If you’re anything like me, you’re landing on this page as you’re sitting in your hotel room or cabin, currently on vacation in Gatlinburg, and trying to decide where the best restaurants are in Gatlinburg. I almost never pre-plan many of the restaurants I go to while traveling because I love asking locals and popping into hole-in-the-wall spots. However, that can sometimes be a major fail. So, if you just want to know the must-eat places in Gatlinburg, then look no further.
I only have 6 on this list of the places you must eat in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, because I strongly believe if you’re visiting the area then you should spend time in your cabin cooking meals together or grabbing groceries and heading out for a picnic in The Smoky Mountain National Park. Many of the restaurants in Gatlinburg are too touristy or have a big chain restaurant atmosphere.
I’m a sucker for reading a ton of reviews and stalking a restaurant’s social media before deciding I want to try it. Luckily, I know first-hand that these restaurants in Gatlinburg are some of the yummiest and most fun!
1. PANCAKE PANTRY
This is, hands down, one of the very best restaurants in Gatlinburg. Located right in the heart of Downtown Gatlinburg, the Pancake Pantry is extremely popular and for good reason. The meals are amazing. So good, in fact, that eating at the Pancake Pantry is one of my 9 Must-Do’s for a Family Vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee!
There is almost always a long line to get into the Pancake Pantry but don’t let that turn you away! This breakfast and lunch restaurant has nailed down the system. They turn over tables quickly and you’ll be surprised with how fast the wait line moves. Have kids with you? Even better. This is one of the best restaurants for families visiting Gatlinburg! The Pancake Pantry prioritizes its wait-list by allowing families with children to snag the table over adults.
My personal favorite at the Pancake Pantry is the french toast or chocolate chip pancakes. Their maple syrup has cinnamon in it that just takes your sweet breakfast to the next damn level. I think my mouth is watering just writing this. If sweets aren’t your thing, don’t worry! They have an impressive selection of omelets, burgers, sandwiches, and delicious sides. The Pancake Pantry just might be the best restaurant in all of Tennessee, if you ask me.
- Location: 628 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
- Hours: Open Daily from 7am – 3pm; Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas; No Reservations
- TWF Favorite: French Toast, Swiss Chocolate Chip Pancakes, & Wildberry Crepes
2. GREENBRIAR RESTAURANT
The Greenbriar Restaurant is nestled into the forest but located right on the outskirts of the main downtown area. Open only for dinner, it’s actually in a great location and you’ll feel like you’re sliding into the ultimate Smoky Mountain atmosphere. It feels romantic, cozy, and special.
You can get a reservation at the Greenbriar Restaurant so I highly recommend it. They have beautiful creek views and charming staff from the front to the back of the house. If you don’t get a reservation, ask them for a table in the bar area which is first-come-first-serve. We sat there twice and loved the atmosphere, food, and watching all of the gorgeous cocktails head out to the guests.
Known for being a steakhouse, we had divine red meat and impressive seafood. Don’t sleep on the cocktails here. There is something for everyone and totally a highlight of the evening.
- Location: 370 Newman Road, Gatlinburg, TN 37738
- Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 4:30 – 9:00pm; Closed Mondays
- Favorite Dish: Salmon or NY Strip
- Favorite Cocktail: Volsteas
3. TENNESSEE JED’S
Tennessee Jed’s is an easy grab-and-go or quick spot for insanely good sandwiches. I remember when I was sitting in your spot looking up the best restaurants in Gatlinburg and I kept seeing Tennessee Jed’s pop up everywhere. I wasn’t looking for a sandwich shop at the time, but after reading the 5-star reviews, I figured we couldn’t leave Gatlinburg without digging into one of their sandwiches.
We popped into Tennessee Jed’s just before we headed into the Smoky Mountain National Park for a 6-mile hike. We grabbed sandwiches, had some small talk with the friendly workers, and went on our way. The sandwiches disappeared in minutes, and our jaws dropped at the layers of goodness in our hands.
Not going to lie, Tennessee Jed’s is home to my favorite Turkey Bacon Ranch sandwich! I just couldn’t get over how perfect it was from the fresh bread to thick tasty bacon. They also have breakfast options like biscuits and gravy and ham, egg, and cheese sandwiches. If you’re looking for a quick and soul-satisfying breaky, head to Tennessee Jed’s! No photo due to a lack of self-control with food in front of me.
- Location: 631 Parkway Ste. A8, Gatlinburg, TN
- Hours: 8am – 3:30pm
- Favorite Sandwich: Turkey Bacon Ranch!
4. RED OAK BISTRO
Red Oak Bistro is unique for the Gatlinburg area. Unlike many of the casual, southern-style, or chain restaurants, Red Oak Bistro has a European flair featuring tapas and small plates inspired by the Mediterranean and Eastern European cuisines.
Again, try to snag a reservation if you can. Sometimes they don’t take any walk-ins. It’s a perfect place to sit with friends, sip on wine, beer, or bourbon, and share the delicious plates of food that will make your taste buds dance. The atmosphere is laid-back and comfortable, making it a solid spot to settle into an evening on the terrace.
- Location: 669 Glades Rd, Gatlinburg, TN
- Hours: Thursday – Sunday 4:30 – 10:00; Closed Monday – Wednesday; Reservations Recommended
- Favorite Item: Menu changes but salmon bruschetta is great!
5. THE OLD MILL
The Old Mill isn’t located right in Gatlinburg, but instead, up the road in Pigeon Forge, but it shouldn’t be missed. Serving up southern classics, this restaurant is worth the drive.
Its history is as good as the food. As one of the oldest continually operating mills in the country, you’ll want to get a photograph of the historic structure.
Make sure you bring your appetite and the whole family to The Old Mill with you. The food is served “family style”, meaning it’s large servings meant to be shared with the whole table! From country-fried chicken to pot roast, this comfort food is sure to please your taste buds.
Make sure to stop in the shop before you leave to stock up on some Old Mill goodies, or head next door to the Old Forge Distillery.
- Location: 164 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN
- Hours: Sunday – Thursday 8:00am – 8:30pm; Friday – Saturday 8:00am – 9:00pm; No Reservations
- TWF Favorite: Old Mill Chicken & Dumplings
6. OLE RED RESTAURANT
One of the best restaurants in Gatlinburg will have you dancing in your seat, singing country music, and chowing down on Redneck Nachos! Part-owner, Blake Shelton, wanted to create a space where people have good food and even better music. They have live shows on the daily, making it the perfect place to hear country music and grab a beer.
The restaurant is really spacious with great seating for viewing the stage all-over. It’s really popular for big groups celebrating, and has such good vibes that you’ll catch yourself staying for hours. They don’t’ accept reservations, so expect a little bit of a wait. It’s totally worth it if you’re looking for great musical entertainment while you eat.
- Location: 511 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN
- Hours: 11:00am – 10:00pm (or “late night”); No Reservations
- TWF Favorite: Southern Tater Tot Poutine
I spent so many summers in Gatlinburg, Tennessee as a kid, and food was always the heart of so many great memories. If you’re heading to Gatlinburg, Tennessee, I hope you fill your days with plenty of good food, music, entertainment, hiking, shopping, and more. There’s something for everyone for this town.