The Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge areas of Tennessee are known for their Southern comfort foods such as homemade biscuits, cornbread, and grits, as well as sweets such as homemade maple syrup, taffy, and fudge. Whether you crave sweet or savory, you’ll find it on the food scene in Gatlinburg. While tourists may gather at the area’s many pancake houses and candy shops, you’ll find even more delectable good eats off the beaten path. Consider broadening your horizons and dining at these top 5 local only restaurants in Gatlinburg during your stay for a true taste of the region!
Whole Earth Grocery & Café
Dine in at the café or pick up ingredients to be prepared and enjoyed from the privacy of your Gatlinburg vacation rental. Whole Earth Grocery & Café offers organic foods, seasonal produce, herbs, and other natural items. The café is known for its vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, making it a great choice for those following a specific eating plan. Their lunch menu features a wide variety of salads, sandwiches, wraps, and fresh juices. The lentil burger is a favorite, topped with spring mix, tomatoes, red onions, and vegan mayo and served on a sprouted grain bun. They also serve 2- to 4-oz wellness shots made with ingredients such as lemon, ginger, and turmeric. Whether gathering healthy snacks to bring along on a Great Smoky Mountains National Park trail or searching for a full meal that will meet your selective standards, Whole Earth Grocery & Café is the go-to place for healthy eats in Gatlinburg.
Cakes by Bakin’ Bishop
Curb your sweet tooth craving at Cakes by Bakin’ Bishop, a tiny bakery located in the heart of Pigeon Forge. What looks like a small wooden cabin from the outside is actually home to some of the best customized cakes and cupcakes around. Cakes by Bakin’ Bishop is a local favorite for customized desserts for weddings, birthdays, and other special events. They also offer a daily menu of freshly baked items such as whoopie pies, brownies, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and cupcakes. Many of the desserts can be ordered by the single, half-dozen, or dozen, providing the option of saving some for later to be enjoyed at your Gatlinburg vacation rental!
Wild Plum Tea Room
Wild Plum Tea Room is an Australian-style tea house tucked away in a cabin-like setting surrounded by thick greenery. The old-fashioned interior is complete with small round tables and high-backed wooden chairs. This favorite lunch spot offers up seafood specials, sandwiches, burgers, salads, soups, and dessert that are the perfect option for refueling mid-day. Feel whisked away to another time and place as you feast on savory comfort foods such as lobster pie alongside a cup of hot or iced wild plum tea. End your meal with a slice of homemade lemon cake topped with fresh peaches, Peach Schnapps, and peach ice cream, topped with a dollop of whipped cream.
Trish’s Mountain Diner
Grab breakfast or lunch (or dinner on the weekends) at Trish’s Mountain Diner, where you can sit in the cozy dining room complete with wood flooring or out on the expansive deck. Dining at Trish’s is reminiscent of sitting down to a homecooked family meal, one of the many reasons locals flock to this favorite diner. Trish’s serves up hearty plates for breakfast with generous portions, perfect for if you want to start the day with a filling meal before heading out on the trail. The mountaineer breakfast meals come with two eggs, a choice of potatoes, grits, or gravy, and a choice of a biscuit or toast. Choose among breakfast mains such as the ribeye steak or country fried steak to start your day. When it’s on special, the homecooked meatloaf is a favorite lunch option!
Situated in a renovated 100-year-old building and serving Gatlinburg’s residents for 75 years, Howard’s Steakhouse is a Gatlinburg mainstay. This sprawling eatery is situated right along the river, so dining on the outdoor deck overlooking the water is a particularly pleasant experience. Enjoy lunch, dinner, or drinks in the upstairs pub at Howard’s, which stays open until 10-11pm on most evenings. Start your meal out with an order of fried mushrooms to share, perfectly fried and served with honey mustard or ranch for dipping. Howard’s is known for their steaks that are cut and prepared onsite as well as their thick, juicy burgers. Their steaks come with two sides, with the option of also adding an order of rainbow trout or half slab of ribs as an additional side. Their half-pound burgers are ground in house and are some of the best in town! Howard’s is also known for their excellent Bloody Marys, the perfect end to an evening in Gatlinburg.
Dine alongside the locals on your Tennessee vacation at these top 5 local-only restaurants in Gatlinburg, TN! Be sure to browse our beautiful Gatlinburg holiday vacation rentals today! Also, book one of our best Pigeon Forge holiday rentals, as well as our Pigeon Forge weekly rentals!