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Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains are home to some truly legendary restaurants! Serving everything from breakfast to pizza, these eateries have built loyal followings for their unmatched quality and local charm. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Timber Tops Cabin Rentals has put together a guide to seven famous restaurants in Gatlinburg and the Smokies.
1. The Pancake Pantry
When the Pancake Pantry opened its doors in 1960 it was the state of Tennessee’s very first pancake house. Since then, the Gatlinburg area has become a mecca for breakfast restaurants, but the Pantry still remains the region’s most celebrated destination for flapjacks. The Pancake Pantry owes its longevity to its superior ingredients, such as fresh whipped cream, real butter, and rich maple syrup. Guests can choose from 24 varieties of hotcakes, which include gourmet takes on old favorites like Wild Blueberry Pancakes and Swiss Chocolate Chip Pancakes, and unique creations, such as Sweet Potato Pancakes and Banana Pineapple Triumph Pancakes. Be sure to bring cash, as the Pancake Pantry does not accept credit or debit cards.
2. The Donut Friar
Located right behind the Pancake Pantry in The Village Shops, The Donut Friar offers more wonderful breakfast options for anyone with a sweet tooth. Open at 5 a.m. each morning, this beloved bakery makes its melt-in-your-mouth donuts onsite every day. In addition to its spectacular donuts, The Friar is well known for its cinnamon bread, puff pastries, danishes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, coffee, espresso, cappuccino, and latte. Guests can enjoy their treats in The Donut Friar’s upstairs dining area or outside by The Village’s iconic fountain. Like the Pancake Pantry, The Donut Friar is a cash-only business.
3. Best Italian Cafe & Pizzeria
Best Italian Cafe & Pizzeria is another one of the most famous restaurants in Gatlinburg. A fixture of The Strip since 1976, Best Italian is revered for its New York-style pizza, giant calzones, and its irresistible garlic knots. Best Italian boasts two excellent locations on the Parkway, so you’ll never be far from their mouthwatering Italian entrees. If you dine at the original Best Italian in Elks Plaza, you can enjoy your meal on their lovely outdoor patio, which overlooks a scenic river.
4. Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant/Grill
The Apple Barn Village is home to two fantastic restaurants, the Applewood Farmhouse Grill and the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant. Located beside an apple orchard, these popular eateries both offer guests a complimentary serving of homemade apple fritters, apple butter, and apple juice julep with every meal. The main difference between the two eateries is that the Grill offers three-course meals (fritters, soup, and entree) and the Restaurant offers slightly pricier five-course meals (fritters, soup, salad, entree with refillable sides, dessert). No matter which restaurant you choose, you will enjoy incredible country cooking and Southern hospitality!
5. The Old Mill Restaurant
The Old Mill Restaurant is a can’t-miss stop for any Smoky Mountain vacation. Located next to a historic gristmill that was constructed in 1830, this amazing restaurant uses the mill’s freshly ground products to make its biscuits, grits, hushpuppies, pancakes, and other dishes. Breakfast entrees at The Old Mill Restaurant come with a small glass of orange juice and freshly baked banana nut muffins, which are served with local preserves and sourwood honey. For lunch and dinner, The Old Mill provides guests with complimentary corn chowder, corn fritters, and maple butter. The Old Mill Restaurant can get very busy on weekends, but the superb food is definitely worth the wait!
6. The Pottery House Cafe & Grille
Situated steps away from The Old Mill, visitors will find another stellar restaurant, The Pottery House Cafe & Grille. This unique eatery is located in the former home of Douglas Ferguson, the founder of Pigeon River Pottery, an acclaimed shop located next door. All of the bowls, plates, and salt and pepper shakers at the Pottery House Cafe are made right at Pigeon River Pottery. Serving lunch and dinner every day and breakfast/brunch over the weekend, The Pottery House Cafe & Grille is beloved for its house-baked bread, tasty quiche, French onion soup, corn pudding, and coconut cream pie.
Where to Stay in Gatlinburg
When you stay with Timber Tops Cabin Rentals, you will be just a short drive from all of these famous restaurants in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. With everything from 1 bedroom cabins to 15 bedroom lodges, we are guaranteed to have the perfect accommodations for your vacation. To start planning your getaway, browse our selection of cabins in Gatlinburg!