What Foods Gatlinburg
& Pigeon Forge are Known For and Where to Get Them
What Regional Foods are Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge Famous For?
This region on the Tennessee side of the Smoky Mountains was originally inhabited by Cherokee hunters, and later settled by Europeans many of Irish, German, Scottish, French and English origins. They brought some traditions with them and lived off the land and its precious resources of the Blue Ridge section of the Appalachian Mountains, forests and streams.
Some of the foods and local specialties of the the popular, mountain city trio of
Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville area is known for, are:
fresh rainbow trout
stone ground cornmeal and grits
local wildflower and sourwood honey
homemade candies like taffy and fudge
homemade maple syrup
locally grown preserves and jellies
homemade biscuits and sawmill gravy
apple butter and apple dumplins
cornbread and soup beans
country smoked ham
locally distilled jars of moonshine and whiskey
If you want to find these absolute gems for an authentic Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge & Sevierville experience, read on, I have a list of some of the best for you!
15 Delicious Places to Get the
Local Flavor of Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge & Sevierville?
1.) Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen, 744 Parkway, Gatlinburg
Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen was opened in 1950 in Gatlinburg, way before it was a world famous tourist destination, and it was just a cute, quiet, little mountain town. A young couple decided to open up their little candy shop and made the candy in front of all the people who passed by, which is a great source of entertainment! Today the candy is still made onsite, just like back in 1950.
Not only did their taffy become famous, but they also started making other candies too.
Homemade peanut brittle, caramels, pecan logs, pecan divinity, fudge, chocolates, nut brittles, caramel apples, brown bears and more.
Today, you can still be mesmerized watching the taffy be made, just like the old days.
2.) Pancake Pantry, 628 Parkway, Gatlinburg
This was the very first of the Pancake Houses in Gatlinburg! Started up with alot of hard work by a couple in 1975, their dream paid off as breakfast places got more and more popular. But they also serve breakfast and lunch. Up until just 2020, they still didn't even take credit cards - imagine that! Even as a cash business, the restaurant has thrived and now you can rest easy, because they DO take credit cards now.
My family and I love Pancake Pantry. The inside is very majestic, and we loved the atmosphere.
Some interesting items as described by the menu include:
Parisienne Crepes - "Whole strawberries in compote rolled up in 3 delicately thin crepes. Sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with whipped cream."
The Marvelous Blintz - "Pecans and raisins are added to a ricotta-cream cheese filling and placed in our blintz pancake. Topped with powdered sugar and a warm orange blueberry syrup."
Wild Blueberry Pancakes - "Sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with blueberry compote. Captures all the tang of mountain blueberries."
There is nearby parking in paid parking lots, and parking garages on the strip.
Appetizers, sides, salads, soups and kid's menu available.
3.) The Old Mill Restaurant, 175 Old Mill Avenue, Pigeon Forge
The Old Mill is an absolute treasure for many reasons. It was built in 1830, and the town of Pigeon Forge slowly grew up around it. It is one of the oldest continually operating gristmills in the country and one of the most photographed in America. The Restaurant was built next to it in 1993.
The Mill still grinds corn, grits and other grains that are then used to make fresh breads, sweets, and other treats, as well as the moonshine at the distillery. Everywhere you look, you will be touched by history and handcrafted artisan goods. You can also inquire about guided tours.
You might also want to try the famous Pottery House Cafe, across the street, and the Old Forge Distillery,
next door as well. They even make their own pottery at Pigeon River Pottery and there's a good chance your meal may be served on this beautiful, handcrafted stoneware.
Some delicious items on the menu include:
Homemade Meatloaf, Pot Roast and gravy, Tennessee Hickory Southern BBQ Plate,
Chicken and Homemade Dumplings, Southern Style Catfish, English Mountain Fresh Rainbow Trout
Grilled Ribeye, Corn Chowder, Corn Fritters, and more....
There is ample parking including Patriot Park just a block away. Sides, salads, soups and kid's menu is available.
4.) Smoky Mountain Trout House, 410 Parkway, Gatlinburg
This restaurant is in one of the oldest building in Gatlinburg and has served locally sourced trout since 1975.
They must know a thing or 2 about good trout. It has been recently remodeled, and has upper level seating,
a rustic, cozy atmosphere and a wood burning fireplace.
The menu has an large variety of trout recipes for everyone's taste. For those who want something else there are steaks, chicken and catfish and shrimp. Yes, you can get a local or imported beer and also wine. Some interesting items as described by the menu include:
The Eisenhower - "A house favorite. Breaded in our cornmeal breading then fried the "old timey way" Served with a side of sauteed mushrooms and sauteed onions."
Ole Smoky Trout - "A hickory smoked trout stuffed with bacon and served with a side of sauteed mushrooms and sauteed onions"
Dilly Trout - "Perfectly seasoned with dill weed and served with dill sauce"
There is ample parking across the street. Appetizers, sides, salads, soups and kid's menu available.
5.) Aunt Granny's Buffet, Inside Dollywood, Pigeon Forge
Ok, this one's inside the Dollywood Theme Park. They know a thing or 2 about satisfying hungry crowds. The staff is dressed up like cute old time granny's and served buffet or family style.
