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Everyone loves a good deal, but sometimes a good deal can be hard to find when you come to one of the most visited places in the country!  Gatlinburg is well-known as a vacation destination for families and couples here on the east coast.  Often times, busy tourist towns can be known for their high prices – especially when it comes to dining out.  Let us help you navigate some of the best places you can eat in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge all while keeping money in your wallet.

A woman counting American money

Parton’s Deli – 

This simple sandwich shop has been a staple for tourists and locals in Gatlinburg since the mid 1970s. While the exterior is relatively plain and unassuming, inside you’ll find plenty of delicious steamed sandwiches and hot dogs, as well as their famous deviled eggs and potato salad.  

The food is straight forward without any complicated menu items.  Sandwiches are $4.99 for a small and $5.99 for a large. Make sure you try the pumpernickel roll for something you won’t find anywhere else in town.  Finally, your made-to-order sandwich is steamed and dressed to perfection for a mouthwatering combination of flavors. Finish off your lunch with their classic lemon pound cake and you’ll be ready to hit the town on a full belly.  Just make sure to bring cash – Parton’s Deli does not accept credit or debit cards.  

Don’t want to dine in? Make a picnic lunch out of your meal.  Grab a few bags of chips, a soft drink or two, and even a couple of MoonPies and get it to go!

Parton’s Deli is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9a-5p; closed Sunday and Monday.  


Old Dad’s – 

Old Dad’s General Store has a classic deli counter with a delicious variety of food to satisfy any appetite at breakfast, lunch, or an early dinner!  The breakfast menu serves up ready-made biscuits right at the counter, or order a customized biscuit or sandwich and browse the store while you wait. This amazing deli can serve as a one-stop-shop for a day of adventure in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or gearing up for Cades Cove.  Grab breakfast AND lunch here!  The best part of the deli sandwiches?  You can order them picnic style! All your toppings will be placed on the side so you won’t have a soggy sandwich on your scenic drive or hike.  Grab a few other staples, like candy, snacks, or a soda and you’ll be ready for a day of adventure.  

And remember – We love our park. Don’t feed the bears!

Old Dad’s is open daily from 7a-5p (deli).  Check out their menu before you head over, and order by phone to avoid waiting times. 

Hot Diggity Dawg – 

Hot dogs are a classic summer staple.  Why not let someone else do the work for you?  Hot Diggity Dawg offers up 100% all beef for 100% all turkey dogs, as well as Polish or Italian sausage.  Everyone in the family will find something they like with low prices and affordable toppings to customize your hot dog any way you like. Don’t forget to grab dessert while you’re here.  Try MaMa’s Coconut cake or MaMa’s German Chocolate – two cake recipes straight from Grandma herself!

Hot Diggity Dawg offers plenty of ways to enjoy a meal – visit the restaurant, call ahead and order by phone for pick up, or maybe even get a delivery to your Gatlinburg cabin!  Be sure to check out their menu on their website. 

Hot Diggity Dawg is open every day from 11a-9p. 

J.O.E. & Pop’s –

Located just down the road from downtown Gatlinburg, J.O.E. & Pop’s Sub Shoppe is worth the stop, especially if you’re heading to one of our favorite swimming spots in the Smokies in Greenbrier!  The specialty sub platters here come with TWO sides.  Order a large “Pop” platter and share it with someone in your group for even more savings!

Nothing on their menu exciting your taste buds?  Luckily, Mama’s Chicken Kitchen is in the same building.  Their chicken meals come with two side AND a biscuit with jam.  With so much food to choose from, everyone in the family will be able to find and share something they love.  Check out what one local review site thinks of these tasty restaurants: 

J.O.E. & Pop’s, as well as Mama’s Chicken Kitchen are open daily from 11a-10p.  Check out their menus before you go, or order online or by phone to skip the line and have your food waiting when you arrive!  https://www.joeandpops.com/menu


Split Rail Eats – 

Hitting up the Arts & Crafts Community for a little while on your Gatlinburg Vacation?

A newer breakfast and lunch spot, Split Rail Eats has both dine in and carry out options, as well as a bakery case to choose a few goodies for the road!  Grab a few of their appetizers to pass around and share. Appetizers include savory choices like spinach and feta hand pies, cheese curds with jalapeno ranch dressing, and caramelized onion naan with pimento cheese and a side of dill pickles.  In addition to their bakery counter, grab a few cinnamon roll hand pies (or make it a’la mode!) and you’ve got yourself a late morning snack to keep you fueled through the fun attractions of downtown Gatlinburg.  

Split Rail Eats is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9a-5p, Sunday 10a-3p, and closed on Mondays.  Be sure to check out their menu before you go: https://www.splitraileats.com/menu

Mel’s Diner –

A classic diner is always a great option when you’re looking for a cheap meal in Pigeon Forge. No matter how many are in your party or how picky of an eater, there’s always something for everyone when you choose to eat at a diner. As you’d expect from a diner, you can get your fill of sandwiches, hamburgers, and hot dogs.  The real standouts on this menu are the home cookin’ dinners served with two sides and Texas toast. Chicken pot pies, pot roast, and even hand-breaded catfish suppers can fill the belly at a price that won’t empty your wallet. 

Mel’s Diner is open from 7 a.m. to midnight every single day of the week.  Check their menu here: https://melsdinerpf.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Online-Menu.pdf

Lil Black Bear Cafe – 

This hidden gem serves both breakfast and lunch, and is a great affordable meal in Pigeon Forge.  Their breakfast sandwiches include classics like bacon, egg, and cheese sandwiches and omelets. The real star of the breakfast show though?  The giant pancakes.  You might think a stack of two pancakes isn’t going to fill you up, but wait until you see them! While you’re eating your breakfast, consider what you’re doing for lunch that day.  Order a sandwich to take on a picnic lunch later in the afternoon!  

Tourists and locals alike love not only the affordable prices, but the service provided by the owners as well.  During the summer months, there is often a movie night as well. Be sure to check out their Facebook page to see if one is scheduled during your vacation to the mountains.  

Lil Black Bear Cafe is located near Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge and is open Tuesday through Friday from 7am to 3 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and closed Sunday and Monday.  

Bob’s Burgers at the 50’s Style Diner –

Does a made-to-order burger and a side of crinkle cut fries sound like your idea of a tasty meal?  You’ve got to check out Bob’s Burgers at the 50’s Style Diner. Don’t let the small menu and location fool you – this place is a hidden gem to see if you’re dining on a budget in Pigeon Forge.  While the burgers are the real star of the show, you’ll also want to try a milkshake or an old-fashioned malt while you’re visiting. Bob’s Burgers at the 50’s Style Diner is only a short drive from downtown Pigeon Forge on Wears Valley Road.  Be sure to schedule this lunch stop, as they have short hours.  

Bob’s Burgers at the 50’s Style Diner is open daily from 11a-5p. 

Ready to Turn In?

Now you’re ready to settle in after a long day of exploring on the town.  One of the best ways to save even more money on your vacation is to rent a Gatlinburg cabin!  By renting one of our cabins with a fully equipped kitchen, you’ll be able to prepare your other meals in house.  Make a family favorite or a romantic meal for two at a fraction of the price of other places in town. Be sure you pick a Gatlinburg cabin with a hot tub, or bring along your four-legged family member when you book a pet friendly cabin in Gatlinburg!

Be sure to check out all of our vacation guides for planning your Smoky Mountain getaway.  You can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram for the latest area information!

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