HOME > Chowhound > General South Archive >


Gatlinburg, TN; help, please....someone...

Yes, I will be in lovely downtown Gatlinburg for three days, and I'm getting the frightening idea I will be staying in the 'tourist strip', near the Convention Center...The hotelier assured me it was the 'foodie strip', but I'm thinking this may mean chains...Is there anything down there that doesn't involve a far drive? After a day of trade show smiling, I will be seriously low on impetus to actually move....

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Does the phrase "abandon all hope, ye who enter here" mean anything to you?

    It's not really a chain restaurant strip in the sense that you are thinking....but it's not much better. There's lots of fine "Continental" dining. Get ready to see mashed potatoes put through a pastry bag.

    1. Oh, those are probably instant mashed potatoes that can be found at the restaurant food show I'll be doing!

      I'd be perfectly happy with some catfish or trout....

      3 Replies
      1. re: galleygirl

        yes, but will you have time to go fishing?

        Seriously, I'll ask my parents, who have a vacation home near Gatlinburg , to my never-ending annoyance, for recs. Although they are completely untrustworthy, and will eat at Red Lobster without duress.

        1. re: galleygirl

          If I'm not mistaken, aren't there a bunch of roadhouse-y kinda places that do fish-frys ? I know you hate fried fish and all ..... ;)

          I was also told of a decent breakfast joint near the Hard Rock, but can't remember the name or find the details - maybe somebody here can jog my memory.

          1. re: Nab

            Mmmmmm, roadhouse, fried fish, my kinda place...;)

            From what I've read on the boards, pancakes seem to be a big thing in Garlinburg. I HATE pancakes (except potato, which are actually latkes, but I digress...) I like breakfast, but preferably the kind with fish hash, or fried catfish...

        2. I was there in mid-July, and know there's a dingy bar that serves decent food. It's on a muddy street downtown, and the place has stud poker tables inside.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Bostonbob3

            Dingy bar. Poker tables. Good. we like dingy....

          2. You're screwed. We fish in that area every summer and never eat out. Have a few stiff drinks to relax your smile muscles and maybe dinner won't be so bad after all. I'd look for the dingy bar.

            1. I was there last September and it's not great by any stretch of the imagination, but there are a few options. The Smoky Mountain Brewery, which is right at the end of the strip (near Ober Gatlinburg) has pretty tasty beers made there and reasonably good bar food. Just across the street and a little bit down is a "fancy/hip" seafood restaurant that is decent. And on the side street just up the hill from the Ripley's Believe It Or Not is a little bar with live music and pretty good sandwiches. And a patio if it's a pretty day. Good luck.

              1. We have been going to Gatlinburg for a week long bridge tournament every April for the past ten years and staying near the Convention Center. As mentioned above, the dining options are very limited. This really became an issue when hubby went vegetarian a few years back. One place did not have ONE item on the menu he could order...even the salads had bacon. He wound up ordering a Chicken Ceasar Salad asking them to hold the chicken.

                My two top picks are actually run by the same folks and have similar menus:

                The Peddler Restaurant: http://www.peddlergatlinburg.com/

                The Park Grill: http://www.parkgrillgatlinburg.com/

                They are certainly on the higher end of the area dining scene and both are a short walk to the convention center.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Windsor

                  Ah Ha. The Park Grill is the one I was trying to remember. My parents took me there back in '99 (I broke my leg...I was helpless) and it was not terrible. I seem to recall getting a pretty decent filet.

                  1. re: Windsor

                    I had to laugh at the note at the bottom of the menu, "We can blacken almost anything, $2.00"

                    I can too, and it won't cost you extra! LOL...

                    The funny thing is, I can look at their list of apps, and tell you exactly which vendor they buy them from, frozen...This job has really ruined bar food for me!
                    But actually, I could eat there...I'm semi-veg, but I eat fish...I didn't when I was younger, and I rmember going into a burger king and ordering a whopper with no meat...

                    1. re: galleygirl

                      hahahaha.......a whopper with no meat, love it!

                  2. Sad to report that most of the above postings are dead-on. There is ONE bright spot on the Gatlinburg dining map, however, though it's a little hard to find. Smokey Mountain Pizza and Brewery makes a killer wood-fired pizza and their beer isn't bad, either...

                    It's in alleyway that leads to the parking lot behind Calhoun's BBQ, just off the main drag.

                    Other than that, breakfast at the Burning Bush or Pancake Pantry is the only other thing I would dare recommend in G-burg.

                    2 Replies
                    1. the park grill has closed down.

                      1. Ditto on Burning Bush....not bad for breakfast/brunch.

                        Sad to hear Park Grill closed down. A week in Gatlinburg will seem even longer without the Park Grill salad bar.

