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Heading to Gatlinburg TN any advice

Any help with some good restaurants would be appreciated

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  1. Pack a lunch? (Seriously, it's a culinary wasteland.)

    1. Knoxville? Agreed. It's a wasteland. At least it's a very pretty one.

      1. There have been a number of depressing threads on Gatlinburg which you can find easily using the search feature. Havana Dreams was okay. In general, though, the area specializes in lowest common denominator cuisine. When I visited I took the hour drive to Knoxville to go to Hong Kong House and it was amazing.

        2 Replies
        1. re: north2south

          Maybe breakfast in Gatlinburg. But I second the recc for lunch or dinner at Hong Kong House.

          1. re: KyMikey

            The Tomato Head On Market Square in downtown Knoxville is also a nice lunch/brunch spot. (Outdoor seating if the weather's nice, too.)

        2. If you are going to Gatlinburg, I seriously doubt that you would be interested in a 125 mile round trip just to go into Knoxville.

          In Gatlinburg try:

          Cherokee Grill
          Park Grill

          This will guide you:


          4 Replies
          1. re: Brawny

            Thanks Brawny. I will check out that website and give those a look over

            1. re: Brawny

              Actually the drive time from Gatlinburg to downtonw Knoxville is just a little over an hour, if the traffic is not bad I think it's viable dining alternative--esp. if one has a low tolerance for G'burg's touristy kitsch.

              1. re: Jeff C.

                I couldn't agree more. Totally worth the trip. Knoxville has some nice restaurants. Gatlinburg is like being trapped inside Amusement Park Foodland.

              2. re: Brawny

                Actually, even tho breakfast is probably the best meal in G-burg, I would second the rec for Calhouns--actually, there are two--one next to the Cherokee Grill in G-burg and another one in Sevierville--we ate at the one in Sevierville and it was great--the waiter was the best one we have had in years--best dining experience I have ever had in that area--so if you don't want to drive a long way to Knoxville, dollar-for-dollar, it would be hard to beat Calhoun's.

              3. Tucked into the Elks Plaza on the Parkway in Gatlinburg is the Best Italian restaurant. I would absolutely recommend that, particularly for the garlic rolls. You have to seek it out to find it but worth the effort.

                1 Reply
                1. re: nmi

                  Forgot about that place.......outstanding. Their Meatball Parm is the best and the antipasto is huge!! The garlic rolls are famous.

                2. Going back a bit, we were heading to the Smoky Mountains, to stay at Blackberry Farm. I asked the same question then, and did not get a good answer - at least not for any higher-end restaurant recommendations. Because of a major festival there, during our stay, we did not even try to get near the town. We satisfied ourselves with the wonderful food at Blackberry Farm.

                  We just returned from Blackberry, but DID make it to Gatlinburg. It had been almost 30 years, since we were last there. Just to make sure we were seeing, what it appeared we were seeing, we made three trips through the town, from different directions. How sad this little town has become.

                  Now, we did not park and walk, because the sidewalds were filled to overflowing, and it was cold and rainy. There could well be some gem that we missed in our drives, but as each took approximately 1 hour, we did get to see a lot at a very slow pace.

                  Unless you really like fast food, or funnel cakes, I cannot imagine any reason to go there. Even the McDonalds had about 300 people standing in line, in the rain, to get in.

                  If you can swing a reservation (it now depends on how many guests they have) at Blackberry Farm's The Barn, I'd head into Knoxville.

                  Good luck, and if we missed something special, please, please post about it.


                  1. We had a wonderfule Christmas Eve meal at the Dancing Bear Lodge (save for the loud and obnoxious New York family next to us). The food was great and the decor amazing. Here's the link"


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: joshuahmel

                      We stopped by, to see what Blackberry's "little brother" had to offer. It looked great, though we'll probably always book at Blackberry Farm. They, too, indicated that they would take reservations, so long as their guests had been totally accommodated.

