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The Ultimate Foodie Guide: 25+ Best Restaurants in Johnson City

While visiting Johnson City, you will find some of the best restaurants that the Tri-Cities and Appalachian Highlands have to offer.

You will find many different types of food including Thai, Indian, Peruvian, Japanese, Mediterranean, Southern BBQ, Cajun, Italian, Mexican, and more.

Inside the Juan Siao restaurant in downtown Johnson City with high ceiling and exposed brick wall.

As there are lots of different restaurants located in Johnson City, we have narrowed them down so you can choose from the best that Johnson City has to offer.

Keep reading to see where you can find the best restaurants in Johnson City and make a reservation today!

25+ Best Restaurants in Johnson City

1. Cafe Lola

Credit: Café Lola via Google Maps/Google Earth
  • Location: 1805 North Roan Street

One of the best restaurants located in Johnson City is Cafe Lola – a Bistro, Wine, and Martini Bar. This restaurant offers one of the best brunches in Johnson City, great lunch deals, and fantastic dinners.

Brunch is offered on Saturdays and Sundays, offering items such as chorizo & avocado benedict, stuffed french toast with fruit, Maryland-style crab cakes croissant, and more.

Lunch specials are daily through the week, offering a combination of half sandwiches, soups, or salads for $9.95.

The dinner menu includes tapas, starters, and entree items. They offer a great wine menu to pair with your charcuterie board or cheese plate, as well as martinis or after-dinner drinks.

* Free Flow Tapas Tuesdays – Enjoy unlimited Tapas, Wines, and Sangrias from 5-7 PM on Tuesdays for $25 per person.

2. The Label

lamb lollipops on plate
  • Location: 112 Tipton Street

The Label Restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in Johnson City, known for its fantastic food, eclectic atmosphere, and variety of alcoholic beverages.

Popular menu items such as a 40-day dry-aged prime ribeye as well as freshly made sushi and unique burgers.

This restaurant is also one of the best places to find a good pour of bourbon –  E.H Taylor, Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel, or even try a flight of Pappy Van Winkle

Another great perk of the Label Restaurant and the Stir Fry Group is that they are highly involved with their community and charity organizations, including the Coalition for Kids — a non-profit organization committed to helping children in need.

If you are planning on eating here, try to make reservations days in advance as they book up quick!

3. Southern Craft

basket of beef brisket nachos
  • Location: 601 Spring Street #101

Southern Craft offers some of the best BBQ in Johnson City along with some great fixins (sides). They offer a variety of BBQ-style menu items from smoked beef brisket, burnt end nachos, vegan jackfruit tacos, and more.

Southern Craft BBQ has four locations scattered throughout the tri-cities. You can find this restaurant in Johnson City, Bristol, Watauga Lake, and Greeneville.

As well as offering great food, they also craft their own beer from their own brewery – Great Oak Brewing. From the Twin Eddies Coffee Porter to the Honey Red Ale, they offer some of the best beer in the Tri-Cities.

Want to see what other breweries Johnson City has to offer?

Also Read: Best Breweries in Johnson City

4. Main Street Pizza

  • Location: 300 E Main Street #101

Satisfy your pizza craving with some of the best pizza in town at Main Street Pizza. Located in both Johnson City and Kingsport, Main Street Pizza offers gourmet hand-made pizzas, subs, salads, pasta, and more.

One of our favorite pizzas to get here is the Thai Pie — a creamy coconut-sriracha base topped with arugula, roasted chicken, jalapeños, onion, red pepper, and finished with an apple chutney sauce to give you that sweet heat flavor.

If you aren’t craving one of their specialty pies, you can create your own and have a choice of over 50 toppings to choose from.

Happy Hour is offered from Sunday to Thursday from 2-6 PM.

5. Timber!

  • Location: 415 West Walnut Street

Timber! is a great restaurant where you can find unique chef-creations and craft cocktails in an earthy-inspired atmosphere.

They offer a great outdoor patio section as well as a casual dining room with a wood fire for those cool or rainy evenings.

Menu items are changing often except for their base camp menu, which maintains food items such as Lamb Meatballs or a Beyond Beef Burger. Unique creations we have had here have been fried green tomatoes served with goat cheese and honey, braised beef spring lettuce wraps, and smoked trout dip.

