In 1949, The Bluffs became the first dining establishment to open on the Blue Ridge Parkway. For 61 years, locals and Blue Ridge Parkway travelers flocked to the restaurant at Doughton Park for fried chicken, sweet potato pancakes, ham biscuits, berry cobblers, and more.
Friendly service brought diners back time and time again. Many folks will remember waitress Ellen Smith, who worked at the restaurant for decades. One patron fondly remembers how Miss Ellen always pulled up a high chair for her teddy bear on each Sunday visit.
Sadly, the restaurant closed on November 1, 2010, after a new concessionaire did not step forward to operate the National Park Service property. Over the years, the building fell into disrepair, and it began to look like The Bluffs might not welcome diners ever again.
Bringing back The Bluffs
Loyal patrons didn’t forget about The Bluffs. After numerous requests to take on the project, the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation began raising funds in 2016 to repair and restore the restaurant. Thanks to support from individuals, the State of North Carolina, and the Appalachian Regional Commission, the restaurant has undergone a transformation, including a new roof and kitchen equipment, a freshly painted interior, an ADA-compliant restroom, and a rebuilt dining counter.
The team has worked diligently to keep the original charm of the former coffee shop by restoring the existing features, such as painstakingly cleaning and polishing the period light fixtures. All of the design choices work to capture the charm of the original interior, while bringing the 1949 facility into the new millennium.
We hope you enjoy making memories with family and friends at The Bluffs once again.
What we value most about Bluffs is its historical authenticity and the dedicated people who've built up its friendly reputation since the beginning.