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6 Famous Restaurants in Gatlinburg TN and the Smoky Mountains

the donut friar gatlinburg
July 24, 2023

As with any popular vacation destination, there are some places to eat that are of legend. People talk about them so much that they’re famous in their own right, so when you come on vacation, you want to try these restaurants in Gatlinburg TN! Serving everything from breakfast to pizza, these places to eat in Gatlinburg 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 6 famous restaurants in Gatlinburg TN and the Smokies.

1. The Pancake Pantry

pancake pantry in gatlinburg

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 Pancake 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 this is one of the Gatlinburg restaurants that 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 placed to eat in Gatlinburg 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 restaurant in Gatlinburg TN.

3. Best Italian Cafe & Pizzeria

One of the Best Italian Cafe & Pizzeria Gatlinburg restaurants

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 Restaurant and the Applewood Farmhouse Grill. 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 that include fritters, soup, and entree, and the Restaurant offers slightly pricier five-course meals that include fritters, soup, salad, entree with refillable sides, and dessert. No matter which restaurant you choose, you will enjoy incredible country cooking and southern hospitality!

5. The Old Mill Restaurant

Scenic photo of The Old Mill Restaurant in Pigeon Forge.

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.

More Smoky Mountain & Gatlinburg Restaurants

The Peddler Steakhouse in Gatlinburg TN.

These are just some of the incredible Smoky Mountain and Gatlinburg restaurants that you should visit during your vacation! There are several types of cuisines in the area, as well as types of restaurants. You can a ton of places to choose from when it comes to breakfast restaurants or casual eateries. Whether you’re in the mood for pizza or are looking for somewhere to have dinner with a view, you’ll have plenty of places to eat in Gatlinburg and the Smoky Mountains. Other popular restaurants in the area include Crockett’s Breakfast Camp, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen, and The Peddler Steakhouse.

Now you know about the famous restaurants in Gatlinburg TN you don’t want to miss. But what if you want to get off the beaten path and try some of the local eateries too? Check out our guide to local restaurants in the Smoky Mountains for even more great places to eat!

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