As most travelers know, if you want to learn about the best places to visit, shop, and dine, you ask local residents. To make it easier for you, we have compiled a list and a detailed description of restaurants in the Gatlinburg area that are highly recommended by local residents. Pick a few of these Gatlinburg local restaurants and see for yourself why they are local favorites.
The Pancake Pantry
Opened in 1960, the Pancake Pantry was the first pancake house in Gatlinburg, and it is the most popular. Of course, that means you will have to wait in line. The Pancake Pantry prides themselves on serving real butter, fresh whipped cream, and making everything from scratch, including their syrups and compotes. They have remained popular by creating new dishes while retaining guest favorites
For breakfast, they offer 24 varieties of pancakes and crepes, waffles, eggs, omelets, ham, bacon, sausage, and buttery hash browns. They start serving lunch at 11:30 am offering specialty hamburgers, gourmet sandwiches, soups, and salads. They also offer a kids' menu. Note: It is CASH ONLY.
Address & Hours: Located at 628 Parkway in Gatlinburg. It is open daily from 7 am to 4 pm.
At the Alamo Steakhouse, they control the quality of their food by doing most of the food preparation in-house. They start with aged steaks that they hand cut and season themselves. The steaks are then grilled over an oak fire, searing in the juices and natural flavors to create tender and mouthwatering steaks. They give the same attention to their burgers, grinding the meat themselves. Their soups, sauces, and gravies are also prepared in-house. They even hand-bread and cook the mozzarella sticks themselves. For their efforts, the Alamo Steakhouse received a 2017 Travel Advisor Certificate of Excellence.
Besides the mozzarella sticks, the Alamo Steakhouse offers Flame Grilled Oysters, Bacon Wrapped Shrimp, Fried Calimari, and Texas Taters among their appetizers to start your meal. For lunch, you have a choice of steak, pork chops, shrimp, salmon, and a variety of chicken. Soups and sandwiches are also available. Steak is on the menu for dinner. Finally, save room for one of six desserts including a Chocolate Burrito.
The Alamo Steakhouse is part of the Johnson Family of Restaurants that started in 1991 with Bennett’s Pit BBQ in Pigeon Forge (listed next). They now have eleven restaurants featuring seven different concepts. The Johnson Family of Restaurants maintains the same control over the quality of their food in all of their restaurants. They also train their staff to provide the best service and experience for you in all of their restaurants.
Address & Hours of Operation: 3050 Parkway, Pigeon Forge (The Alamo Steakhouse had two locations but the location at 705 East Parkway in Gatlinburg is temporarily closed but scheduled to reopen this Fall.) Open Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 3 pm for lunch and 3 pm to 10 pm for dinner. Open Friday and Saturday 11 am to 3 pm for lunch and 3 pm to 11 pm for dinner.
Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que
As mentioned, Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que is part of the Johnson Family of Restaurants that includes the Alamo Steakhouse. Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que creates their own BBQ sauce and bastes it over pulled pork, pork ribs, beef brisket, and chicken as it smokes over hickory wood for up to 14 hours. You can taste the BBQ flavor in every bite, but they serve all of their items with a side of sauce, so you can add even more flavor. Their efforts have earned them the Travel Advisor Certificate of Excellence every year since 2012.
Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que offers an all-you-can-eat breakfast bar with pulled pork included. Lunch is served from 11 am to 3 pm and includes appetizers, soups, sandwiches, burgers, and platters. Some lunch menu items are carried over to the dinner menu along with dinner platters that feature all the BBQ choices that you could desire. If you have room, they have a choice of three desserts that are on the lighter side to satisfy any sweet cravings.
Address & Hours: Located at 714 River Road in Gatlinburg and 2910 Parkway in Pigeon Forge. Open Sunday through Thursday from 8 am to 10 pm and Friday and Saturday from 8 am to 11 pm.
Best Italian Cafe and Pizzeria
The Best Italian Cafe and Pizzeria opened in 1968 and is one of the Gatlinburg local restaurants that is highly recommended. They offer large portions and have a patio for outdoor dining. They are famous for their New York style pizza, garlic rolls, and calzones. However, they also have a large variety of antipasto items to start your meal, such as Artichoke Bake with crabmeat, Calimari, and Fried Cheese Ravioli. In addition, they offer a variety of pasta dishes such as Eggplant Parmesan, Chef Paul's Seafood Medley, Tenderloin Tips Marsala, and Chicken Marinara. A menu that should please everyone.
Address & Hours: The Best Italian Cafe and Pizzeria has two locations. One location at 710 Parkway and the original location at 968 Parkway in Gatlinburg. Open Sunday through Thursday from 11 am to 10 pm and open Friday and Saturday from 11 am to 11 pm.
The Donut Friar
Grab a donut or cinnamon twist and a coffee for breakfast or for an afternoon or late night snack. The Donut Friar opened in 1969 and everything is made from scratch daily. They offer a large selection of donuts and pastries but be advised, they only take cash..
Address & Hours: Located at 634 Parkway in Gatlinburg. Open Sunday through Friday from 5 am to 8 pm and Saturday from 5 am to 10 pm.
This selection of favorite Gatlinburg local restaurants should keep your taste buds satisfied during your stay in Gatlinburg, but you can always ask one of the city's friendly local residents if you have a craving for something else.