | Website: Cootie Brown’s
Okay, some people may not consider Blackbird Bakery an actual restaurant since it’s a bakery, but it is a non-negotiable when you visit Bristol.
They have two locations – one downtown and then another along Commonwealth Avenue. At their downtown location, they have a huge pastry counter full of sweets to choose from.
You’ll find their signature doughnuts, various pastries, individual cheesecakes & tarts, cupcakes, cakes, ice cream and more.
If that wasn’t enough, they also sell homemade bread so make sure you take a loaf home. Pretty sure I visited this spot each day I was in town if only for some coffee and to catch up on emails.
Address: 188 Piedmont Ave (Downtown) – 970 Commonwealth Ave | Website: Blackbird Bakery