If you're anything like me, dining out is equally, if not more, exciting than going out.
In the heart of the Smoky Mountains, Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, boasts a culinary scene that's as vibrant and diverse as its picturesque surroundings.
While barbecue and southern classics are undeniably the town's culinary anchor, there's so much more to discover.
Each visit to a local favorite or newcomer is a culinary adventure - a journey through flavor that takes you from the comfort of hearty home-style breakfasts to the excitement of innovative gastro creations.
Whether you're hungry for a well-cooked steak, a comforting bowl of pasta, or a mountainous stack of pancakes, one thing is for sure - you'll find it in the best restaurants in Pigeon Forge.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular eateries but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city's diverse culinary landscape for yourself
The Corner Diner
There's something charmingly nostalgic about stepping into a 50's themed diner on an early Sunday morning.
It's like a step back in time, with white and black checkered floors and neon lights.
Nestled off the main strip, The Corner Diner is my favorite local spot for a hearty breakfast.
When you walk in, the aroma of sizzling bacon and freshly brewed coffee fills your senses.
The menu here ranges from classic American breakfast staples to unique house specialties.
My absolute favorite is the 'Big Daddy.'
The homemade buttermilk biscuits are like fluffy pillows of doughy goodness, the perfect companion to the savory gravy.
If you enjoy some heat, I suggest trying their spicy gravy.
It adds just the right amount of kick to your meal.
What sets this place apart from the popular breakfast chains in town is the quality and freshness of its food.
Each dish is prepared with care and packed with flavor.
Be warned, though; the portions are generous!
We were all too stuffed to try the homemade desserts, but it's undoubtedly on my list for the next visit.
The Corner Diner offers beautiful service, a great atmosphere, and delicious food.
It's one of those hidden gems that you'd be fortunate to stumble upon, and once you do, you'll find yourself coming back again and again.
Pigeon Forge Deli
Since I discovered the Pigeon Forge Deli, nestled snugly off the parkway, my lunch routine has changed forever.
As if plucked right from Italy and placed in our charming town, this retro-style deli is a treasure trove of culinary delights.
The menu is a dizzying array of tasty offerings, each more compelling than the last.
But the star of the show has to be their stacked sandwiches.
There's something incredibly satisfying about biting into one of their sandwiches, each lovingly crafted with generous portions of meat and sandwiched between slices of their heavenly pretzel bread.
And if you're feeling indulgent, I'd highly recommend the pretzel with vanilla sauce - a sweet treat you'll dream about long after that last bite.
But it wasn't just the food that won me over.
The restaurant may be small, but its cleanliness and well-kept interiors exude a sense of comfort that makes you want to linger a little longer.
Trust me when I say it's a place that quickly feels like home.
One particular sandwich that genuinely hits the spot is their cheese steak.
I dare say it surpasses the ones I enjoyed while traveling to Philadelphia in my youth.
It’s an experience I'm eager to share.
Visiting the Pigeon Forge Deli is non-negotiable whether you're a fellow Pigeon Forge resident or just passing through.
Super Antojo Snack
Every Wednesday evening after work, I find myself drawn to the enchanting aromas wafting from Super Antojo Snack, a hidden gem in my neighborhood.
I assure you that finding a more authentic Mexican spot around is hard.
The moment you step through the entrance, you're greeted with a burst of flavors so powerful that you forget you're miles away from Mexico.
For example, the tacos, especially the chorizo ones, are a personal favorite.
They have this deliciously crunchy shell around a heart of juicy, spicy chorizo that makes me crave more.
The servings are generous, the price fair, and the taste is something to die for.
What truly sets Super Antojo Snack apart is its mouthwatering food and the warm and welcoming ambiance.
The hustle and bustle of the place, the laughter, and the chit-chat give you a glimpse of the vibrant culture of Mexico.
And if you happen to bring your kids along, they're in for a treat!
My niece swears by their blue cookies and cream ice cream.
