Eating our Hearts Out in Hot Springs, NC

A Review of a few places to eat in Hot Springs, NC

After thoroughly checking out our riverside campsite, we set out to find something to eat before heading to our appointment at the Hot Springs Resort & Spa's mineral baths. Based on a recommendation I found earlier, the Iron Horse Station was my first choice. We asked the campground attendant to point us in the right direction and headed that way, although he could have told us that it was within walking distance because right as we turned onto the main road, I could see the restaurant in plain sight. I mean, we could have thrown a rock at it from the campground entrance it was that close!

Iron Horse Station

Formerly a haberdashery, the building that houses the Iron Horse Station restaurant is a beautifully restored relic of history, reportedly built prior to 1890. It had the most inviting atmoshpere. I absolutely loved the original exposed brick walls, reclaimed heart-of-pine hardwood flooring, and the stamped tin ceilings. It certainly had a lot of character.

Too bad I can't say the same for the scattered host that sat us! To make a long story short: We put our name on a list, were told to come back in 20 minutes, he gave our seat to someone else who wasn't on the list, & he didn't bother mentioning that there was a lounge upstairs that we could have waited at, but despite all those short comings, he still managed to seat us.

Iron Horse Burger w/ Sweet Potato Fries

Thankfully, the amazingly juicy hamburgers & attentive waitress made up for the lack of service we received from the host. I ordered the Iron Horse 8oz. Burger with Crispy “Tobacco” Onions, Grilled Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Grilled Tomato, Lettuce, Housemade BBQ Sauce and Mayo with a side of, my favorite, sweet potato fries. It was so big, I couldn't even finish the whole thing! We also ordered an extra side of the "Best Ever Mac & Cheese", which was a slight exaggeration as it was not worthy of the designated title, although salt helped (a little). Good thing that Cody and I are fast eaters because we barely finished with enough time to pay our tab and head over to the Hot Springs Resort & Spa for our 7:45 appointment, lucky for us, it was extremely close by!
(More about that in the next WW post)

Main Street in Hot Springs

Because the town of Hot Springs has basically been frozen in time, you don't find the normal tourist traps here. They don't even have a stop light! There are only a handful of options to choose from when looking for places to eat, or if you're looking to get your morning jump start. On Sunday when we woke up, we took a walk around town so Cody could get his morning coffee. Apparently, 8:00 was a little too early for this town. No cars riding down the strip, no people walking along the sidewalks, it was a ghost town.

Iron Horse Station

Having the streets to ourselves, we strolled through town looking for an open establishment, but after numerous closed signs, we found ourselves back at the Iron Horse Station, but this time we went next door to 'the shop'. They had a very limited menu that mainly consisted of coffee drinks and a few lighter-fare breakfast items.

Iron Horse Station Shop Menu

We wanted something a little heavier so we only opted for Cody's espresso and a green tea for myself. At one point, we overheard the barista telling another patron about a breakfast place that was just down the street called, Smoky Mountain Diner. The rumbly in my tumbly prompted me to do the same! Apparently, we didn't walk far enough down main street when combing the strip earlier. After finishing up our drinks and saying our goodbyes, we headed that way.
It was only a few blocks from where Cody and I turned back. We just couldn't see the sign from that distance.

Smoky Mountain Diner

The Smoky Mountain Diner was your typical hole-in-the-wall greasy spoon eatery that offered a wide selection of breakfast items. The menu was huge! Instead of going crazy over what to order, I kept it simple and went with my usual bacon, egg and cheese biscuit while Cody ordered two biscuits smothered in gravy. The food was delicious!!

Bacon, Egg and Chee

Including tip we only paid about $10 for a quick and filling meal! My only complaint would be that they allow smoking in this restaurant and to get to the non-smoking section you have to walk through the billows of smoke. They do, however, have a nice patio out back that will get you away from it entirely which is where we ended up sitting.

So, now that I've officially made you hungry....
Bear with me, I still want to share our rejuvenating experience at the mineral baths.
Coming soon: "The Best Way to Relax in Hot Springs, NC"

Iron Horse Station
P: 1-866-402-9377
Address: 24 South Andrew Ave.
Hot Springs, NC 28743

Smokey Mountain Diner

P: (828) 622-7571
Address: 70 Lance Ave
Hot Springs, NC 28743-7702

Did you miss "Riverside Camping in the Heart of Hot Springs?" If so, click here.


  1. Hmmmm...I stopped in Hot Springs while on the Appalachian Trail, in fact took my first "day off" from the trail there...think I stayed at some place run by monks...the rest is hazy. Will have to visit again sometime, without the trail on my mind....

  2. Mmmmmmmmmmmm Scrumptious!!! Jess, if your words weren't agonising enough, your photographs are are pure torture. Oh, I just can't wait until somebody invents a laptop that allows one to smell and! Well, all I can say is that one day when I come a visitin', you and Cody are gonna have to take me to a place like this! Do we have a deal? lol!!!!

    Can't wait to read about the mineral baths! It sounds simply divine! :o)

  3. miss your posts ...looks like Hot Springs was a quaint stop for yummy food and snaps!

  4. I'll take one bacon, egg and cheese to go, please. Scrumptuous shots!


  5. I really, really want a hamburger now.

    Your pictures are fantastic! It sounds like you are having a ton of fun.

  6. yes, in tobacco country they allow smoke (more's the pity)

    gorgeous shots and I so want that burger

  7. You're terrible! You just killed meh! GAAAHH!

    *cries into soup*

  8. yes you have officially made me hungry. i will put those on a list to try and visit. that hamburger looks so delicious!

  9. OMG,... I just got up and had my o.j. and here I am drooling over your food photos. Especially that breakfast. OK,... I'm heading to the kitchen now!

  10. Hey, we were just on a portion of the AT this weekend and some of the thru hikers were talking about Hot Springs NC. Very cool to come home and read about it here! Nice new header by the way.

  11. Oh and I love those buttons in your sidebar too!

  12. Tasty. lol @ all the trucks though. Very country. :D

  13. Looks like a quaint town with some quite decent eateries. Love your food photos.
    I can't, however, imagine a spa experience after a heavy meal. So I'll stay tuned to see what it entailed!

  14. Love NC! I moved here 12 years ago from New England and would never move back! LOL


  15. there is nothing like a photo of bacon to get my stomach rumbling :)

  16. Jess, my mouth water as I see that half boiled egg dripping from the bun...!!! The verdict is, err... 2000 Kcal?

  17. good thing the two of you are the outdoorsy types. hamburgers the size of the hot springs! i want to hear about the spa treatments.

  18. I used to go to Hot Springs to the Courthouse for business 13-14 years ago. I think I was at that restaurant--town has been spruced up.
    I need to go back!