When it comes down to where to eat in the Smokies, your best bet is to head to the local grocery store and stock the fridge for the weekend. Not into cooking or don’t want to cook everything night?! We get it. Sometimes you just wanna get outta the house and explore the eats around town. Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville are stacked with loads of chain restaurants and tourist traps. So where are the hidden gems and the best restaurants in East Tennessee?! Here are our suggestions for the Best Places to Eat near Smoky Mountain National Park.
Wanna grab fresh pastries for the cabin/dome?! Wanna take the crew out for brunch?! Here are the Best Places to Eat Breakfast near Smoky Mountain National Park:
This local cafe serves up craft lattes, organic tea and fresh pastries baked in house daily. All of their coffee and tea are either locally sourced or ethically fair trade. We just love their passion for sustainable produce in hopes of a better future for everyone. They also have 4/20 friendly dummies and other hemp products. Click here to learn more about hours and their shop.
Cafe slash book store located just down the road from GLAMP! If you need to re-up on your book game to pass the time in your dome or a morning fancy latte instead of K-pods, this is your local go to spot! Click here to see their hours and get directions! Go to the WiFi lounge to download the maps before heading out for the day!
If you want a big sit down breakfast with all the fixings this is the spot.
Open at 5 am every morning in The Village in downtown Gatlinburg, this historic shop is in the touristy area but it is a historical staple in town. It has been slinging donuts since 1970. All donuts range from $0.97-$1.14 each. They are cash only so make sure to bring ya Benjamins. Click here to learn more about their history and other shop details.
Need a quick grab and go situation to put into your backpack while you explore the national park?! Wanna take a load off after a full morning of hiking? Here are the Best Places to Eat Lunch near Smoky Mountain National Park that aren’t McDonald’s or anything in downtown Gatlinburg…
Best parts of this spot other then its location in the artist district?! British food at a dog friendly family owned restaurant. The food is nothing to write home about but the beer is cold and you can get something different than what you find just a few minutes down the road in Downtown Gatlinburg. Try the Sheppards Pie. Click here to see their website!
Drive too fast from GLAMP and you’ll cruise right by this place. Just down the road from your campsite you can find this small lunch spot inside an old 1980 school bus! The serve anything from ribs to homemade chili. Go fill up on some post hiking fuel before heading back to the GLAMP site after a day of exploring.
About 30 minutes from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, this Forbes Award-Winning restaurant is one of the most high rated places to eat in the whole area and worth the drive. Elvira’s Cafe in next on our list of Best Places to Eat near Smoky Mountain National Park. Expect fresh food made right in front of you with local ingredients by people who love what they do. It’s truly and experience. Click here to learn more about this epic lunch, breakfast and dinner spot!
This local part grocery part cafe is a vegan friendly option and a great healthy spot for lunch. You can sit in the cafe from 11am-3pm Monday to Saturday. You can sit and work on their wifi if you are working remotely or you can grab a quick bite to take with you on your adventures that day in the mountains. Make sure to always take your trash with you as this is one of the most trafficked national parks and we all need to do our part. Click here to be taken to their site for all the deets.
In downtown Sevierville, near most of our cabins, is Graze Burgers. This is a local favorite featuring grass fed local beef burgers. And don’t get us started on the milkshakes. Make sure to treat yourself to some MEAT in the mountains!
This one part food truck park, another part arts and crafts fair is one of the coolest spots in the foothills of the Smokies in Wears Valley. The vendors and food trucks switch in and out but check here for a list of trucks that frequent the park to get an idea of the menu. Super fun for the whole crew who may have picky eaters.
Sick of the same ole cabin food? There’s only so many boxes of noodles one can handle. Take the fam out for a steak dinner or some epic southern style evening grub at these fine establishments.
If you are from Nashville, you are familiar with The Listening Room. It is a locally famous restaurant for their singer songwriter nights. The likes of Chris Stapleton and the ACTUAL writers of the songs that are all over the radio have played the stage. And The Listening Room in the Smokies is bringing Nashville to the Smoky Mountains. Located in downtown Gatlinburg, this one is a tride and true spots you know is good and you’ll probably hear live music. Click here to see the schedule of who will be performing during your stay here!
Tennessee is known for its BBQ. Wanna get your hands on where the locals go for smack yo momma BBQ?! It’s Bones. Call ahead and order pick up to take away for the cabin/dome or sit in their family friendly dining room. It is super yum.
Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant
Known for their apple fritters, this one is a great spot to end your trip to the Smokies. This is Sevierville’s oldest restaurant dating back to the 1770’s. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but like I said… apple fritter dessert is bomb and sure to make you leave the Smokies feeling like you ate your way through the mountains.
Also open most of the day for brunch, lunch, and dinner is Pottery House Cafe. They serve up sammies, salads and loads of American style hearty options. Their bread is baked on site daily with grains straight from the mill. There is an entire district of buildings including a creamery, a shop and much more. Check the map above. They are open until 9pm to eat.
PRO TIP: Always make sure to check the hours on all these restaurants. A lot of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge restaurants do not have big city hours.
This is THE steakhouse to try if you are in the Smokies. Their chef curated menu has organic product and fresh meat. Try the Dylan cocktail for someone who likes boujee! They are closed Mondays, have brunch on Sundays, and are open Tuesday to Sunday on Dudley Creek. This is a great spot for birthdays or special occasions!
No trip to the Tennessee mountains is complete without a sweet treat. If you have a hankering for banana pudding or the most yum soft serve ice cream you’ve ever had, check out these spots.
Think craft “create your own” cinnamon rolls. And then keep thinking about them forever because these bad boys are epic. All rolls are 100% vegan, dairy free and low cholesterol. They also have other homemade baked goods like cookies, brownies, and chocolate covered strawberries for the lovers who comes out to GLAMP to elope or for a honeymoon! For more info on how to book your wedding at GLAMP, email us firstname.lastname@example.org or click here to learn more about events.
This 50’s style soda shop serves up a “cow-to-cone” soft serve. They are passionate about their cows never being given hormones so it is a better cream! Also expect out of this world flavors like Nutella, red velvet and lavender honey. Check em out in Sevierville here.
Speaking of 50’s diners, Sunliner Diner is the quintessential Instagrammers dream in the heart of Pigeon Forge. Also get ready to have every sweet tooth satisfied. Between the all day breakfast and extensive dessert list (ahem… banana splits, milkshakes, and everything in between), this is the SPOT for a treat.
This local chain has all sorts of sweet treats. But make sure to check this one location out specifically in Pigeon Forge. It is in an old Sonic building and so it has that old school feel perfect way to cool off on a summer day. Click here for the location to get directions to the correct one. If you don’t care about the vibe and only want the treats, check out their other locations in the are here.
Most of these spots also have food, good for lunch or dinner. But if you are like us, we are here for the party. So if you are drinkers, these are some hidden gems for good cocktails or fancy tastings.
This is the oldest craft brewery in town, which is hilarious because it was opened only in 1996. Moonshine is king in East Tennessee. So true to their TN roots, they serve up a long list of craft beers for those of us who love a cold one after a day of hiking. Go to the Pigeon Forge location for max vibes. It has 20+ TVs for sports games and whatever is going on in the world. Click here to see their hours.
Wanna get white girl wasted on your bach trip?! Wanna loosen up the group on your corporate retreat?! Or just plan a day trip around the area during your week with the fam? Check out the Rocky Top Wine Trail. The trail includes 5 wineries: Hillside Winery, Apple Barn Winery, Apple Barn Cider House, Mountain Valley Winery, and Milly Bridge Winery. All 5 featuring over 75 different variations of wine grown in the area. There is no fee to do the trail making it the perfect activity for the drinking crowd. But you can upgrade yo’self to the VIP wine experience who will take you around to all of them! Click here to learn more.
And there you have it…Best Places to Eat near Smoky Mountain National Park. Downtown Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are typically super touristy so avoid going to those places unless they are on this list on our other Minty musts blog here. There is lots of good ol country cooking so get ready for BBQ and bread bread bread. We included the healthy options cause you are gonna crave a salad with all the treats. Hope we get to host you during your time in the Smokies because the best times are in the kitchens making dinner together. Unplugging from the world and creating memories together is why you are there after all.