Here you will find:
Deep Fried turkey, Apple Glazed Ham, Southern Fried Chicken and Beef Pot Roast are just getting you started. Add some roasted corn and sweet potato casserole, buttered cabbage and biscuits, just to name a few. How bout some cornbread dressing or seasonal berry cobbler for dessert?
Now remember, this is not a 5-star restaurant, it's a family buffet at a theme park, so get to eatin', but don't get on the Thunderhead Rollercoaster right after, ya hear!
6.) Aunt Mahalia's Candies,
611 Parkway, Suite A2, Mountain Mall, Gatlinburg
This little Gatlinburg candy shop has been open on since 1939 and is in the Mountain Mall on the main strip of Gatlinburg.
They make all kinds of homemade goodies behind the glass so you can watch how it's done. Famous for their peanut and pecan brittle, along with old fashioned homemade fudge, and there is something for everyone. You will find old fashioned favorites like salt water taffy and nostalgic candy that you just don't come across every day.
Sugar free options are also available
7.) Crockett's Breakfast Camp, 1103 Parkway, Gatlinburg
According to Crockett’s Breakfast Camp it "serves as the legacy of David C. “Crockett” Maples, an original frontiersman, honored soldier, and devoted family man with an inspiring will to overcome any obstacle in his path."
That's a different guy than Davy Crockett, the Alamo hero. (Who is also from East Tennessee) But nonetheless, this Crockett and his wife, Mary Ogle lived in Gatlinburg, and had a small supply store at the foot of Mount LeConte in the 1800's. They were well known for feeding the folks who came through the area.
This breakfast place here on the main strip of downtown Gatlinburg has a great atmosphere, and is also
well loved by many!
The menu represents the history of the mountain people well and includes favorites like:
White Oaks Flat Eggs Benedict - Fried Cinnamon Rolls - Griddle Cakes - Corned Beef Hash Breakfast
Steelcut Oatmeal - Stone Ground Grits - Ground Angus Chopped Steak and Eggs
Cathead Biscuits with Cherokee Sweet Corn Pone - Hunt Camp Potatoes
Pecan Smoked Bacon - Country Fried Steak - Cinnamon Candied Apple Waffles....and more!
Open for mornings usually until 1pm, Parking available onsite!
8.) Hofbrauhaus Restaurant & Cheese Cupboard
634 Parkway, Gatlinburg
The Cheese Cupboard on the main floor opened in 1969 in the Gatlinburg Village Shops. They have a huge variety
of imported cheese, unique crackers and chocolates from Switzerland and Germany.
The 2nd floor is where you find the restaurant, with the feel of an old style German Pub.
Here you can try their authentic German food, and the famous "Super Reuben", which has been one of
the favorites over the years. Also get a cold German beer, a stein and German pretzels!
Or try the kraut, a Polish sausage, a Pastrami sandwich, Corned Beef or a Bratwurst.
No parking onsite, this is more of a place you stop in while you are already walking around town.
9.) Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery & Whiskey Barrelhouse
903 and 650 Parkway, Gatlinburg
This is the very 1st legal moonshine distillery in Tennessee, opened in 2010 on the strip in downtown Gatlinburg.
Since then, distilleries like Sugarlands, Doc Collier, Tennessee Legends, Tennessee Shine Co. and more have followed. I'd recommend ANY and all of them, because they all have their own unique recipes, some handed down from generations of old moonshiners in the family.
At Ole Smoky, you can tour the authentic copper, working moonshine stills and see how it's made start to finish and talk to the distillers onsite. There is also live entertainment in The Holler, where you can rest in a rocking chair and take in the fun atmosphere and music. Yes, kids can go too.
Next, sample the flavors - there are always seasonal and new flavors! It's lots of fun to belly up the the bar with everyone and listen to the entertaining descriptions while you sample. It is so much fun! Even if you don't want to sample you can still enjoy this experience.
If you want to sample some Tennessee Whiskey, you can head to the Ole Smoky Barrelhouse at 650 Parkway as well, no reservations required. Here you can also tour and try the White Oak Barrel aged whiskey. A jar of moonshine or Tennessee Whiskey is undoubtedly one of the most popular souvenirs in the area.
10.) Smoky Mountain Farms Jelly House
458 Brookside Village Way, Gatlinburg
Right down the road round the corner from the main Parkway is this little gem filled with
homemade local jams, jellies, local honey, butters, fresh preserves, maple syrups and more. Unique, hard to find
like pickled items, rock candy, Apple Cinnamon Bbq Sauce and fried peanuts can also be found.
Fresh samples, creative and unique flavors like:
Hot Pepper Jelly, Port Wine Cherry, Brandy Peach, Sweet Potato Butter, Cinnamon Pear,
Moonshine Jelly, Muscadine, Elderberry, Wildflower Honey, Sorghum Molasses, Black Walnut Conserve,
and the list goes on! Makes an excellent gift or souvenir.
