New operator and opening date set for The Bluffs Restaurant on Blue Ridge Parkway

LAUREL SPRINGS, NC (April 13, 2021) -– The Bluffs Restaurant at Doughton Park will reopen on Thursday, May 27, with a new team managing operations. Heritage Dining and Events, LLC, led by Sharon Pinney and Chef John Gamradt of Boone, N.C., brings a combined 35 years of experience in the food service industry to the historical restaurant at milepost 241 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

“Heritage is honored and excited to be a part of bringing The Bluffs, a cherished iconic restaurant, back to life,” said Pinney, President of Heritage Dining and Events.

The restaurant will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. The menu will feature traditional Southern fare with a fresh and savory, modern approach. The Bluffs classics such as sweet potato pancakes and Southern-style fried chicken will be available daily. Delicious dinner specials prepared by Gamradt will establish The Bluffs as a culinary destination.

In 1949, The Bluffs became the first dining establishment to open on the Parkway. The former coffee shop welcomed generations of diners before closing in 2010. Last year, the stone and timber building underwent extensive renovations. Today, The Bluffs appears just as many remember it, with green and white checkerboard floors, a retro lunch counter with stools, and the original light fixtures.

“Love for The Bluffs experience is what made the transformation of this landmark possible,” said Carolyn Ward, CEO of the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. “It’s a place that holds so many happy memories, and now it can provide so many more for longtime fans and first-time visitors.”

Individual donors, the State of North Carolina, and the Appalachian Regional Commission contributed nearly $1 million to the rehabilitation project through the Foundation. The repairs and upgrades included a new electrical system, reconstructed lunch counter, ADA-compliant restrooms, a complete kitchen equipment update, and more.

Heritage Dining and Events will operate the historical restaurant under an agreement with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation. The nonprofit holds a historic lease for the National Park Service facility and will be responsible for ongoing maintenance and improvements. The National Park Service has the authority to lease historic buildings and other structures through public-private partnerships to help preserve and maintain the NPS’s historical assets for future generations to use and enjoy.

To book reservations, call (336) 372-7875. For directions and additional information, visit