Cabin in Gatlinburg, TN
My SO and I are renting a cabin in Gatlinburg, TN from 12/29 - 1/2/09. Are there any recommendations for dining - doesn't have to be fine dining (after reading the message board I'm noticing this is an issue), just good food. Any reliable shops for cooking supplies and groceries?
Don't know if you have searched this board, but I asked a similar question just over a year ago, except that I WAS looking for fine-dining:
There were about 7 reples. Most were for breakfast and lunch, no real fine-dining.
As it turned out, we really did not have time, away from Blackberry Farm, so my point was moot. However, it might help you.
Also, for the fine-dining aspect, you might want to check with Blackberry Farm. When we last stayed, the dining was only available for guests of the farm. They have expanded greatly, since then, and things might have changed. If they have, you MUST dine there. My review of BBF: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/452867
Because of the nature of Gatlinburg and its environs, I'm not sure there is anything left. We used to spend weeks at a time there, and there were some pretty good local restaurants. Even back then (the early '70s), the chains had begun encroaching. Each trip seemed to find fewer local spots.
Because of two events in Gatilinburg, during our trip, we could not even get close to the town. Traffic up 441 was about 20 mins. per traffic signal. I had wanted to get back, but am not sure that I'd even care to do so, as I would have been so disappointed.
Considering the popularity of places like Gatlinburg, I am disappointed that the food is so poor. I found the same, when we visited Branson, MO. For being in America's "heartland," one expects real mashed potatoes, not from a box!
Considering the dearth of replies, I think my impressions are pretty "spot-on." That was one reason that I mentioned Blackberry Farm. If they NOW allow dining for those outside the gust registry, it is something else and not to be missed. Still, I think that only guests can dine there. In Europe, they would have one star definitely, and probably two. When they are "on," they could be approaching the third star!
Please post your experiences, as there is just not much for this tourist area. We'll be back in a few months, but will probably spend most of our time at BBF, though I'd love to drive through Gatlinburg, just to see if I can remember anything.
I think that the dining masses in the US are satisfied with Applebee's, and either do not know better, or cannot break from their "usual." There seems no reason for a local chef to even think about opening a good spot, when the locals want BK and the tourists seem to want similar.
We used to do little cabins in the Smokey Mountains and loved the land. I think that that wonderful, more simple time.
Good luck and please DO report back,
re: Bill Hunt
I can't imagine things getting any better. Why would a chef with aspirations toward quality want to park himself in such a horrid little tourist trap? God knows the mountains are spectacular, but they are better for campfire dining than trying to find restaurants. Fortunately the mountains around Asheville, NC are just as beautiful and there is an oasis of decent food there.
If someone finds out that Blackberry Farm allows outside dining, i'd love to know about it. OP, my parents have a place 20 miles from Crosby and I'd be interested in any "just good food" you find as well. Thanks.
I agree with you. Going back several decades, there was good food, but that was before the "explosion," in tourists. Yes, G'burg was a touritst destination, but was still rather quiet and laid-back.
Along the lines of "middle-America" and tourists spots, I have been amazed at how Las Vegas has expanded the dining options over the last ten years. With few exceptions, they were known as the worst buffet dinners on Earth. Now, they are a dining destination, though that might change with the economy.
As we stay with BBF and I correspond with them on many different subjects, I'll broach that subject and report on what they say. Even with their dining expansion, I'd wager that it is still just for guests. Regardless, the food is worth the expense, unless one owns a cabin in the vacinity.
You can go to:
Pancake Pantry (breakfast)
Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que
Applewood Farmhouse (All I really remember are the fritters)
Here is a site I found http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi....
As for groceries, I can only remember going to Food City but if you ask one of the people that will be yelling at you to stop and take their tickets or a server at a resto, you may find out about local specialty shops.
Hope this helps a little.
The Applewood Farmhouse and The Old Mill are the two places my family always eat at when we go to the area. Both are "down home" cooking type places... I like the food at Applewood more than The Old Mill, but The Old Mill is actually in an old mill, so the atmosphere is pretty cool.
My mom also loves to eat at The Park Grill... the deserts are pretty delicious. It's more of a fine dining type place.
As for groceries, there is a Super Walmart right on the main strip, a grocery just off the main drag at stoplight... 7 (I think) and there are kitchen supply shops at the outlet mall. I really like to do most of the meals up in the cabin when I'm there because traffic is a nightmare at the holidays.
Good luck and have fun! If you're up high enough you'll actually be able to look down at the fireworks at midnight.
