What’s for lunch? On vacation – you probably start talking about lunch (dinner as it is called in the South) while you are having breakfast or out on an early walk in the Great Smoky Mountains during your Tennessee trip.
Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge have unique, fun and tasty options for this meal, whatever you call it. Supper is the evening meal in the South – in case you were wondering.
But back to lunch! Here are a few haikus (written by me) to give you an idea of what’s to come.
3 Lunch Haikus
River water churns
smell barbecue, trout, hoe cakes
for mountain view lunch
Fried green tomatoes
sizzle in cast iron skillets
friendly southern smile
jump into guacamole
Tom and Earl’s Back Alley Grill
From snacks to burgers, paninis and salads, the Back Alley Grill offers fun and delicious choices.
Start with fried green tomatoes, cream corn fritters or how about wings – from mild to buffalo to Carolina Reaper – the world’s hottest pepper. There also are fried pickles and a chicken quesadilla. Great for sharing!
Paninis also are on the menu – Smokehouse with smoked pork loin, grilled onions, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese and apple-wood smoked bacon! And something called the Love Tractor – apple-wood smoked bacon, lettuce, tomato, the grill’s signature pesto mayonnaise served on toasted rustic bread. Wow – yum!
Food on a bun includes Ole’ Standby – an 8-ounce beef burger, Sloppy Jethro and the Dyin’ Man – a thick slice of fried bologna, pulled pork, bacon and stone-ground mustard. And lots more including a BBQ beef brisket sandwich.
One reviewer on the restaurant’s Facebook page wrote March 17, “Friendly staff, great burgers and hands-down, THE best pork rinds I’ve ever had. They were so fresh out of the fryer they were still popping and cracking.
Open daily 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., often later on Fridays and Saturdays when live music also is on tap. Find Tom and Earl’s at 651 Parkway, #110 in Gatlinburg (865) 365-6022.
No Way Jose’
A great option for Mexican food in Gatlinburg is No Way Jose’s Cantina at Stoplight 5 in downtown. Sit on the patio with a view of Pigeon River. A perfect spot to stop before or after a visit to the nearby Ripley’s Aquarium or perhaps after a stroll along the river or a sleep-in at your cozy Smoky Mountain cabin rental.
In addition to the basics (though nothing is basic here) – burritos and chimichangas, fajitas, enchiladas and fresh-made guacamole, No Way Jose’s has appetizers or antojitos including Avocado Fiesta – fresh avocado stuffed with shredded cheddar-jack cheese, deep fried in a tempura batter. Also, Juan’s Wings of Mexico, Loaded Border Bean Dip and Papa’s Mexican Pizza.
See the full fun menu here and be sure to check out the specialty cocktails.
Find the Gatlinburg location at 555 Parkway, stoplight #5. 865-430-JOSE (5673). Open Tuesday- Thursday and Sundays 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Smoky Mountain Brewery
Self-described as a cross between a ski lodge and a Bavarian beer hall, the Smoky Mountain Brewery features an enclosed deck overlooking Calhoun’s Village with the Smoky Mountains in the background.
“Popular with hikers, skiers and snowboarders, the Brewery is a great place to take a break from any activity in the Smokies.”
Locals call on the Brewery for its terrific pizza, great burgers and pub fare – check out the food menu. Check out this YouTube video for more
Since it’s a brewery, visitors can expect and get local handcrafted brews. Also on the Local Brew and Sips menu are a wide variety of whiskeys, scotch and Kentucky bourbons, wines, refreshing lemonades and house-made sangrias too.
SMB’s landmark store in Gatlinburg opened in 1996 – read The story of the brewery’s early days and growth.
Smoky Mountain Brewery has four locations in East Tennessee—Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Knoxville (Turkey Creek), and Maryville—and is now part of the Copper Cellar Family of Restaurants.
Find SMB in Gatlinburg at 1004 Parkway, (865) 436-4200.
Wild Plum Tea Room
Quaint and homey, Wild Plum Tea Room, is a lunch-only restaurant open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and reservations in advance are highly encouraged. Don’t be fooled by the name. Wild Plum Tea Room offers way more than just tea.
Inspired by Austrian-style tea houses, the restaurant has fresh homemade lunch menu offerings with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. All menu offerings are homemade and made fresh daily from fresh ingredients.
Lunch is served on fine china fit for a Gatlinburg romantic meal in a cabin set in the woods. The menu selection may include daily chef specials, soups, salads, specialty sandwiches, desserts, vegetarian, vegan and allergy-accommodated meals.
Find Wild Plum Tea Room at 555 Buckhorn Road, Gatlinburg.
865-436-3808 (Wild Plum doesn’t accept same-day reservations)
The Park Grill
Open daily for lunch in what feels like a hunting lodge – with fireplaces, large wooden beams, stonework, wood carvings and local artifacts on the walls – The Park Grill is another Gatlinburg favorite.
On the lunch menu are appetizers including fried pickle spears, pepper-jack cheese and spinach queso dip, fried mac and cheese bites with gouda cheese served with a spicy raspberry sauce and that southern staple fried green tomatoes.
There’s a soup and salad bar that includes shrimp and crab bisque and veggie beef soup
Local favorites such as Four Nickel Bologna Sandwich and fresh mountain rainbow trout come with steak Fries (GF), Onion Rings, Potato Salad (GF) or Cole Slaw (GF). Add cheese, bacon, or bologna or a fried egg for a little extra.
More southern Appalachian comfort food includes the Grilled Moonshine Chicken (GF), a pineapple marinated breast with genuine Moonshine, served with grilled pineapple; Buckshot Sirloin – eight ounces of tasty sirloin, grilled and smothered in a savory peppercorn sauce; pulled pork barbecue plate and award-winning ribs.
Don’t forget to check out the lunch desserts including hot blackberry cobbler, Nanner Puddin’ and Jack Daniel’s Crème Brulee.
Take a look inside and check out more photos of this unique spot.
The Park Grill is located at 1110 Parkway in Gatlinburg, (865) 436-3800. It opens daily at 11:30 a.m.
Pigeon Forge and Sevierville Munching and Brunching
Brick & Spoon
Rise & Dine is the motto at Brick & Spoon – a growing franchise based in Lafayette, LA, where lunch, breakfast and brunch are served until 2 p.m. everyday.
Brick & Spoon describes itself as a destination breakfast place – and that couldn’t be more true. The food is all Instagram ready – so make sure your phone is charged when you go.
“The Brick & Spoon concept is built upon the success story of New Orleans style casual breakfast/brunch dining and coffee house venues.
Check out the fun menu below or click here! From biscuits, French toast, baked brie bruschetta with caramelized apples, golden raisins, pecans and a balsamic reduction to the Killer Creole Omelet and a variety of benedicts -including crab cake and oyster, this upscale southern brunch at its best.
Ready for an eye-opening cocktail too? Brick & Spoon has you covered with a build-your-own Bloody Mary menu with more than 50 choices, along with interesting drinks including Momma’s Mojito and the Cock Fight – Skyy Vodka, spiced rum, orange juice and white cranberry juice.
Located at 130 Community Center Drive in Pigeon Forge, (865) 410-1221, Brick & Spoon opens daily at 7 a.m.
The Local Goat
Described by locals as “everyone’s favorite,” this Pigeon Forge restaurant locally sources everything on its menu. Even the ketchup and the breads are homemade.
“You won’t find anything bad on that menu,” said one local business owner who frequents The Local Goat. “You can play menu roulette” and always win.
Great burgers with many options, including a Portobello mushroom burger, a good ol’ southern pimento cheese cheeseburger and a “handheld” called The Elvis – peanut butter, smoked bacon, fried bananas.
The New Orleans barbecue shrimp are buttery, garlicy, paprika crusted shrimp served with garlic bread for sopping up the sauce. Don’t forget about the fried green tomatoes and deep-fried deviled eggs too. Smoke ahi tuna, jumbo chicken wings, hand-cut fries, desserts and a long and unique beer list from Billy’s Bar.
Open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 2167 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, 865-366-
One more Mexican restaurant to round out our list. This one recently opened and has quickly become a new favorite in Sevierville, near Pigeon Forge.
Tequila Spice is family owned and operated, “where people who truly enjoy real flavorful Mexican cuisine will find over 80 entrees from various parts of Mexico.”
Lunch specials include huevos rancheros – three eggs cooked to order, layered in a grilled corn tortilla, covered with tomatillo sauce and served with rice, refried beans and more tortillas – what a meal!
There’s also Burrito San Miguel – with sautéed pork, chorizo with melted cheese, rice, guacamole and pico de gallo.
And so much more – eggs with Mexican sausage, nachos, fajitas and Chilaquiles – tortilla chips cooked in Tequila Spice’s “special hot tomatillo sauce” with chicken and cheese served with rice, lettuce, tomatoes and guacamole.
Tequila Spice is definitely worth checking out at 360 Forks of the River Parkway in Sevierville, 865 366-1009. Open Monday-Thursday 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m – 9 p.m.
Book Your Smoky Mountain Vacation and Plan Your Lunch!
Ready to book your adventure in the Smoky Mountains? Give American Patriot Getaways a call at 800-204-5169. Let our experts help you find the right cabin and all the right fun, food and entertainment. You can also contact us online by searching our cabins in Gatlinburg and in Pigeon Forge. Check out our Pinterest boards if you want a cabin close to the fun and the food! Also, see our board on where to eat in Gatlinburg.
If you need more help planning your Smoky Mountain Vacation, be sure to check out all our vacation guides, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram!