By Leif Palmer
Posted on September 8, 2021
There are many great aspects to going on vacation to or just taking a weekend trip to the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. There are beautiful mountains, fun attractions and shops galore. But let's be honest here: Another highlight of any getaway is indulging in the local cuisine. Even those who are normally diet- or health-conscious have to loosen the reins when enjoying some time away from home and take a few liberties when it comes to mealtime (and snack time).
When you visit the Smokies, there are seemingly endless choices when it comes to places to eat, but in this post, we're going to focus specifically on individual food items that you must try next time you're here. Really, you can't say you've legitimately been to the Smokies unless you've tried at least one of these tasty treats.
Located in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg, the Pancake Pantry has been a dining institution for decades. Yep, their griddle-made dishes are delicious, and they come in a dizzying variety of flavors. Wild blueberry, Caribbean, whole wheat, Austrian apple-walnut crepes, Swedish crepes and Smoky Mountain buckwheat cakes are just a few of the items that will make your belly rumble just perusing the menu. They even have a blintz pancake stuffed with pecans, raisins and ricotta-cream-cheese filling and topped with powdered sugar and warm orange-blueberry syrup. (By the way, you can easily find parking in Gatlinburg that's near the restaurant.)
This Sevierville restaurant is located near a working apple orchard, so it's only natural that the menu is packed with apple-inspired cuisine. And it has been for decades. One of their signature items is the deep-fried apple fritter, and guests get a serving of them with every meal. But be careful-they're addictive!
This Pigeon Forge eatery is located on the banks of the Little Pigeon River, adjacent to the historic Old Mill, which has been grinding out meals and grains on site since the 1830s. One of the restaurant's signature dishes is its corn chowder, which has been a guest favorite for more than 25 years. When you dine at the restaurant, you can enjoy a bowl of this hearty dish along with their hot corn fritters. It's a great start to any meal.
Ready for something sweet? Sink your teeth into a chewy treat made on site at this longtime Pigeon Forge confectioner. They make and pull their taffy fresh daily and wrap it with the same machinery they've been using since the 1940s. Flavors include apple, chocolate-covered peanut butter, maple, piña colada, watermelon and many more.
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.