Along with great food, Timber! also offers a great selection of spirits — Rum, Scotch, Bourbons, and Liqueurs, etc. are all offered to give you a good selection for a good cocktail.

6. Watauga Brewing Company

bowl of mussels and fries on table
Image obtained from Watauga Brewing Company Facebook Page
  • Location: 142 W Market Street

Watauga Brewing Company is located in downtown Johnson City, offering 3 levels with a brewery, restaurant, and rooftop bar.

The restaurant is located on level two and offers unique fine fusion foods with a menu that is always changing. Some recent favorites on their menu have been the mussels frites or the pierogis of the Day. They offer both tapas-style plates, great for sharing, as well as entree size plates

The brewery is located on the ground floor offering a great selection of their crafted beers and the rooftop is great to visit on a warm sunny day to enjoy a craft cocktail. You can order from the full-restaurant menu on all 3 levels.

This restaurant also offers a great Brunch on Sunday with menu items like chicken & waffles or chilaquiles.

Looking for only restaurants that are in downtown? If so, check out our downtown Johnson City restaurants guide.

7. Juan Siao

  • Location: 104 Tipton St

Johnson City’s newest restaurant, Juan Siao, recently opened in downtown Johnson City in May 2022. Specializing in Mexican-Asian fusion recipes, you’ll experience unique dishes and flavors when dining at this snazzy restaurant.

So far we’ve tried the Umami Tots (Kewpie, furikake, togarashi, fried shallots), Mussels, Mole Chili Chicken, Izakaya Fried Chicken Tacos, Chicken Miso Ramen, & Snapper Tacos.

Out of those, our favorite was the Umami Tots and the Izakaya Chicken Tacos, but the Ramen didn’t live up to expectations — more broth, please!

Along with great food, this restaurant also offers a large range of Mezcals — an agave spirit distilled from cooked agave piñas.

8. Freiberg’s

  • Location: 203 E Main Street

Freiberg’s is an authentic German restaurant located right in the center of downtown Johnson City. Here you will find authentic German food as well as imported German beer with large portions and great prices.

The owner’s hometown of Freiberg, Germany is where these dishes are inspired and derived from, allowing you to travel to Germany for lunch or dinner.

Some menu favorites here are the chicken schnitzel and the pork bratwurst. They also have great sides from bavarian potato salad and sauerkraut.

This restaurant is great to visit for lunch as their lunch specials start at $4.99!

9. Cafe One11

  • Location: 111 Broyles Drive

Cafe One11 is a traditional Neo-Asian restaurant serving inspired dishes from China, Thailand, and India.

This restaurant has a sushi bar making made-to-order maki rolls, sushi, sashimi, and sushi platters. Some favorites on the menu include stir-fried chicken lettuce wraps and sweet & sour chicken.

Cafe One11 is also popular for its Saki and Martini menu – Saki pairs well with sushi!

10. Red Meze

Woman holding a chicken gyro at Red Meze restaurant in downtown Johnson City, TN.
  • Location: 109 Buffalo Street

Red Meze is a relaxed family-owned café located in the downtown area offering Greek and Turkish Mediterranean fare.

Menu items include gyros, pitas, pizzas, Turkish kebabs, and more. Customer favorites include the Musakka — layers of eggplant, sirloin, and béchamel sauce topped with mozzarella cheese, a customer favorite!

For those who love dessert, try the Baklava – a traditional Turkish dessert with layered pastry, chopped nuts, and sweetened with honey or syrup.

Try the Turkish Coffee – Turkish coffee is often brewed in a cezve and is unfiltered – making the caffeine concentration much higher than what you are used to.

11. Cootie Browns

Cootie Brown’s via Facebook
  • Location: 2715 N Roan Street OR 1404 W State of Franklin Road

Cootie Browns is a unique and funky restaurant with bright colorful decor and an eclectic menu offering great food and dessert.

Menu items include handmade wood-fired pizzas, steaks, tamales, sandwiches, and more inspired from different countries such as Jamaica, Italy, and Mexico.

Cootie Browns is also highly known for its gigantic pies and cakes. Get them by the slice or buy the whole dessert and take it home! The most famous of them all is their Key Lime Pie!

