#40 of 31 Boone Restaurants

Local Lion

The Local Lion Espresso Bar and Homemade Doughnuts
Written by: Jasmin Diaz
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

When visiting the Boone area of North Carolina, make sure you stop in and check out the quaint eatery the Local Lion. This unique establishment is one of the best at what they do, offering guests an espresso bar and homemade doughnuts daily. 

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

The family-owned and operated business The Local Lion in Blowing Rock Road in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains is owned by Boone native Josiah Davis, his wife Meredith, and their family. The homemade doughnuts which are a specialty of the establishment and a guest favorite were made possible thanks to the extensive training generously given by Tim and Crystal Dekker of Smoky Mountain Bakery. The couple trained The Local Lion owners on how to make doughnuts the old-fashioned way from scratch using methods they continue to use to this day.

The unique name, Local Lion, was derived from an inspirational camping trip to Snake Mountain. While the family was camping, Josiah stepped away to gather some firewood. Before his return, a mountain lion passed the campsite, coming down the same pathway that Josiah would later travel. Interestingly enough, Josiah never saw the lion, but his family likes to say he was following the path of the mountain lion. Later when contemplating what to call their eatery, the family recalled this experience and thought the name Local Lion would effectively capture a piece of the High Country, thus the name was born.

The essence of a mountain lion and this establishment are intertwined in more ways than just the name alone. The family also feels that their eatery is rare and at the top of the food chain so to speak, just like the mountain lion. Mountain lions also frequent peaks and the Local Lion feels they too are at the peak with regards to coffee freshness and quality.

The overarching mission of the Local Lion is to change the way guests think about coffee. Instead of a drink gulped down first thing in the morning merely for the caffeine, they want to offer a drink that wakes up the taste buds and widens one’s horizons. They also support local coffee farmers who incorporate organic growing practices to create the best product possible.

When visiting the Local Lion, guests note the availability of indoor and outdoor seating, along with a drive-thru. The decor inside is delightful and there is even a shop you can explore that features all sorts of items including coffee, mugs, and more. They also offer a good WiFi connection which makes this locale a great place to hang out, enjoy some coffee and pastries and get some work done.

The Local Lion offers several options when it comes to their homemade goodies, including homemade doughnuts, glazes, custard fillings, and jams that are made fresh daily. It is also a great way to obtain espresso drinks via a drive-thru in Boone. Guests rave about their delicious treats and the excellent quality of their drinks and note their fast, friendly service as great assets of the Local Lion.

When stopping in at the Local Lion, in addition to walking through the in-house store, make sure to try some of the following noted guest favorites:

Fresh Roasted Coffee
All Local Lion Coffee is roasted daily via the small batch roaster in-house. You can grab a bag to take home with you or opt for the pour-over coffee. All day long, Local Lion is brewing coffee, so any time of day is a good time to visit.

Coffee & Espresso
The Local Lion espresso is handcrafted by experienced and knowledgeable baristas. There are a wide variety of drinks to choose from including everything from lattes to espressos and more. All flavors are made in-house.

There is more available to enjoy drink-wise at the Local Lion than coffee options alone. You can also opt for their tea, which includes a variety of options from across the globe. Whether your preference is decaf green or traditional English tea, the Local Lion has you covered.

Cold Drinks
The Local Lion also offers cold drinks that are brewed daily. You can choose from all-natural smoothies or cold coffee brews. They also offer cold brew on nitro drafts.

Homemade Doughnuts
Though the Local Lion offers a variety of pastries, the homemade doughnuts are worth mentioning as they specialize in making the dough, jam, custards, and glazes that come with the signature doughnuts all from scratch daily.

Insider Tips:
-Throughout the summer the Local Lion utilizes fresh fruits to make their berry glazes and jelly fillings. This means there are no hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup added to their doughnuts.
-Doughnuts are prepared and cooked fresh all day long. This means even late arrivals can still enjoy a warm, freshly baked treat.
-Guests note another favorite treat offered at Local Lion is their delicious cinnamon rolls.