By Leif Palmer
Posted on November 8, 2021
Thanksgiving doesn't officially arrive for another few weeks, but it's not too early to start thinking about celebrating that holiday in the Smokies. Why not? The scenery in Gatlinburg is beautiful this time of year, thanks to the fall foliage colors. And there are lots of special events going on as the city celebrates its annual Harvest Festival, not to mention the fact that Winterfest is right around the corner.
We understand, however, that for many, the thought of spending Thanksgiving in the Smokies may come with a little concern about not being able to sit down to a Thanksgiving meal. If that's the only thing holding you back from hitting the road this month and heading to the mountains, then read on, as we tell you about a number of Gatlinburg eateries that will open their doors wide on Thanksgiving day. Some places will indeed offer some of the familiar staples of the holiday, like turkey and dressing, while others may stick to their usual brand of cuisine. But keep an open mind. Maybe you'll discover some foods you actually enjoy eating on Thanksgiving more than turkey.
If you're a barbecue fan, you may want to sit down to a meal at Bennett's Pit Bar-B-Que on River Road. Or if pizza is your thing, River Road is also where you'll find Big Daddy's Pizzeria. There are several options when it comes to seafood, including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Chesapeake's and Crawdaddy's Restaurant and Oyster Bar, all on the Parkway.
For a little south-of-the-border flavor, consider having Thanksgiving dinner at Loco Burro or No Way Jose's Cantina. Meanwhile, J.O.E. and Pop's Sub Shoppe offer a sandwich option. And then there are lots of restaurants that specialize in classic American fare, with a little bit of everything on the menu. These include Mama's Chicken Kitchen, Ole Red, Seasons of Ober Loft & Lounge, Smith and Son Corner Kitchen, Smoky Mountain Brewery, T.G.I. Friday's, The Melting Pot, The Park Grill and Three Jimmy's.
You'll find that a great many of these eateries are located right on the Parkway or not far off the Parkway on one of the feeder roads. If you're staying in a downtown hotel or motel, then chances are you can easily walk to your destination or take a trolley. If you're driving into Gatlinburg for the day, we recommend that you consult our Gatlinburg parking map and finding the lot that's closest to the restaurant where you plan to have dinner. From there, you'll probably have a fairly short walk. And since our rates cover your parking for an entire day, you'll have plenty of time to continue exploring downtown Gatlinburg's shops and attractions without worrying about your vehicle.
About Leif Palmer
Leif Palmer loves residing in Gatlinburg. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.