                      While not open, in the general sense, to the public, with a bit of planning and some luck, these two seem like they might provide some fine-dining in the general area.

                      Question, did you do a review of the meal(s)? Just curious. If I got the correct info, the exec. chef at DBL was the sous-chef, when we dined first at Blackberry Farm, and his work was excellent.

                      Sorry about the loud group. That can spoil the most wonderful diner.


                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                        I did not do a review. I had no computer access for almost one week after the meal. I would suggest swinging by for drinks and apps first. They have an amazing balcony with couches and chairs that overlooks the great room and the massive fireplace.

                        1. re: joshuahmel

                          Got it. We stopped by and talked with the staff a bit, trying to get the full scoop. Matter of fact my wife is thinking about doing a retreat there, as the costs at Blackberry Farm are out of her organization's reach right now, however great it is.

                          We did not dine, while touring, but the staff said all the "right things." I also recall their chef, when he was at Blackberry Farm. Cannot tell you which dishes, exactly, he contributed to, but the overall meals were great.

                          If we make it there, I'll do my best to capture the spirit and the food. It would be interesting, especially in light of the time that we've dined at the other location.



                    2. I like Bullfish in PF ...the food is always very good.

                      1. This is a few miles from Gatlinburg, but if you're into Mexican food, I came across a hole in the wall that was cheap and excellent. It's called El Primo Productos Hispanos (located on the Smoky Mountain Parkway in Sevierville), and it's more of a grocery store/butcher than restaurant, but it has a few tables on one side for serving customers. Judging from the clientele, it basically seems to serve the migrant community in the area, and not much else.

                        My Spanish isn't great, but if you can speak enough to get by, you can tell the waiter what you want, and they'll basically prepare it for you with products off the shelf of the store (there is no written menu, as far as I can tell, and nobody there spoke English, so it's not for the unilingual).

                        When I was there, they fried up some chorizo and served in on fresh tortillas with avocado and lime, and only charged us a few bucks for a plate. I bet if you are more adventurous or spoke fluently, you could get a really fantastic meal.

                        It certainly beats out McDonald's or any of the surrounding chain restaurant nightmares.

                        I have some pictures of the place up on my blog:


                        If anyone makes it out there, I'd be interested in hearing a follow-up report!

                        1. Traffic won't be as bad now as in the summer, so you can drive into Knoxville- just go to Sevierville and take Hwy 441 (Chapman Highway) instead of going all the way out to I 40 and you will be in Knoxville in less than 1 hour. Gatlinburg has really deteriorated. I know of no high end restaurants there. Puleo's at exit 398 on I 40 ( Gburg is exit 407) is excellent with a varied menu and not expensive. Foothills Milling Company is Maryville is highly rated though I haven't eaten there but that is also quite a drive up and down the mountain.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: LGD

                            And you've reminded me there's also a second Tomato Head location in downtown Maryville now. Great lunch/brunch spot. (Really good vegetarian sandwiches that even this carnivore loves.)

                          2. Of course the best way to get a good meal just about anywhere in Tennesee is to make friends.

                            1. While fine dining in Gatlinburg is a difficult task, there is one noticeable omission on this board. The Lodge At Buckberry Creek offers a fine dining experience which is unmatched in the immediate Gatlinburg area and offers great mountain views to boot. It is also highly recommended as a place to stay. We have been to Buckberry for conferences three years in a row and the food has always been top notch (in fact, I am writing this post while staying there). The beef and fish dishes are always excellent. Some of the best halibut I have ever had was here. There is usually some exotic game on the menu. Ostrich and wild boar are both excellent choices when on the menu. Good and reasonable wine list for the area. The wait staff is friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. Weather permitting, you can enjoy fireside dining outside on the deck surrounding the dining room.
                              Buckberry is located on Campbell Lead Road on Ski Mountain. It is a short ride up the mountain but worlds away from the tackiness of the Gatlinburg strip.
                              Sample menu is also available on their website: