Whether you’re in the early stages of the planning process or your big day is almost here, it’s a great time to explore the variety of dining options available in the area.  While you may already have selected your reception dinner caterer, and Lakeside 54 is a top-notch, convenient option for those staying at Bear Lake Reserve, why not venture out and get a full taste of the town? Destinations call for some exploration after all, and the nearby town of Sylva offers plenty of opportunities to do just that! Here are a few places you should stop by while you’re here.


Named after Chef Santiago’s grandmother, Ilda offers an authentic Italian-Applachian inspired menu complete with a unique selection of cocktails and wines. Husband and wife team Chef Santiago Guzzetti and Sommelier Crystal Pace combined their passion for cooking and inspiration from their Italian and Appalachian family heritage to make Ilda a truly special passion project. The love they pour into each dish shows, making it a wonderful place to enjoy a meal with friends and family during a wedding weekend. You can check out their menu and more at www.ildainsylva.com. (I’ve had Karen’s Meatballs recommended to me numerous times!)

The Wine Bar & Cellar 

The Wine Bar & Cellar is Ilda’s sister location, brought to us by Chef Santiago and his impressive knowledge of wine. A relaxing and classy environment, an extensive wine selection, and great food such as Ilda’s meatball sub combine to make The Wine Bar & Cellar a peaceful spot to chat with friends, family, and locals. You may even consider adding a group wine tasting to your activity list while you’re here. Visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheWineBarAndCellar and drop them a like!

Library Kitchen & Bar

When our preferred catering partner Chef Johannes Klapdohr isn’t creating feasts for the senses at Castle Ladyhawke, he’s creating feasts for the senses at Library Kitchen & Bar. Co-Owners and artists Marvin and Helene Gralnick purchased the original Library Restaurant in 2009, waiting for the right opportunity to create something special before meeting Chef Johannes and renovating the property in 2016. The result is a truly remarkable dining experience that combines the thought-provoking art of the Gralnicks and thoughtfully crafted meals made with the freshest ingredients from Chef Johannes. The menus are seasonally crafted, too, making each experience truly unique and tailored. So if you want a preview of the culinary excellence you’ll be experiencing on wedding night, I don’t blame you! Make reservations, find directions, view seasonal menus, and more at www.librarykitchenandbar.com.


A recent addition to Sylva’s impressive selection of restaurants, Jame opened in July and brought a unique, Mediterranean inspired flavor with it. Their menu has a little something for everyone, including a variety of vegetarian and vegan options. They also have a neighboring market that offers “a little bit of everything”, so you can grab something for the road! However, the market will soon give way to another exciting addition. I had the chance to speak to Don, one of the owners of Jame, and he gave me some inside information about their plans for a juice bar. Taking over the space the market currently occupies, they plan to offer a selection of “cold pressed juices and smoothies”. While they haven’t finalized an opening date, they plan on doing weekend “pop ups” in the near future and hope to open “before the end of 2021”. Give them a visit at www.facebook.com/jamesylva to keep up to date on their hours, menu, and the future of the market/juice bar!

If there’s one thing that truly stuck out to me about each of these unique spots, it’s the passion and love that each of them pours into what they do. Their food and drinks are their art which they thoughtfully share with everyone who visits. Meals made special for you as you celebrate “I do”…

… that’s amore!