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Jan 24, 2012 06:29 PM

Where's the REALY good food in Gatlinburg?

I've been to Gatlinburg a couple of times, and going back soon...I'm looking for some really good food to eat there besides the mainstream places along the strip. (NOT Mellow Mushroom, Calhoun's, Pancake Pantry, etc...)

I hear there are awesome mom & pop hidden places there - any truth to this? Is so, please do tell!


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  1. Hello ellclare,

    We are staying in Gatlinburg for one night and are looking for exactly what you were. Did you ever find anything? Thanks for any tips!

      1. This general question comes up about once per year.

        Unfortunately, the answer is usually a variation of "there is nothing notable in Gatlinburg." Going back decades, things were a bit different, but all of those restaurants are now long gone.

        In that area of the world, I know of only one really noteworthy restaurant, but it comes with a caveat. Blackberry Farm is head-and-shoulders above anything else. BUT (hey, I warned you that there was a caveat), one must stay at Blackberry Farm, to dine there. On slower nights, if one is staying at Dancing Bear (just up the road), then they MIGHT be able to get a table, but there are no guarantees.

        While I have not dined there, many others say that Dancing Bear also has great food. As they are a division of Blackberry Farm, that seems highly reasonable.

        Now, as restaurants come and go, I will closely watch this thread, in case someone has finally opened up a really good restaurant in Gatlinbug, or Pigeon Forge, or even Sevierville. Last time through, while staying at Blackberry Farm, I saw nothing, that even looked like it had potential - mostly fast-food establishments.

        I wish you luck, but other than maybe a breakfast place, I doubt that you will find anything worth eating - but I will still watch, with hopes.

        Good luck,


        2 Replies
        1. re: Bill Hunt

          Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg is a culinary wasteland.

          Dancing Bear has excellent food, we have stayed there several times and it is consistent. The breakfast is a bit spartan, and we are always on the go in the Park when we are there during the day so I cannot speak to lunch (they may only offer box lunches?)

          All in, Dancing Bear is an excellent value getaway. Given the exorbitant expense of Blackberry it really is the only option that I know of.

          1. re: Taylor Condra

            That is great to hear.

            To date, we have always gone to Blackberry Farm, but have done a tour of Dancing Bear, and everything was answered, to our satisfaction. Might try it in the future.

            We feel the same about lunch at Blackberry Farm. Though their breakfasts are any thing BUT spartan, and we have worked with most of the servers, to bring us small tastes, we can seldom work in lunch. Most often, it's that we cannot even contemplate food, until dinner, because we know how that's going to be. Sometimes, we have things scheduled, that preclude lunch. Last trip, we ate very, very lightly for two breakfasts, and then worked hard with our server to get some tiny tastes of the BBQ for lunch. Even then, we had to push back our dinner times.

            Thank you for sharing your observations on Dancing Bear.


            PS - When I saw a reply to this thread, I was hoping that someone HAD found a great restaurant in the area, away from Dancing Bear, or Blackberry Farm. It was once far less of a culinary wasteland, but that was very long ago, when there were still some family-owned restaurants, but from my quick surveys, they are all gone - long gone.