If you’re the type to try local cafes before chain restaurants, these four unique places to eat in Gatlinburg will appeal to you. Off the beaten path and infused with southern hospitality and charm, visitors savor eating at these restaurants because the service is good, food excellent and atmosphere picturesque. Stop in for a meal any time of day to be rewarded with some of the best flavors this side of the Mississippi.
1) Pancake Pantry
628 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
You’ll notice a lot of pancakes house lining the Parkway’s of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. Most are pretty good, but only one takes the cake: Pancake Pantry. Operating since 1960, the Pancake Pantry started the pancake craze in the Smokies and continues to be a tradition for breakfast-goers. The massive pancakes, made from scratch and served with real butter and fresh whipped cream, fill up the hungriest-of-hungry visitors. Choose classic buttermilk pancakes or try a pancake combination unique to the Pancake Pantry like pecan pancakes; orange-walnut pancakes; wild blueberry pancakes; and banana pineapple triumph pancakes.
2) Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant
220 Apple Valley Road, Sevierville, TN 37862
The postcard-perfect setting of the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant makes it a favorite for both locals and visitors. White and green rocking chairs on the front porch and a brook cascading nearby add to the down-home feel and makes it one of the most unique places to eat in Gatlinburg. Of course, the real reason people rave about Applewood is the southern cooking. Dinners are served with signature apple fritters, homemade apple butter, Applewood Julep, and homemade farmhouse soup. Some of the most popular orders include their famous fried chicken, old-fashioned chicken dumplings and country meatloaf.
3) Smokin’ Joes Bar-B-Que
7753 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Townsend, TN 37882
This local, family-owned barbecue joint serves the tastiest ‘cue in town. Slow-cooked over an open pit, the meat has a succulently smoked flavor that melts in your mouth. The ribs are raved about, as they fall off the bone, and the giant pork sandwich is a go-to order for many locals. Add a side of coleslaw, fresh fried green tomatoes, corn nuggets, or baked beans for a full meal. You’ll need a drink to wash it all down with, so order some sweet tea, served in a mason jar, for a true taste of the south.
4) The Restaurant at Buckhorn Inn
2140 Tudor Mountain Road, Gatlinburg TN, 37738
Most people overlook this gem as they think meals are served only to people staying there. Not true! Book a reservation for dinner and enjoy unique culinary concoctions. The rustic lodge has sweeping views of the mountains, making your meal even more memorable. Regional cuisine with a twist is the signature of The Restaurant at Buckhorn Inn, which serves a four-course feast each night at 7pm. The menu changes frequently, but some dinner favorites include Pecan-Crusted Smoky Mountain Trout and Grilled Pork Chop with Peach Chutney.
5) Wild Plum Tea Room
555 Buckhorn Road, Gatlinburg TN 37738
The Wild Plum Tea Room, with a location at the Great Smoky Arts & Crafts Community, is one of the most unique places to eat in Gatlinburg for several reasons. First, it is inspired by Austrian tea houses and decorated with charming, mismatched decor. Second, it’s natural setting in the woods creates a natural ambiance that visitors and locals alike love. Thirdly, fare is made fresh daily with seasonal ingredients. To top it off, the Tea Room’s outdoor patio garden is pet-friendly so if you feel free to bring Fido with you to lunch. The menu changes daily, but you can always have a cup of wild plum tea, which I highly recommend!
6) Crockett’s Breakfast Camp
1103 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Gatlinburg is famous for its pancake houses. However, Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is putting a new spin on breakfast in Gatlinburg. The frontier-style restaurant is named after David C. “Crockett” Maples, who served as a private and corporal in Company H, Ninth Tennessee Cavalry, from October 1, 1863, to June 8, 1865. With an interior formed from rough-hewed logs and walls lined with cast iron skillets and sepia-toned pictures, the camp feel of the restaurant is real. However, the real draw is the absolutely delicious food on the menu. Favorites include the giant, ooey-gooey cinnamon rolls, fresh-squeezed strawberry orange juice, the Cathead Stacker and the Black Bear Camp Skillet.
7) Peddler Steakhouse
820 River Rd, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
One of the most unique places to eat in Gatlinburg is the Peddler Steakhouse. This restaurant was originally a rustic pioneer cabin built by one of the Smokies first families – The Ogles. It has since been transformed into the popular Peddler Steakhouse, although you can still see the facade of the home in the front dining room. On top of that, the restaurant has beautiful views of the Little Pigeon River. However, these seats are very popular so a reservation is highly recommended. When you dine here, your best bet is to order one of their signature steaks. You get to hand-select your meats, which are then grilled over real Tennessee hickory charcoal. Save room for dessert, though, as their blackberry cobbler is legendary!
8) Crystelle Creek Restaurant & Grill
1654 East Pkwy, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
Another option for the most unique places to eat in Gatlinburg is Crystelle Creek Restaurant & Grill. The atmosphere, which features a cascading creek, koi pond, and 150-feet tree with twinkling lights, is unlike any other restaurant in Gatlinburg. In addition, the restaurant offers live music nightly. Plus, the menu has enough variety to please everyone with seafood, Italian, barbeque and steak all available to order.
Where Will You Dine?
At these unique places to eat in Gatlinburg, you’re guaranteed a memorable, satisfying meal, whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner.