Gatlinburg is the ideal mountain town, with plenty to do for every age and every type of traveler. From hiking the gorgeous mountains to exploring the charming village, it promises never-ending fun. Regardless of how you explore though, you also have to eat!
These 21 delightful eateries serve everything from the perfect stack of pancakes to mouth-watering, hand-cut steaks. Take in Gatlinburg’s tried-and-true establishments, the newest restaurants in town, and the perfect prescriptions for your sugar cravings.
Iconic Gatlinburg Eateries
Log Cabin Pancake House. Log Cabin has been piling pancakes high for families for over 40 years. Breakfast options don’t stop there, though…try crepes, French toast, omelets, lunch specials, and more. Most likely you’ll encounter a line, but don’t fret. They serve the food quickly here, and you’ll be seated in a flash. On my wish list for our next visit: the wild blueberry stack.
The Pancake Pantry. Tennessee’s first pancake house was Pancake Pantry, back in 1960…so we made it our first pancakes stop, as well. I loved the Swedish Pancakes with a side of bacon…I could have licked the plate clean. The boys ate every drop of their “Bear in the Sky” pancakes – bear-shaped pancakes with candy buttons and whipped-cream “clouds!”
Crockett’s Breakfast Camp. The Davy Crocket served in the Tennessee Calvary in the 1860s, and this breakfast stop honors his memory with unique and filling options. Try the corned beef hash, fried cinnamon rolls, or a breakfast scrambler. We loved the menu that reads like a newspaper, with stories of the real Crocket character and other logging legends.
Peddler Steakhouse. This steakhouse not only boasts great hand cut steaks, but its building’s story is great, as well. It was once the home of a 4th generation Gatlinburg merchant whose great grandfather established the first Gatlinburg grocery store in 1850! Pick from steaks, seafood, chicken…and a hearty salad bar. They don’t take reservations, but you can call ahead to get your name on the wait list.
The Park Grill Restaurant. The Park Grill is owned by the same person that owns Peddler, and it’s situated just a hair from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We love this because, after a day of hiking and exploring, nothing beats a juicy burger or New York Strip. Expect the same great salad bar and call-ahead option. My oldest tried steak here for the first time ever, and loved it!
Calhoun’s. Soon after they opened in 1983 the owners headed to Ohio for a championship, bringing home the title of “Best Ribs in America.” The recipe is just as amazing today. Heading out for a hiking trip or back to your cabin? Try the “Family Pack” and grab it on a Wednesday, which is when the brisket is available.
Smoky Mountain Trout House. It’s no-frills here, just delicious trout. Whatever you do, don’t miss the trout fritters. Yum! You know it’s going to be great seafood when the bread appy is hushpuppies! A line can form and they don’t take reservations, so come early.
Alamo Steakhouse. Another nod to Davy Crockett, the Alamo recognizes that the “Volunteer State” sent nearly 2,000 soldiers to the Mexican American War. Enjoy aged, hand-cut steaks cooked over an oak fire. They also grind their own hamburgers for amazing flavor. Check their website for a 15% coupon for lunch or early dinner.
Smoky Mountain Brewery. OK, sure. It’s a brewery. But they also have a full menu with burgers, pizzas, salads and wings. You can taste their enticing brews with a beer sampler while the kids sip on some fun non-alcoholic lemonades.
Best Italian Restaurant. If you’re looking for NY-style Italian, this is it! I had the stuffed shells with a salad – so good. The kids’ menu works well also. The boys enjoyed pasta with marinara and a pepperoni pizza… offering two sets of thumbs up. Oh – and those garlic rolls. WOW!
Howard’s Steakhouse. Honestly, this was one of my favorite meals in Gatlinburg! It’s not a “fancy” steakhouse, but they’ve been doing it right since 1946. Based on a recommendation, hubs and I did the steak special for two — two steaks, 4 sides, 2 salads…all under $60! I had the filet mignon, baked potato, broccoli and house salad…so so so good! Oh, and a whiskey flight, too! The kids meal was choice – the boys gobbled down their burgers. The music was great, the staff was friendly…we really enjoyed it here.
New On The Gatlinburg Food Scene
Mama’s Chicken Kitchen. Who doesn’t love a bucket of fried chicken like mama used to make? Grab a plate with green beans, slaw, dumplins, creamed corn and more…or pick up a bucket for the ideal Smoky Mountain Park picnic. Wings, salads, and kiddo options are also available. Mana’s and J.O.E are next to each other as you head toward the Arts District.
J.O.E. and Pop’s Sub Shoppe. This place is part of the same group as Mama’s and Alamo. Subs, salads and sandwiches are the main characters here. The sides will blow your mind, too….mashed potatoes, baked beans, mac and cheese, and more. I cannot wait to try the Reuben. The Boxed Lunches for kids or adults include a sandwich, water, chips and a cookie…a great deal for a day of hiking.
The LandShark Bar & Grill. You might know Landmark as part of the Margaritaville collection of resorts and eateries. The colors are bright and the music is cheery. Try salads, sandwiches, burgers, and more. The “Little Sharks” menu is plentiful, as well. Don’t miss a frozen adult beverage at this “beachy vibe” in the mountains.
