My four year old son asks me when we can go back to Tennessee, daily. I don’t know if it was the game room in the cabin that we rented, the time with family spent, the fun activities we enjoyed, or the yummy food we ate – but needless to say, it was a memorable experience for him. We rented a cabin and had a fully equipped kitchen and did a lot of cooking at home, but could not resist a lot of the sweet offerings in these mountain towns. Here are our recommendation of the best places to eat in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
Our Top 4 Places to Eat in Gatlinburg & Pigeon Forge
The Apple Barn and Cider Mill
The Apple Barn is a must stop in my opinion. This adorable little campus located smack dab in the middle of the strip in Pigeon Forge is the perfect stop for an afternoon snack, or any meal of the day. We opted for a snack and can I just say, FRIED APPLE PIE! The frozen cider was delicious and refreshing for a hot day. Our little ones decided on ice cream at the creamery. We loved that there were many options for everyone in the extended family.
The Old Mill
The Old Mill is a Pigeon Forge institution. The mill itself has run since 1830. The building is on the National Register for Historic Places. The restaurant serves up all the tried and true Southern dishes your heart could desire. I had Chicken Pot Pie and Blueberry Cobbler – yumm!
Bush’s Baked Bean Visitor Center
When someone suggested a Bush’s Baked Bean Restaurant, I had to go! Not because I love beans so much, but quirky things like a Baked Bean Visitor Center is so up my alley.
This is exactly what I would classify as a hidden gem. Not only is the Bush’s Baked Bean Visitor Center a little off the beaten path, as it’s on US-411 on the way in or out of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, but there is a really entertaining and educational museum about beans and farming. The gift shop is filled with cute home items like soap dishes, dish towels, aprons, and other farm-house style decor. I kind of went crazy in there.
The food is also very down-home country cooking, reasonably priced, plus a lot of options of homemade dessert. Make sure to get the Pinto Bean Pecan Pie – whatttt? The milkshakes looked pretty darn good too.
You definitely have your choice of places to get a pancake in the Smokey Mountains. Pancakes shops are EVERYWHERE. We stopped by the Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg for a late afternoon snack. Of course, we had to get pancakes! It was the perfect time to go, because we skipped the long lines this place can produce in the mornings. The atmosphere is adorable – a German looking chalet in the middle of The Villages. Their website said they were the first pancake house in the area. Did they start the trend? I would recommend the Sweet Potato Pancakes. My brother-in-law got them. They were out of this world.
Upon arrival at Pigeon Forge, it will soon be obvious that it is the town that Dolly built. Everywhere, and I mean everywhere, there is something related to Dolly Parton. On our last day in town we decided to attend one of her dinner shows. Technically, it was a lunch show, but the 4 coarse meal and the 32 Horse Trick Show was a lot of fun. Think “Medieval Times” with better food, better music, and Southern Style.
What would you say are the best places to eat in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge? Leave us a comment and let us know!