Pimento cheese croissants at The Table. Photo courtesy NC Visitors Bureau The Table_Pimento Cheese Croissant_Credit Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau
Pimento cheese croissants at The Table. Photo courtesy NC Visitors Bureau

Downtown Asheboro’s bakeries, tea shops, and restaurants are buzzing with culinary delights.

For many, traveling to the heart of North Carolina means only seeing the elephants and polar bears at the North Carolina Zoo. Skipping Asheboro’s charming and walkable downtown is a mistake: You’ll miss out on the locally-owned restaurants and shops, many in repurposed historic buildings from the early 20th century. Whatever you do, you’ll want to make dining in Asheboro’s most charming downtown restaurants and cafes a part of your day.

On Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Asheboro becomes a Zoo City Social District from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Stroll through designated outdoor areas downtown with an alcoholic beverage purchased from participating businesses. Find the mural of a locomotive in the center of town to create a memorable pose.

Whether before or after seeing the lions and bears, enjoy Asheboro’s culinary side, starting with this list of what downtown Asheboro has to offer. [Correction: This post originally said there are tigers at the NC Zoo. There are not. We regret the error.]

Sunset Avenue in downtown Asheboro. Photo courtesy of Heart of North Carolina Visitors Bureau.

Black Lantern Tea Room & Bakery

137 Sunset Ave.

Pair homemade pastries—black and white cookies, macarons, pecan pie bars—with coffee, proprietary tea blends, and seasonal beverages. Add quiche, sandwiches, and salads for lunch or dinner. 

Bold Coffee Co. 

103 N Fayetteville St.

Wake up with coffee roasted by Three Ships Coffee Roasters in Virginia Beach. Positive signs, like “Do Good Recklessly,” hanging throughout the shop set the tone for your day. 

The Bun Hut

132 Sunset Ave.

Chef Ray uses his Bahamian roots and experience in Asia to create dishes such as spicy coconut curry chicken with sweet plantains empanadas and island coconut shrimp in a Caribbean-infused bao. 

Carriage House Tea

170 Worth St.

Meet Lady Mary when you stop for tea in this historic house built in 1917. She small batch blends the loose-leaf teas and hand packs them into tins. She offers tea, cider, and cocoa at the tea bar. Wander to the back of the shop for local art and folk crafts in Brightside Gallery. 

Central Bakery, Inc.

122 N. Church St.

Check out Central Bakery’s Facebook page to see which flavors of cake slices are available that day. Will it be Hershey Bar, pineapple upside down, strawberry nut, or pumpkin spice today? Open since 1945, all the pastries, donuts, cookies, pies, and brownies are made on-site. 

The Flying Pig Food and Spirits

208 Sunset Ave.

Please the whole group with a visit to The Flying Pig. Its varied menu includes chicken tenders, chili, fried pickles, salads, soups, and hand-tossed pizzas. 

Magnolia 23

23 S. Fayetteville St.

Magnolia 23 founder Don Simmons. Photo courtesy Heart of NC Tourism

Chicken and dumplings, beef stew and pork chops with a side of mashed potatoes will knock your Southern socks off at this family-run restaurant. Don’t leave without dessert: fried apple pie, pumpkin spice cake, and persimmon pudding, and choices change daily. 

Nanny Mae’s Cafe

108 Sunset Ave.

Image courtesy of Nanny Mae’s Cafe

Macarons, pretzels, pies, and cinnamon rolls fill the shelves of this shop. Everything is homemade each morning, including the candied jalapeno pimento cheese in danishes and as a dip for pretzels. A full-service coffee program and seasonal teas, sourced from Carriage House Tea, are offered. Coffee flights with four options are available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. 

Scoops By Mink 

113 North St.

Inside Minkology, a home goods store, find homemade ice cream from Homeland Creamery, a seventh-generation family-owned farm in Julian, North Carolina. 

The Table

139 S. Church St.

Image via Manor House Graphics

Arrive early for breakfast and lunch to get an indoor or patio seat at The Table. Saturday’s brunch menu features a ham and fig toastie, a cornbread waffle with pulled pork and apples, and a vegetable herbed chevre omelet. Order the pimento cheese croissant for the drive home. 

The Taco Loco

138 Sunset Ave.

Customers rave about authentic Mexican food and excellent service at this corner restaurant in downtown Asheboro. Enchiladas, nachos, tacos, and quesabirria make the menu, always written on the back wall. Enjoy a craft cocktail with your meal. Watch social media to see when the mariachi band is playing.