12. Gourmet & Company

  • Location: 214 E Mountcastle Drive, Suite 1

Gourment & Company offers an American fine dining cuisine prepared from fresh ingredients including organic and locally grown when possible.

Some items on the menu include local and regional cheese and charcuterie boards, pan-seared scallops, and beef tenderloin.

Along with fantastic food, Gourmet & Company is also popular for its gift shop, offering high-end retail gifts from artists and designers such as Simone Pearce, Vietri, and more.

They also offer a late-night bar menu on Wednesdays to Saturdays from 10 PM – 12 AM.

13. Bella Vita

  • Location: 2927 N Roan St

Bella Vita is one of the best Italian restaurants in Johnson City and has been a family-operated business since 1998.

Enjoy authentic Italian dishes such as chicken parmigiana, pasta alforno, or chicken marsala.

If you are also into drinking wine (like we are), they have a great wine bar offering wines from Italy, Spain, France, California, and more.

14. Tomy Thai

bowls of yellow curry and rice at Tomy Thai's restaurant in Johnson City, TN
  • Location: 1736 W State of Franklin Road #70

Tomy Thai is a great restaurant to find your Thai food fix! Thai food is one of our favorites, so we frequent here often. 

The food here is prepared fresh daily, from crispy vegetable spring rolls to the yellow curry, everything we have ever ordered has been delicious. The yellow curry consists of a protein of your choice, coconut milk, galanga, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaf, potatoes, onions, carrots, and pineapple. 

With most dishes, you can choose your protein (Chicken, Shrimp, Beef, Tofu, Vegetable) and your spice level (Mild, Medium, Hot, or Thai Spicy). 

15. Scratch Brick Oven (Temporarily Closed)

  • Location: 100 E Unaka Avenue 

Scratch Brick Oven is a great place to satisfy your next pizza craving. All pizzas are thin-crust and cooked in a hand-built wood-fired oven. 

Build your own pizza with many different toppings to choose from such as granny smith apples, hot cherry peppers, garlic, artichoke hearts, and more. 

They also offer a ‘trust pizza’ where you can choose items you like or dislike and they will make a surprise pizza for you, pretty cool ‘eh? 

Also, for those who follow Barstool Sports or Barstool Pizza, Dave Portnoy has reviewed Scratch Brick Oven and says it himself, “this is good pizza.”  

16. Project BBQ

plate of smoked meats
Image Obtained from Project BBQ Facebook Page
  • Location: 3301 N Roan Street

For those who love Texas-style BBQ, then Project BBQ should be your next stop. Previously a food truck, Project BBQ has now opened a permanent location on North Roan Street. 

Pulling up to the restaurant, you can see the giant smokers in the back, smoking meats such as beef brisket, ribs, pulled pork, and more.  

Also, customers rave about the banana pudding, so give it a try! 

17. Mid City Grill

  • Location: 106 South Commerce Street

Mid City Grill has been popular among locals in the Tri-Cities for many years. They are known for having the “best burgers in town” as well as one of the largest vegan menus in Johnson City.

This restaurant was previously known as the place to go for a late-night meal which is now rumored to be coming back! Hit the bar or the club and then make a trip to Mid City for some grub.

Mid City does not serve alcohol but they do allow you to BYOB (bring your own beverage).

18. The Firehouse Restaurant

  • Location: 627 W Walnut St

Originally opened in 1980 as Bucwood Bar-B-Que and was later relocated to an old firehouse in 1981, becoming The Firehouse Restaurant.

The Firehouse serves hickory-smoked barbeque, scratch-made sides, homemade dessert, and sweet tea.

They also offer pick-up catering for 15-100 people as well as large catering, where they report that no party is too large.

19. Bayou Boys

Credit: Larry Crain, Google Maps/Google Earth (Apr 2022)
  • Location: 1805 N Roan St Suite A-1

Starting out as a fresh fish market straight from the truck, Bayou Boys is now a full-service restaurant offering fresh seafood “straight from the boat.”

You’ll be traveling to New Orleans for the day for Cajun-style food such as po-boys, alligator bites, shrimp creole, and more.

They often travel to Louisiana and bring back fresh seafood, available for you to purchase in bulk. Examples include live crawfish, raw oysters, or even live blue crab.

You’ll be ready for your next low-country boil with this fresh seafood!

