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Oct 3, 2007 08:59 PM

Gatlinburg - Fine Dining Lunch?

It has been several decades, since we were last in Gatlinburg. Back in our youth, we headed to TN and NC for our “mini-honeymoons,” which came about every 6 months. Several dozen of these were spent in the Gatlinburg environs. Back then, good food was only a smaller part of the equation. Now, it’s come front-and-center.

We’re going to be staying at Blackberry Farm for a week, and will probably head to Gatlinburg for the first time in many, many years. I’m certain that everything has changed since the early ‘70s, and am hoping to get some ideas for great food for lunch, as all of our evening dinners will be at BBF. What is the dining scene like now. We’re not looking for any chains, but would like to explore any “happening” culinary spots. Any chefs turning out outstanding fare? The price range is meaningless, as we’ve dropped several hundreds for lunch (great wines included) at the French Laundry, and only care about great food.

Are there any “must do” spots in that general area? Thanks for the help.


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  1. Don't they do lunch at BBF? Picnics?

    Seriously, take a look at this thread-

    It had some excellent information, and was a fun read, despite my own smart ass comments.

    3 Replies
    1. re: danna


      Thanks for the link. I had not found THAT one in my Search This Board. I found many others, but they painted such a bleak picture. Also, most of those requests were for "family fare," which wasn't exactly what we were looking for.

      Yes, BBF does quite a bit around the noon hour, and we'll probably do whatever, when we're not on the golf course, but hoped to spend a day getting "re-acquainted" with G'burg. However, for the scene painted in most of the posts, I'm not sure that we'll really enjoy what is in store. As Thomas Wolfe said, "you can never 'go home' again... " We saw Pidgeon Forge go from a sleepy little wide-spot, to all neon and plastic, with fast-food as far as the eye could see. We thought we'd made a wrong turn and were back in the Knoxville suburbs.

      Oh well, it sounds like the Peddler, or the pizza stop might be the best we can do.

      Again, thanks for that link. Ever since the site was updated about 6 mos. ago, I've had the darnedest time finding articles, even my own.

      If we find some hidden gem, I'll report in, along with the promised Old Hickory Steakhouse (Nashville) and BBF.


      1. re: Bill Hunt

        I look forward to your post if you find anything. We have had sub par experiences at both The Peddler and a pizza place on the main strip from Sevierville to Gatlinburg (sorry, I don't remember the name, but it was a non-chain). Our last trip was with a group and we decided to eat in the whole week. I'd give the peddler a 2 or 3 on a 5-point scale. Just an average salad bar and steak/potato type place.

        I am not much help on lunch, but I had planned to try dinner at Buckhorn Inn ( on a future trip. It was as close to "fine dining" as I could find during my research.

        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Bill, The only thing I could find for you was the

      2. Check the Park Grill, one of the best meals ever in Gatlinburg but I am not sure they are open at lunch, get the trout. The Cheese Cupboard has good sandwiches and cheeses.

        For some reason I always associate Gatlinburg with pancakes and seem to leave there having consumed several meals at pancakes shops.(breakfast, lunch and dinner)

        1. Fine Dining and Gatlinburg are generally not used in the same sentence! You would be wise to stick to BBF or perhaps try their sister (and cheaper) location, Dancing Bear Lodge in Townsend. Good luck, you gonna need it. However, going to BBF for a week will be heavenly. The hiking, biking, fishing, food, food, beds, service, porch! I am green with envy. Enjoy.

          3 Replies
          1. re: smoot60

            Well, as a followup, we did stick with the "box lunches" from BBF. There was an Arts n' Crafts festival in G'burg and a big show at Dollywood, so the crowds were overwhelming. We managed to get to the G'burg bypass, but hit horrendous traffic up 441.

            Guess that I'll just have to go back, when the tourist throngs leave, so I can actually see something. Not surprisingly, everything, outside the park, has changed so much in the years, since our last visit, that I did not recognize one thing. Oh well, at least the local merchants are "packin' them in."

            I'm working up a report on BBF and on Old Hickory Steakhouse in Nashville (our first stop), and hope to have them done and posted before we fly off again.

            I want to say thanks to all, who responded.


            1. re: Bill Hunt

              From what I understand the throngs only leave with the Snow and Ice!

              Thanks for the follow up, from a brief seach on here your experience is typical...My wife and I have a cabin for Thanksgiving and I thought bringing some exotic items from the local specialty grocery and picking up staples from a grocery once we get there is the best plan! I checked here to see if there was a foodie undercurrent in G-burg, but allas, no dice! I can handle my own in the kitchen, so that is our plan!

              Thanks again.

              1. re: birminghamvisitor

                I think that you have "a plan." I saw nothing in my brief tour of the outskirts to indicate that there was likely to be more than a series of chains. However, I did notice some interesting looking restaurants along Hwy. 321 to the N and W of the Park proper. These were scattered along between Townsend and Walland, but did not stop at any, as we were being fed so very well at BBF. Several of these spots just had "the look." If you want a few lovely miles of driving, you might do well to explore this area. Though Hwy 441 was filled to overflowing, Hwy 321 was nice, once outside of the Pidgeon Forge Area.

                With the culinary events at BBF, I think that a Winter trip might well be in order for us. If we do, and get to Gatlinberg, I'll report on what we find.