Ole Red. It doesn’t open until March 2019, but with so much excitement around it, we had to mention it here. Blake Shelton and Ryman Properties (you know, the Grand Ole Opry folks) are opening their third establishment here. Imagine a two-story bar and restaurant with a dance floor and performance space! Expect BBQ, burgers, chicken & waffles, and other Nashville favorites.
Cliff Top Grill & Bar* Anakeesta is a beloved 55+ acres of natural family fun in Gatlinburg, and Cliff Top is their newest eatery, located in Firefly Village. Take the Chondola up for indoor or outdoor seating high in the mountains, with delicious burgers and sandwiches. Kiddos are welcome, with a menu that includes a Moon Pie and drink for only $6. Your ticket is good for the day, so we recommend coming back for dinner and staying for a cocktail and the sunset, with gorgeous views.
Pearl’s Pie in the Sky* Also at Anakeesta, Pearl’s is a 50’s style gem offering homemade pies and scoops of your favorite ice cream flavors. Don’t let the name fool you; they serve more Bluebell that anyone in Eastern Tennessee.
The Summit Smokehouse* Don’t miss the food truck with tasty BBQ treats like the Pork Belly Buster or Hickory Smoked Wings. They smoke the meat right next to the truck – and we loved eating at the picnic tables with sensational views.
- *These restaurants require admission to Anakeesta. If you want to check out more than one eatery, we recommend an annual pass. It pays for itself in two visits.
Off The Beaten Path
Have you heard of Gatlinburg’s Arts and Crafts Community? It’s on an 8-mile loop just outside of the main drag, and it is wonderful! There are several restaurants along the loop, perfect for taking a breather as you explore.
DeLauder’s BBQ. Yelp’s Top 100 places to eat, plus Travel + Leisure’s Top BBQ two years in a row. This is the restaurant you don’t want to miss. And please, for the love of BBQ, don’t do what we did and miss out. They open at 12:30 (closed Mon/Tue) and feed folks until they run out. On the weekend they could stay open until 7pm if they have the inventory, but they were out around 5pm when we went to visit. I was so disappointed…learn from my mistake!
Split Rail Eats. They offer breakfast, lunch and dinner options (and boy, did those bfast options look delicious.) We stopped in for lunch…the aroma drove us in. Yum! They have a series of Tater Bowls that looked outstanding – flavorful fixings atop a pile of tater tots. The sandwiches looked great, too, but we opted salads. Dan loved the Split Rail Chicken Salad and I devoured the chicken Caesar. The boys picked burgers, with a cupcake side (their treats are so sweet!)
The Wild Plum Tea Room. This sweet lunch spot is an old-world-style teahouse serving tea, sandwiches & muffins. It’s not exactly a spot I felt comfortable bringing my rowdy guys, but I did insist we drive by. It looked like a special spot. If youcan visit, be sure to make reservations for this Austrian Alps-style dining experience.
Glades Soda Shop. Ask the boys about what their favorite restaurant was, and Glades is what they’ll tell you. After lunch we bellied up to the bar for old-fashioned malts, floats and such. We all opted for rootbeer floats, and the boys loved seeing the 1940’s style soda jerk work his magic.
Sweets & Treats
Heavenly Delights. Cheesecakes, macarons, and cupcakes – Oh My! Grab the chicken salad croissant for lunch, and pizza for the kids, then treat everyone to something delicious from the bakery.
Donut Friar. While you’re shopping The Village, be sure to grab a snack at Donut Friar. Enjoy handmade donuts, or cinnamon bread with a delicious iced latte. Come early for the best selections, and be sure to bring you Washingtons- they only take cash.
Maddogs Creamery & Donuts. Enjoy ice cream, donuts, milkshakes, and banana spits! The donut flavors are creative, like red velvet with cream cheese icing or devil’s food cake with peanut butter icing. Pair that with one of the 24 ice cream flavors for the perfect snack.
Fannie Farkle’s. Famous for their “fair-like” corn dogs and cheesesteaks, there are plenty of fun lunch options. For a sweet tooth add on a Hawaiian shaved ice! The kids will love the arcade.
Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen. They’ve been making fudge and salt water taffy here since 1950! Buy it by the piece or the pound. I can’t wait to try a red candy apple on our next visit. Kids will love seeing the candy demonstrations, too.
Crust and Crumb Bakery. Ready for a delicious Italian bakery? Sample the savory bagels and breads like zucchini bread or pull apart rolls; or go sweet with cakes, pies or pastries. Everything is always fresh (day-olds are donated to local charities.)
Kilwin’s. Copper kettles and wooden paddles create traditional Michiganite Mackinac Island fudge, and you’ll be craving the caramel apples. Another can’t-miss is the maple ice cream in a waffle cone!
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Disclosure: We love this charming town, and we’re shouting it from the mountains. This post was created in conjunction with Galtinburg, TN. Opinions here are all our own – always.
After 18 years in software development, Lesli bailed on the corporate scene. When she’s not traveling, she’s hiking in the mountains or checking out Atlanta’s culinary scene, whiskey in hand.
Lesli has two kiddos -Cooper and Elliot- plus two bonus kids currently at UGA, and she’s happily married to her soul mate.