20. Brassa 51

  • Location: 2059 Hamilton Pl

Brassa 51 is a recently opened restaurant bringing authentic Peruvian-style food to the Tri-Cities. The owners express their culture by integrating Peruvian art, music, and colors throughout their restaurant and menu.

The second you walk into this restaurant you’ll inhale the smell of smoked meats from the kitchen. Experiment with different Purivian food with menu items such as crunchy yucca, ceviche, rotisserie chicken, and more.

They also offer catering for your next occasion or event.

21. Wellingtons

Credit: Wellingtons via Google Maps/Google Earth
  • Location: 1216 W State of Franklin Rd

Wellington’s Restaurant is located in the famous Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City offering breakfast and dinner daily.

You can find items such as baked brie, a “deconstructed” wellington, crispy catfish, and more. Wellington’s is also known for their Bourbon, as they offer over 200 types of Bourbon at their bar and restaurant.

Also Read: Where to Stay in Johnson City: 7 Best Hotels

22. White Duck Taco Shop

  • Location: 126 Buffalo St

White Duck Taco Shop is located in the same building as Yee-Haw Brewing Company, right in the center of downtown Johnson City.

Order some uniques tacos such as the Thai peanut chicken, lambo gyro, bangkok shrimp, banh mi tofu, and more. They also have great salsa and cheese dip, perfect for snacking while playing a game of cornhole on the patio of Yee-Haw Brewing.

23. Korean Taco House

  • Location: 101 Buffalo Street

Located in a little hole in the wall in downtown Johnson City, you’ll find the Korean Taco House. This is a hidden gem that everyone should be willing to try as you will find great food and service for a low price.

Try the Ramen or the vegetable dumplings as they are delicious!

This place is also great for those looking for a meal on a budget, as most dishes cost under $10.00.

24. El Charolais

  • Location: 1805 W State of Franklin Rd; 3102 Bristol Hwy; 508 Broad St. Elizabethton

El Charolais is one of the most popular Mexican restaurants located in the Tri-Cites. There are 3 total locations, but we recommend going to the one near ETSU, located in the same shopping center as Kroger.

This restaurant is usually packed throughout the week and definitely on the weekends, expect to wait for a table. However, they have great Mexican food and drink specials.

Happy Hour is throughout the week, Monday & Wednesday you’ll find margaritas specials and Tuesday & Thursday offer draft beer specials.

25. One Acre Café

  • Location: 603 W Walnut St

One Acre Café is a community restaurant, dedicated to offering meals to anyone who is hungry or needs a meal – regardless of one’s ability to pay.

This restaurant serves under the concept of One World Everyone Eats, where they serve nutritious food, buy local produce, offer different size portions, and provide a work-in-exchange program.

You can pay for your meal either by volunteering your time at the café or you can donate certain amounts and have the option to pay it forward for the next person or family needing a meal.

Learn more about donating to the One Acre Café here.

26. Pal’s Sudden Service

Credit: Creative Energy Group
  • Location: 30 locations in Northeast TN/Southwest VA areas.

Pal’s Sudden Service is a MUST-visit fast-food restaurant while you are visiting the Tri-Cities region. This chain is very popular among locals because they offer high-quality and great-tasting food.

Pal’s was the first chain restaurant (one of only two) in the United States to receive a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award – which “recognizes U.S. organizations in the business, health care, education, and nonprofit sectors for performance excellence.”

We recommend trying the Cheddar Rounds (breakfast only), the Big Pal, Sauce Burger, Frenchie Fries, and a Peach or Razzy Tea. They are also the only restaurant that offers a regional favorite soda as a fountain drink, known as Dr. Enuf.

Do you have any recommendations for restaurants in Johnson City? Stay tuned as we add more to this list!

📌 PIN THIS JOHNSON CITY RESTAURANT GUIDE

Daniel Tejada

Wednesday 15th of June 2022

Hi, I'm Daniel Tejada the owner at Brassa 51, thanks for your support bringing us to your list, I can send you a picture of the restaurant or some dishes that we have if you want to add it to the list, again count on us whatever you need, Daniel

Bri

Wednesday 15th of June 2022

Hi Daniel, thanks so much for reaching out! Happy to have you here. Yes -- that would be great! Feel free to email us those directly or send a Drive link to our email and we can get those uploaded (with credit) 😊