I agree with Sasbury. Applewood Farmhouse is the best. When we were going to Gatlingburg, we would stopi in Knoxville and buy our groceries, wine and beer. The one place that sells alcohol in Gatlingburg charges over the top prices and it is closed on Sunday. (I don't know if that has changed).We have stopped going to Gatlingburg beacause there dossen't seem to be anything there except people. The homes we have rented on those high mountains (which you would expect) that going out at night seemed a big risk, also the bears were bad attacking people and dogs. For all those reasons we stay in Asheville.
Do you know if they offer dining to non-guests? I have not been able to get info on this. I am still at a loss, regarding Blackberry Farm, since they re-opened the Main House dining room, and also have the Barn for their fine-dining. No one seems ready to respond from BBF with the info.
To me, it's worth the effort and $ to stay/dine at BBF, but for a person, like the OP, is either an option? Maybe one of my e-mails will be answered and I can post the responses.
My new bride and I just returned from a 4 nite stay in the area-- 3 nites in a honeymoon cabin in Sevierville. We were about 4.5 miles from the Parkway--traffic from Friday (mostly southbound)through Sunday (mostly northbound) was wall-to-wall and wife sez it will likely be that way until Christmas, even long after the leaves are gone (another week or so) So allow plenty of time on the weekends. The Cades Cove Loop was excruciatingly slow due to people stopping in the middle of the one lane one way road, (despite signs asking them to use pulloffs) to watch..no, not bears, but grazing deer. Sheesh.
As far as restaurants, we had excellent meals at Applewood Farmhouse (breakfast, excellent apple fritters ) The Peddler on River Road --dinner (same owner as Park Grill), the Old Mill --lunch--large portions, Calhoun's in Sevierville (dinner) and a low brow fish and chicken place in PF called Huck Finn's (cheaper, but an excellent deal for big eaters), Log Cabin Pancake House (breakfast this AM) We generally avoid buffets, dinner-and-show places, and gimmicky places. The waiter at Calhoun's was probably the best waitperson this year--tipped him well. We checked out most of these places here on Chowhound or read reviews on tripadvisor.com , etc. and we generally avoid places that get too many negative reviews. I am not that particular or hard-to-please--wife is a little more so.
I saw a Kroger on the north side of Wears Valley Rd in PF (west of Parkway) if you need supplies--I'm sure there are other supermarkets. Applewood has a big building with lots of baked goods, mixes, jellies, etc. also.
One thing I was curious about, but had to miss (closed on Sunday) was the cheeseburger at the Shell Station grill (can't recall the name)on the East side of the Parkway in Sevierville--sign said "voted Best Cheeseburger in Sevierville 7 years in a row" So if you try one, let me know the judgement. Seemed like an odd place to find a great cheeseburger, but sometimes Chowhounds find out these places and make them famous.
We like the veggie pizza at Smoky Mountain Brewery. It is more of a "bar pizza" than a true Italian-style pizza, but very tasty and my husband likes the beer. We stop there at least once every visit.
We had two very good meals at Havana Dreams (449 Parkway in Gatlinburg). This was a Chowhound recommendation, and we were so happy to have found it. The picadillo was good (though I make mine a little differently), but the ropa Vieja ($13.99) was the best we have ever had. Loved the beans and rice and hope to go back to try their Cuban sandwich. It tasted like "read food" as opposed to most of the places in Gatlinburg.
For at least one breakfast, try The Pancake Palace (on main strip of Gatlinburg). My husband and I went twice, once on a Thurs. and once on Friday morning, and didn't have any trouble with the lines. I think we arrived about 8:30. Fast service and hugh portions. I would highly recommend spliting a platter--we had buckwheat pancakes with a side of sausage the first time. Didn't care for the crepes on the second visit--they were very light and tender, but too much filling, too much whipped cream, and for me, too sweet for breakfast. But still very nice if you like a sweet breakfast.
Our friends love Best Italian Cafe, but we have never made it there. Maybe next time.
Lastly, I was pleasantly surprised at the lunch we had at McCutchans Brass Grill (710 Parkway). I had a nice vegetable beef soup "made from steak trimmings" ($4.95) and my husband had the Mediterranean Panini--"Smoked turkey, bacon, onion, melted Provolone cheese, sliced black & green olives. Served grilled with Italian dressing on the side" ($8.95).
Thank you for all of your suggestions. I apologize for not providing feedback in a more timely manner, but we ended up having to cancel our trip.