Best Cellar Review
Right downtown Blowing Rock on Sunset near Main, if you’re looking for haute cuisine in an exquisite setting, you’ve found your spot! Set at the Inn at the Ragged Gardens, this restaurant is perched in the middle of some of the loveliest gardens you’ll ever see. Walk about these blooming flowers with drink in hand before dinner or stroll with coffee afterward to enjoy the beauty of nature. And wherever you sit during dinner you’ll enjoy the gorgeous views of these wonderful grounds. The home itself is an attractive, turn-of-the century, arts and crafts-style landmark in Blowing Rock and you’ll love simply sitting inside its elegant space. Everywhere you look it’s rock and chestnut.
Rob Dyer and Lisa Stipling and the current owners and have operated it now for seven years. Many visitors and locals frequented this establishment when it was located off of Hwy 321 in its old location before the fire. Rob and Lisa continue the age old tradition at Ragged Gardens. Their philosophy is “mountain casual” – great food in a great atmosphere of total relaxation. You’ll love the intimacy of the setting where they can sit from three to ten tables depending upon demand. In nice weather there are another five tables on the deck for dining al fresco.
In the summer time you’ll love their “music on the lawn” which runs from May to October, Friday nights from 5 – 8 PM.
Their Executive Chef is Josh Emerlon and he is a true success story. Josh is considered “part of the family.” He began 12-13 years ago as a dishwasher, moving to prepping helper then grill chef, sous-chef and finally in 2006 Executive Chef. He loves to talk about their signature dishes and you can tell he’s proud of their flavor as well as presentation. He describes their cuisine as “American Casual.” Some of his favorites are their New Zealend Seasonal Rack of Lamb, Fully Double-Cut Chops – (grilled to your liking), Halibut, Seared, Asian, Marinated Tuna, Bison Steak and Scallops. For dessert he feels you’ll want to sample their renowned banana cream pie, crème brûlée not to mention chocolate Kahlua coffee cake or apple caramel pie with ice cream! He loves to talk about presentation and says he wants you to remember for a long time how enticing your selection looked when it arrived at your table.
Their success they attribute to being established as a family restaurant in Blowing Rock for thirty years. They consider that their history and ambiance account for their popularity. And they’ve respected the traditions, atmosphere and established by Ira and Lannie when they owned it years ago and have dedicated themselves to maintaining that tradition. They’re dedicated to keeping service exemplary, food top-notch and to reward their returning patrons with new delights continually. They encourage their staff to enjoy their work by expanding their creativity both in kitchen and at table.
When asked why to choose The Best Cellar they say, “You’re sure to have a tremendous experience and enjoy a wonderful mean surrounded by gorgeous gardens in an elegant home and catered to by a smiling staff.”
They’ve had numerous celebrities and world leaders dine with them including fairly recently the Speaker of the House.
Missy Watson is the manager and she speaks affectionately of all The Best Cellar means to her. She expresses that it’s been an institution for thirty years in Blowing Rock and of the proud tradition that Ira and Lannie fostered in it for sixteen years with many repeat patrons. She says it’s their ambition to continue that fond tradition now at their newer location downtown Blowing Rock of entertaining their patrons in the stellar ambiance of the Inn at Ragged Gardens. They continue their renowned wine cellar offerings ranging from $30 – $300/bottle.
As you may gather from the name – The Best Cellar – this is the place for oenophiles. Here they take their wine quite seriously. Their vertical wine selection will satisfy even the most demanding taste. Reds and whites from around the world and domestic selections await your entertainment.
And it’s appropriate that complimenting their world-class wine cellar they offer a cornucopia of fine cuisine. They do so by using the freshest ingredients, involving quality local purveyors of produce, seafood and meat. But they don’t want anyone intimidated – they say that there’s something here for everyone.
Specialty traditions have turned the test of time such as their “Best Cellar Tuna”, their enormous scallops, and what dinner would be complete without their regionally renowned banana cream pie! This fine-dining establishment is sure to titillate your culinary sensibilities. Beyond the extraordinary cuisine you will truly enjoy the remarkable environs and lovely surrounding grounds. Come to the Best Cellar and enjoy a meal of memories!