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5 Places to Eat & Drink In Gatlinburg, TN that You've Just Got to Try

My husband and I just returned from a quick two-day trip to Gatlinburg. Gatlinburg is situated in the gorgeous Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, along the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. A popular vacation spot for couples and families, Gatlinburg offers everything from fabulous resorts and cabins to amazing attractions, shops, and restaurants. No trip of ours would be a true trip if we didn't do a little digging and find some of the best local spots to eat. When we travel, our family loves to explore the cities and towns we visit, enjoying all of the delicious varieties of snacks, quick bites, full meals, and beverages that there are to offer.

If you're planning a trip to Gatlinburg, you'll definitely want to check out some of these local spots! We were able to walk to all of these spots from our Hotel (Glenstone Lodge), which meant that we didn't have to fight for and pay for parking downtown. These spots range in price, but I'll give you an estimated cost per person.

Pancake Pantry

This local spot is a true gem! When we visited Gatlinburg during the holiday season, there was a line out the door and down the street at Pancake Pantry! We decided to give this popular pancake place a try for breakfast, and we were ever so glad that we did! Pancake Pantry serves up all of your favorite country breakfast combos, various types of pancakes, crepes, waffles, and more! The average cost per meal is around $10.00 per person, not including a beverage. Hubby and I actually shared a breakfast plate which included a bacon and cheese omelet, and three large pancakes. With drinks, our bill totaled $16.00 before tip. Our meal was delicious, the coffee was hot, and the atmosphere was really nice. It's a casual spot, great for families. This is a large restaurant, but gets super busy! So, plan to get there early and make sure you have cash, as this spot accepts cash only. They have an ATM inside if you need to take cash out to pay your bill.

The Donut Friar

If you're looking for a quick breakfast, a good spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry, this is the place you want to go! The Donut Friar is a quaint little donut shop located in The Village (just around the corner from Pancake Pantry). With a large variety of donuts, croissants, Danish and other yummies to choose from, you will want to choose something to enjoy in the moment and to take home with you! The shop owner is so nice and friendly, and awesome to talk to. You can grab a cup of coffee, and if you need to use the ATM (you'll need cash at this establishment, as well) inside the donut shop, you'll receive a complimentary cup of coffee (the price of a cup of coffee equals the transaction fee at the ATM- isn't that awesome of the owner to do?).

The glazed cake donut was my breakfast of choice on the morning we had to head out of Gatlinburg. It was one of the best donuts I have ever had!

The donuts range in price from around a dollar up to around three dollars for larger specialty items. Their freshly baked cookies are just $0.50, so if you want to get the kiddos a treat, this is where you should stop. We snagged a box of 1/2 a dozen donuts to take home for the kids. Needless to say, they didn't last long. We will absolutely be going back to The Donut Friar the next time we're in Gatlinburg!

Smoky Mountain Brewery

This local spot is a favorite among locals and visitors alike. My husband was bursting with excitement to take me to the brewery he loved going to back in college. The Smoky Mountain Brewery has it all, friends... a hoppin' bar with house brews, along with local favorites. We went on a Monday night, and it was super busy. It just so happened to be Trivia Night, so it was extra packed, though we only waited about 25 minutes for a table. The dining space was large, and there were groups of friends, couples, and families all throughout the restaurant.

The brewery specializes in everything from great appetizers and sandwiches, burgers, pizza, to amazingly delicious entrees. I felt like having a 'grown-up meal' so I went with the Brew-B-Que Chicken, which was incredible! A brew marinated chicken breast smothered in cheese, tomatoes, and cilantro, alongside braised spinach and the creamiest mashed potatoes ever! Hubby enjoyed a delicious steak, rare as rare can be, and loved every bite.

Their entrees run anywhere from $10.00 on up, and be prepared to spend more if you want grown-up food, like we did.

Cliff Top Grill & Bar

This mountain top spot is a must-see and a must-try when in Gatlinburg! The Cliff Top Grill & Bar is located at Anakeesta. Anakeesta is right the street from Ripley's Aquarium and Margaritaville Resort. Buy a lift ticket/day pass and hop on the lifts or into an enclosed Chondola to ride up the mountain to beautiful Anakeesta, which offers the most gorgeous views in all of Gatlinburg, along with fun mountain activities like zip lining, a rope bridge, and plenty of shops, gorgeous gardens, and dining.

We spent a large part of our day at Anakeesta (and I'll tell you all about it in a separate blog post), and got pretty hungry after a lot of walking and taking in the gorgeous views of Mount Le Conte and Sugarlands. It's the kind of place you'll want to stay and play all day, which is why Anakeesta offers great places to eat, like their Cliff Top Grill & Bar. This open-air spot features a casual atmosphere overlooking breathtaking views of the Smokies.

We popped in for a snack and were told that the cheese curds were a local favorite. Again- they were incredible! These deliciously fried cheese curds had a bit of a kick and were served up with a spicy chipotle ranch. We spent around $10.00 for this yummy sharable snack and enjoyed every last bite- even the lettuce. There are lots of snacks, sandwiches and daily specials to choose from, along with a pretty cool bar menu, too. I definitely recommend kicking back and relaxing up at Anakeesta & trying the fried cheese curds!

Sugarlands Distilling Company

Well, it may not be a restaurant, but what's a visit to Gatlinburg without a little Moonshine, Y'all?
Sugarlands Distilling Company is a must-visit spot in downtown Gatlinburg, right in the heart of all that you want to see and experience! Our first visit to Sugarlands was back in January, and whoo- was it fun! Walk right into Sugarlands to get a tour of the distillery and learn how they make their famous moonshine! Step out onto the back porch and enjoy the many offerings at the cocktail bar. Their bartenders are fun, knowledgeable and generous!

The distillery offers a large shop with Sugarlands merch & more... and of course, plenty of moonshine! You wouldn't believe how many flavors and varieties of moonshine they have!

The best part... the moonshine tasting!

Oh, that's right... for $5.00 a person (must be 21 with a valid ID to purchase a wristband for tastings), you can step right up to a tasting bar, and taste about a dozen types of Sugarlands Shine! Now, don't be alarmed, the shots are about the size of a communion cup. You'll be able to see what's being sampled laid out in front of you on the bar top- it'll tell you what it is, the flavors included, and of course, it'll tell you the proof. I try to steer clear of anything over 80 proof. Just be forwarned and pay attention to the proof and how much of it you're consuming. Don't do the moonshine tasting if you haven't had a meal. You don't have to sample all of the shots- just cover your cup with your hand if you don't want to try something. Don't tell the bartender you don't want it after it's been poured... they'll be upset that you made them waste the alcohol. There is a strict no sharing policy and if you're caught passing your tiny cup of moonshine to someone else, you'll be kicked out.

My favorites? I'm a big fan of the blackberry, the rootbeer shine, and am even warming up to the Bloody Mary! Their sippin' creams are delicious, too! There's a shine flavor for everyone.

If you want to purchase some Moonshine to take home, it's $25.00/jar. Sugarlands is family friendly and there are non-alcoholic beverages available on the back porch at the bar. Sugarlands is open until 10 pm, so don't be shy- late night tastings after a nice dinner out are a lot of fun!

So, there you have it- 5 places to try the next time you're in Gatlinburg. I'm looking forward to trying even more local spots on our next trip to Gatlinburg and can't wait to share them with you!

Have you been to any of these popular spots in Gatlinburg?


  1. I have been to Pancake Pantry and The Donut Friar and both were so good. I need to check the others you listed out!

    1. Ah, good for you! That's awesome! Yes, both are so good. The other places are good, too! Definitely give them a try the next time you're in the area.


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