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A Slice of Hometown

By Jeff Eason (

Article Published: Jul. 3, 2013 | Modified: Jul. 3, 2013
A Slice of Hometown

The Town Tavern has opened a second High Country location, this one in downtown Blowing Rock in the old Tijuana Fats building.

Photo by Jeff Eason

For more than two decades, Tijuana Fats in downtown Blowing Rock was a popular watering hole and gathering place for both tourists and locals.

Justin Davis and Chris Spillman, owners of The Town Tavern in Boone, are trying to rekindle that “hometown” feel with their new Blowing Rock location at the former site of Tijuana Fats, Glidewell’s and, most recently, MK’s Southern Cooking.

“We want the restaurant and bar to have a hometown feel to it — a place for the people who work in Blowing Rock, families, college students and the town’s summer residents,” Davis said. “That’s why it’s called ‘The Town Tavern.’ We want to be a part of this town.”

The first thing people notice when they enter the new restaurant is the massive remodeling job that has been undertaken by the new owners. Walls that used to sit on either side of the building’s original fireplace have been knocked down, making the fireplace the centerpiece of a much larger dining room. The bar, which used to be in front of the building’s front window, has been moved to the other side of the bar area, allowing diners to enjoy those windows.

The back dining room of the building has been refitted with one large table that can accommodate as many as 12 diners, perfect for large get-togethers and meetings.

“We had a soft opening on Sunday night, with a great turnout,” Davis said. “It was packed. We got some great feedback on the food, service, layout and the construction. Everybody seems to love what we’ve done with the place.

“We didn’t want to miss the beginning of the summer season, but we also wanted spend a lot of time on remodeling. This place has a history and a reputation. We wanted to build on that, yet have people forget what it was before.”

The Town Tavern will be a natural fit for sports fans. With 18 flat-screen TVs, you’ll never miss a first down, strike out or three-pointer from virtually any seat in the house.

The new Town Tavern in Blowing Rock has a menu similar to the original Town Tavern in Boone. Salads include small dinner salads and large specialty salads (blackened shrimp salad, buffalo chicken salad and teriyaki chicken salad).

The appetizer menu includes Southern-style fried pickles, onion petals, jalapeño poppers, seasoned tater tots, fries, chili cheese fries, potato skins, macaroni cheese bites and chips and salsa, among others.

Wing lovers will find a wide variety of flavors, including mild, medium, hot, barbecue, Thai red chili, smoky honey mustard, teriyaki, Sriracha Asian fire, habanero, mango habanero, Jamaica jerk and house dry rub.

Entrees, available at lunch and dinner, include pub style fish and chips, Philly cheese-steaks, quesadillas, loaded nachos, half-pound Angus burgers, panini wraps and specialty sandwiches.
The kids’ menu includes chicken tenders, mozzarella sticks, mini corn pups, corn dogs, grilled cheese and the junior cheese nacho plate.

The Town Tavern has all ABC permits and serves liquor by the drink, bottle and draft beers, wine, soft drinks (Coca-Cola products), Luzianne iced tea, Colombian coffee, Red Bull and a number of juices (orange, cranberry, grapefruit and pineapple).

The bar features a dozen domestic bottles of beer, more than 20 imported and craft bottles and 10 draft beer selections.

The Town Tavern has already made an economic impact in town, hiring 35 full time waitresses, bartenders, cooks and other restaurant positions.

“We’re really excited to be here for the locals and the tourists,” Davis said. “We think this is a place where everybody will feel at home.”

The Blowing Rock Town Tavern is located at 1182 Main St. in downtown Blowing Rock.

Eat Beat

Got restaurant or dining news? Contact editor Frank Ruggiero at (828) 264-6397, x. 244, or (

Additional Images

The Town Tavern has opened a second High Country location, this one in downtown Blowing Rock in the old Tijuana Fats building.
Photo by Jeff Eason

The outdoor deck at the new Town Tavern in Blowing Rock offers prime seating for al fresco diners.
Photo by Jeff Eason

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