                        1. Been going to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge for years. Usually twice a year. Personal opinion is the Peddler is overpriced. No I don't mind spending the bucks either. I think the Alamo has much better steaks. Calhoun's has some pretty good ribs, not the best but still good. For Italian either The Best Little Italian Restaurant in Gatlinburg or Johnny Carrino's in Pigeon Forge are both good. Park Grill is good (even though I didn't recomment the Peddler). The Open Hearth is hit or miss. Wasn't overly impressed with the Greenbriar. Didn't like Lineberger's Seafood. Bullfish grill is good as well. Hope this helps.

                          1. When did the park grill close down? The Burning Bush building is now holding Applewood Farmhouse...like the one in Servierville.

                            1. Ok...I just called Park Grill...they are still opened..I thought that was strange since I was just there a month ago.Anyway I like the trout there but the desserts are wonderful.The creme brulee is out of this world.

                              1. Okay, the report from Gatlinburg...
                                First of all, I had no idea that this place was a mix of Vegas, Disneyland, and outlet malls, all put together with absolutely no plan whatsoever, except liberal use of the word hillbilly. I found more places to get married, tatooed or have my picture taken in "Olde-fashioned" clothing than to eat....

                                To be honest, after sitting in traffic for an hour between Sevierville and Gatlinburg, I parked the car and refused to do anything that I couldn't walk to...I walked the strip ion Galtlingurg back and forth, and viewed things with a discriminating eye...

                                Most restos there are owned by two or three differnet restaurant groups, so there isn't much variety, or competition.

                                I had drinks ($3 glasses of wine at happy hour, 4-7), at a place called Crawdad's...Menu actually looked decent, but I had a plate of well-spiced bugs for an appetizer, and sat out on their balcony watching the show on the street. This actually made G-burg much easier to deal with. Friendly bartenders and waiters, and you could watch the sunset from there....

                                I walked some more, and ended up at the Smo\ky Mountain Brewery for a personal pizza ($5.99, plus $1 for each topping) Not the best pizza I've ever had, but decent enough crust, and higher percentage of veggies to cheese, which I liked. A beer sampler, of 3 (5 oz.) choices for $3.50 was a great deal...They do a red ale which was superb. I'd go back.

                                I checked out the Park Grill, and it, like a lot of other places in town, offered only catfish fillets...That means they come on the IMA truck, so that was a no-go...What I did do for supper the next nite was the Cherokee Grill, on the same alley as the brewery...They also had catfish fillets, but they had whole trout, which I ordered grilled, instead of fried,with steamed veggies, and got some nice fresh broccolli. Really good.

                                I saw the upscale fish place, and was tempted to go in, but I didn't see anything really local, or anything that betokened excellence. A group from the food show went, and they were pretty dissappointed, except for one app, which they described as shrimp, wrapped in strips of potato. When the guy told me about it, I described the "tornado shrimp" that you can get pre-made at Whole Foods, and he agreed they were the same ones...Oh well....

                                Word has it that there is better food in Sevierville, and I did pass the Bullfish Grill there, but it's a haul out of Gatlinburg at any prime time, sitting on the strip...And I do mean, the strip....

                                The reward for being in this growing gash of commercialism (and there is construction everywhere!) is that at night, and very early in the morning, you can stand on the street, and see the undisturbed beauty of the mountains around you, as you breathe deeply of the crisp air. Then, you understand what brought people here in the first place...

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: galleygirl

                                  Thanks for reporting back! I'll tell my parents about the Cherokee Grill, sounds like they would like that. Actually grilled whole trout sounds like somethin I would like too.

                                  I hope you get a chance to come back to these mountains some day (I'm on the other side of the divide, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge). There is still a whole lot of wilderness left, and the mountains are so beautiful they give you chills.

                                  1. re: galleygirl

                                    Park Grill does have trout because that is what I get almost everytime..BullFish Grill is excellent...by far the best meal I have had down there.

                                    1. re: LaLa

                                      Just had to do another business trip to the area...Park Grill is still in business...I had the trout and creme brulee..yum! I also visited the Bullfish grill again...Lovely fried green tomatoes.


                                  2. My wife and I recently stayed at the Buckhorn Inn near Gatlinburg where the owner suggested the Pedler restaurant in Gatlinburg. We really liked the restaurant and, in fact, we went back the next night too. The first time we had steak and the grilled trout. The second night we had the grilled trout and a combination of grilled trout and shrimp. We really liked everything including a very fresh, extensive salad bar with good dressings (they actually had anchovies). The setting in the woods near a mountain creek was nice. This may be the best restaurant in Gatlinburg.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: alexofoakton

                                      did you have dessert? I think this is where they shine.