SNAPSHOT: The Gamekeeper Restaurant and Bar

Most people plan their special occasions with care, choosing the perfect location. A special night out should have great atmosphere, amazing service and superb food. If you’re in Blowing Rock, in the High Country of North Carolina, you never have to wonder where this special restaurant is. The answer is always the Gamekeeper Restaurant and Bar.

A seemingly rustic cabin but fine dining within. Photo Credit: Gamekeeper

A seemingly rustic cabin but fine dining within.
Photo Credit: Gamekeeper


A vacation to the High Country is for those with a sense of adventure. You may be thinking that down-home, southern food is the only type of dining you’ll be doing. But the Gamekeeper is the perfect combination of rustic game cuisine and fine dining. Driving up the curvy, rural road that leads to the restaurant, you may start to question what kind of fine dining experience could possibly be this far off the beaten path. But that’s just a part of the adventure!

But the real adventure at Gamekeeper is opening the menu and realizing that the name of the represents the menu choices. Game meat is the specialty and highlight.


Gamekeeper – The Vegetarian Restaurant That Wasn’t to Be

Photo Credit: Gamekeeper

Photo Credit: Gamekeeper

Ken Gordon and his wife Wendy are the ones who have made Gamekeeper a go-to location for the best of High Country cuisine. But believe it or not, Gamekeeper was not their original dream. From the day they were married, the Gordons knew they would someday open a restaurant. But their original concept was a vegetarian diner.

Then they discovered a little restaurant with an interesting name. When purchasing the property, the landlord encouraged them to keep the name, because Gamekeeper was already established in the community. But the Gordons were terrified that people would be scared of eating “game” meat, and wouldn’t come.

But keeping the name was the best thing they could have done. They became known as the place to get game. This forces them to keep game meat on the menu, and sets them apart from other restaurants.


The Menu — Crazy, Wild and Wonderful

A dish with wild boar. Photo Credit: Gamekeeper

A dish with wild boar.
Photo Credit: Gamekeeper

The meals offered at the Gamekeeper are everything you could want from a mountain vacation. Fifty percent of the menu is game meat. Meats most people have never tried, like boar, buffalo, rabbit, ostrich, emu, elk, venison and more! And all meat is either locally sourced or indigenous to the region. But you may ask, ostrich and emu, indigenous…? These are sourced from a local farm that raises these animals.

The meats are roasted in a wood fire grill that uses cherry and apple wood. This adds a distinct flavor that works perfectly with the game. They also make sure that all food is seasonably appropriate.

Photo Credit: Gamekeeper

Photo Credit: Gamekeeper

But the Gordons always return to their roots—or root vegetables, to be more precise. Their desire is to keep deliciously cooked vegetables front and center. Most restaurants serve two or three as sad little side dishes. But if you order the vegetable plate, expect to receive over 50 nuts, leaves, roots or flowers that can be foraged in season, paired perfectly with a delectable sauce.

Don’t forget to order Wendy’s Bread Pudding. Since its inception it has risen as the dish the Gamekeeper is most known for. She got so sick of making it, it was pulled from the menu for a short time. There was such a public outcry for it that it is now back permanently. Maybe the whole bottle of Jim Bean is the secret?


The Main Specialty — Fun, Laughter & A Great Time

Even though the Gamekeeper definitely operated at a high, fine dining level, when you are there it feels like one big party. The amazing servers and staff treat you like a friend, whether you are a visitor or a local. There is always lots of laughter and an amazing ambience. By the time you leave, you will feel like a member of the family, because the Gordons know that it’s less about the food and more about the people.

Wendy Gordon with a diner. Photo Credit: Gamekeeper

Wendy Gordon with a diner.
Photo Credit: Gamekeeper


Some Things to Look Forward to…

•Every Friday in May: enjoy $5 glasses of wine.

•May 16–22: Blowing Rock Restaurant Week 2016

•June 8: 16th Annual Wine & Beer Auction (this supports the Blue Ridge Conservancy which seeks to maintain the beautiful mountain region)

Gamekeeper Catering, make your event unforgettable



Contact Information

The Gamekeeper Restaurant and Bar

3005 Shull’s Mill Road, Blowing Rock, NC







CLICK HERE to read more SNAPSHOTS of other local businesses.



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