Great Parking onsite, sugar free selections
11.) The Apple Barn, Applewood Farmhouse & Cider Mill
230 Apple Valley Road, Sevierville
When you are in Sevierville, head over to Apple Valley Road and you will find an entire little village of shops
including Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, Apple Barn Cider House, Applewood Farmhouse Grill, Apple Valley Creamery and Bake Shop, Winery and more. The apple orchard is right behind it!
Don't miss The Cider Bar, where you can find Apple Dumplings, Fried Apple Pies, Old Fashioned Apple Stack Cakes, and Apple Cider by the glass. Sample fresh cider made there on the farm and an Apple Cinnamon Donut with Homemade Creamery Ice Cream.
Their restaurant is famous for its home cooking where you'll find fresh fried chicken, farmhouse biscuits and gravy, homemade soups, old fashioned chicken and dumplins, country grilled pork chops,
Mama's Country Meatloaf and more. Big portions!
There is ample parking all around. Appetizers, sides, and kid's menu available.
12.) Five Oaks Farm Kitchen, 1638 Parkway, Sevierville
This restaurant opened in 2018 in Sevierville on the old property of Five Oaks Farms, a 128 acre estate
purchased by Dr. John and Blanche Ogle back in 1925.
The history on this land runs deep for the owners, who are part of Sevierville's rich historical roots, and strive to honor and keep the family legacy and traditions alive and well to this day.
They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and just some of the things you will find on the menu include:
Southern Fried Tenderloin - Sugar Cured Ham Steak - Fried Catfish - Rainbow Trout - Smokehouse Sampling - Soup Beans & Cornbread - Turnip Greens - Cornbread Salad - Fried Green Tomatoes
Banana Pudding - Window Sill Cobbler
There is ample parking onsite. Appetizers, sides, salads, soups and kid's menu available.
13.) Howard's Steakhouse, 976 Parkway, Gatlinburg
This steakhouse has been a landmark in Gatlinburg since 1946. You can sit by a gorgeous flowing creek in the outdoor dining area or check out the in-house saloon. Hand cut steaks, and a nostalgic atmosphere. Howard's is casual upscale dining where you can find out why they have been doing this for 75 years in Gatlinburg!
On the menu, choose from items such as:
a Half Slab of Hickory Smoked Pork Ribs, Slow Cooked Roast Beef Sandwich and Mashed Potatoes, Catfish or Trout Dinner, Olde Mountain Burger,
Ribeye Strip appetizers, all the Classic Steak favorites, and much more!
14.) The Appalachian, 133 Bruce Street, Sevierville
Opened in 2021, this is a modern take on early mountain traditions. This upscale restaurant in historic downtown Sevierville is all about local ingredients prepared with flavor and love of our region. The Appalachian's name says
it all. This restaurant serves regional food with big flavor and style, and has a team of well respected culinary chefs. Ingredients are seasonal and come from local farms.
Their website describes it as "A contemporary Southern Appalachian culinary experience".
A big, wood burning hearth in the kitchen gives the food a unique, smoky flavor. It also has a bar that opens in the afternoons. Some of the wonderful menu items I found were:
Fried Chicken Skins - Buffalo Frog Legs -
- Duck Breast with Mossy Creek mushrooms, grapes, shallots & pencil cob grits
- Glazed Cheshire Pork Tenderloin with slab bacon, Appalachian blue barley, grilled broccolini & bacon broth
- Wood grilled meats with West Virginia Sea Salt (wait...what?)
There is ample parking across the street.
15.) Dolly Parton's Song & Hearth, 2525 DreamMore Way, Pigeon Forge
If you know about Dollywood, you may also know that there is beautiful hotel right down the road called
DreamMore Resort, also inspired by Dolly herself, and this restaurant is inside. And YES, you can go because it is open to guests AND non-guests alike.
The food is inspired by Dolly's upbringing here in Sevierville and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You might want to try the famous "Stone Soup" and you will love the story behind it. In Dolly's book about her life,
she wrote about what Stone Soup was:
“Mama had a way of sensing which one of us kids needed a little extra attention, which one might be a little down. One way she had of treating this was to make stone soup. She would announce that we were having stone soup for supper and send us all out to pick out a pebble… When we had all found a rock and come back to the kitchen, Mama would look at each stone and talk about its merits and how well each child had done in discovering it. Then, without fail, she would choose the rock found by the neediest of us. She would scrub it clean and then put it in the old black kettle as it boiled on the stove. Of course she would put in tomatoes and okra and potatoes and onions and salt pork. She would explain to her wide-eyed brood of rock collectors that these things just added a little extra flavoring to the natural goodness of the stone.”
You can also get fried green tomatoes, meatloaf sliders, prime rib, southern fried chicken,
cornmeal dusted pork chops, country braised greens, shrimp and grits, corn pudding, collards, mashed potatoes, blackberry cobbler, and a whole lot more on this buffet style dinner.
Oh and morning cocktails ARE available (wink wink)
There is ample parking at the hotel. Appetizers, sides, salads, soups and kid's menu available.
There are many excellent places to get local food around Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville, I couldn't list every single one but this should give you a good idea of what food
our wonderful area is known for!
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