There are numerous places to eat in Gatlinburg, TN for breakfast, lunch, and dinner which forces visitors to either take a chance on a local restaurant they may have never heard of or go the safe route and choose a familiar chain restaurant in Gatlinburg. While there are plenty of chain restaurants such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Hard Rock Cafe, etc there are a lot more locally-owned Gatlinburg restaurants that serve up amazing food and southern hospitality that bring visitors back year after year! This ultimate guide to Gatlinburg restaurants reveals 7 of the best locally-owned restaurants in Gatlinburg known for their food, service, views, history, etc. Whether looking for a romantic restaurant tucked away in the mountains or a happening family pizza joint on the strip, there is something for everyone of all ages in the list below!
About the Ultimate Guide to Local Gatlinburg Restaurants
In this guide of places to eat in Gatlinburg, TN are 7 of the best non-chain, local restaurants that cannot be found anywhere else. They are all locally owned, ran by locals, as well as frequented by locals. These Gatlinburg restaurant listings provide links to menus & maps, addresses, phone numbers, links to their official websites, operating hours, descriptions for each, and notes on whether the restaurant is more appropriate for adults or for families with young children based on the selection of food and prices. The list features everything from Gatlinburg fine dining restaurants to cafes that specialize in breakfast, lunch, or dinner and notes are provided stating what each are best for.
Tips for Dining in Gatlinburg
Dining in Gatlinburg can sometimes be a bit trickier than dining in other towns simply due to the limited parking in downtown Gatlinburg. Fortunately, almost every restaurant in our list is either located off the parkway or is located in a shopping center that has parking available. This is a must for locals as getting in-and-out of restaurants while avoiding traffic is practically a requirement for living and working around Gatlinburg, TN.
While these restaurants have fairly easy parking and access, there are still quite a few tips that can make eating in Gatlinburg the best experience possible. No matter which choice of where to eat in Gatlinburg, TN the following tips come in handy just about everywhere even if choosing a Gatlinburg restaurant not listed below.
- Ask locals: While our list definitely has some great places to eat, there may be specific questions such as if any gluten-free meals are provided, is there handicap parking/access, can large groups be accommodated, etc. We often suggest asking the locals about the best places to eat in Gatlinburg when checking into a hotel, cabin rental, etc or while shopping or even eating somewhere. Talking in person can provide much more insight into specific places.
- Ask about favorite dishes or specials: Be sure to ask the waiter about the most popular items on the menu. Many restaurants specialize in at least one thing, so make sure to take the chance and try the dish they are famous for.
- Take in the history: A few of the restaurants in Gatlinburg mentioned below are located in original cabins or lodges built long ago. While a first impression may leave one thinking a place is dingy or old, think of the history of the place and how it may have looked without electricity or even running water. The true character of the Appalachian heritage can be found in quite a few places to eat in Gatlinburg.
- Soak in the view: Some of the restaurants below such as The Lodge at Buckberry Creek have breathtaking views. There are few places in the world that have the setting and scenery that can be found in these Smoky Mountain Restaurants, so soak it in and enjoy!
- Call ahead: During weekends and especially through holidays there are typically long waits at many area restaurants. We have provided phone numbers for each restaurant below, so be sure to give them a call to ask about reservations or call-ahead seating to get you seating and eating much faster.
- Parking and validation: If you choose to eat at a restaurant in downtown Gatlinburg, call ahead and ask where their suggested parking is, if it’s free, and if it is not free then ask if they validate parking tickets so that parking fees can be avoided.
- Gatlinburg restaurant coupons: be sure to check out our coupons page to find Gatlinburg restaurant coupons and discounts to save money when eating in Gatlinburg.
Following these tips can definitely help out at any Gatlinburg restaurant, so be sure to consider them. So with that out of the way, let’s dive into the best places to eat in Gatlinburg, Tennessee!
The Best Local Restaurants in Gatlinburg TN
- The Peddler Steakhouse
One of the best Gatlinburg restaurants with the longest history is The Peddler, which has quite an amazing history and even more amazing food. Locally-loved throughout the years for their salad bar, steaks, and desserts The Peddler has moved from being Gatlinburg’s best-kept-secret on River Road to a popular must-eat-at restaurant in Gatlinburg for people from all over. Make sure to do call-ahead seating!
Sample Menu: https://peddlergatlinburg.com/menu/
Open for dinner only
Address: 820 River Road | Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Map & Directions
- Buckhorn Inn Restaurant
The Buckhorn Inn originated in 1938 and has a long history of rave reviews and return-visitors. They serve great breakfast, lunch, and a four-course dinner with a menu that changes daily. Be sure to call ahead for reservations…especially for dinner, which is $35 per person for the four-course fine dining meal.
Evening Menu: http://www.buckhorninn.com/dining/evening-dining/
Open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Address: 2140 Tudor Mountain Road | Gatlinburg, Tennessee 37738 | Map & Directions
- Log Cabin Pancake House
Gatlinburg has quite a few pancake houses and restaurants, but The Log Cabin Pancake House is consistently a favorite among locals and visitors alike! They serve up Belgian waffles, Crepes, and of course pancakes! The Log Cabin Pancake House also has a location in Pigeon Forge as well, so be sure to eat at either one for breakfast during your next visit!
Address: 327 Historic Nature Trl | Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Map & Directions
- Wild Plum Tea Room
The Wild Plum Tea Room has been a “wildly” popular local eatery for decades in the Arts & Crafts Community of Gatlinburg. Known for their fresh ingredients and excellent treats such as wild plum muffins and wild plum tea, The Wild Plum Tearoom is a great place to stop for lunch as they are open seasonally from March 1 through Mid-December.
Wild Plum Tea Room Menu: https://www.wildplumtearoom.com/
Open Monday-Saturday 11am-3pm (Closed Sundays)
Address: 555 Buckhorn Road | Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Map & Directions
- Best Italian
If a restaurant is named “Best Italian”, it probably has high expectations…right? Well the Best Italian Restaurant in Gatlinburg, TN has been serving the area for over 30 years while being known for their garlic rolls and large pizzas. The Best Italian Restaurant is a good choice for lunch or dinner for people of all ages with plenty on the menu and decent prices. If you’re in the mood for pizza when you’re in Gatlinburg, don’t settle for a chain…try Best Italian!
Address: 968 Parkway # 9 | Gatlinburg, TN 37738 | Map & Directions
Final Thoughts about Gatlinburg Restaurants
If you have eaten at any of the Gatlinburg restaurants listed above, be sure to let us know in the comments section below! Also, if you think a different non-chain restaurant belongs in the list above, be sure to mention it as well. Our Pigeon Forge guide also has a list of the best Pigeon Forge restaurants.
We will work to keep this list updated as new restaurants open and old ones close, so be sure to check back before you visit Gatlinburg to get the latest list of the best places to eat in Gatlinburg. Take a look at our coupons article as well for Gatlinburg restaurant coupons
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