She's usually picky, but I've seen her eyes light up every time she takes a bite of that delicious treat.
Even as an adult who's not a major fan of cookies and cream, I found myself loving it.
My local life has been significantly spiced up thanks to Super Antojo Snack, and I couldn't ask for more.
Whether you're a local or just traveling through, I highly recommend adding a stop at Super Antojo Snack to your culinary journey.
Junction 35 Spirits
There's something undeniably therapeutic about strolling into Junction 35 Spirits after a demanding day at work.
The industrial aesthetic somehow makes the smells of BBQ and distilled spirits even more intriguing.
You hardly ever get a chance to wait.
Before you know it, you're comfortably seated, ready to dive into the culinary adventure that awaits.
The swift service here is something to marvel at.
Whether ordering appetizers or heading straight for the main dishes, the speed at which your order arrives would impress even the most impatient diners.
The bacon jam is a revelation!
It boasts a unique flavor profile that's refreshing from typical BBQ fare.
Another standout for me is their take on fried green tomatoes.
They're delightfully crispy and pair perfectly with the bacon jam.
When it comes to their burgers, the buns have that soft, buttered, and expertly toasted quality that makes every bite an experience.
And let's not forget the meat – it tastes so fresh, you'd think they have a farm out back!
It's not just about food at Junction 35 Spirits, though.
Their smoked old-fashioneds are a treat for the senses, with the smoky presentation stealing the show.
And if you still have room for tasting, they offer it for free if you have your receipt.
And, of course, I can't forget to mention their fine selection of spirits.
The tastings after meals are always a highlight, and I've often found myself carrying a bottle or two home.
Junction 35 Spirits is a part of the fabric of our local community that continues to impress with every visit.
I can't wait to return for another round of their delicious offerings.
Oh, what a joy it is to live in a town like Pigeon Forge, where one can savor the authentic flavors of Talita's Restaurant!
If there's one thing that makes me smile, it's their delectable dishes that remind me of home.
The food is hands down the best I've ever tasted, and it's clear from the bustling crowd that I'm not the only one who thinks so.
Don't even get me started on the service.
Talita's serves up a generous helping of friendliness and warmth.
Dining there is like spending time with your extended family, so much so that even my picky kids have become fans of their food.
I still remember the first time we stepped foot in the restaurant.
The carne asada and nachos aroma wafted through the air, making our mouths water.
It was love at first bite!
The prices were so reasonable that we soon started visiting regularly, not just on special occasions.
And you know what the best part is?
It's just around the corner from where we live!
Whether you're a local or just passing by, Talita's Restaurant in Pigeon Forge is one culinary experience you wouldn't want to miss!
Tikka Bowl Indian Grill
Just a casual day in the neighborhood, and I found myself drawn to Tikka Bowl Indian Grill, a local gem for Indian food.
As I walked into the restaurant, I was greeted by the tantalizing aroma of Indian spices.
I had heard a lot about this place and decided to try it.
The place was buzzing with people, which gave a lively and energetic atmosphere.
Despite being crowded, my eyes were immediately drawn to the clean and aesthetic ambiance of the place.
Looking through the menu, I was delighted to see both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options.
I decided to go for the Samosa chaat, which my friend had highly recommended.
As I took a bite, the mint and tamarind chutneys exploded in flavor in my mouth.
It was nothing short of perfect!
I was satisfied with my experience at Tikka Bowl Indian Grill.
If you're in the neighborhood and crave Indian food, Tikka Bowl Indian Grill could be your next stop!
Stepping into the Sunliner Diner is like traveling back to the 1950s.
As soon as I walked through the doors, I was greeted by the sight of retro decor, checkerboard floors, and collector cars.
Something about the roaring 50s theme just never gets old for me.
The food is another reason why I keep coming back.
They serve classic American comfort food that is always cooked to perfection.
I've tried a variety of dishes from their menu, and I've never been disappointed.
The fried chicken is a favorite of mine, and so is the meatloaf.
Meanwhile, the cranberry mimosas offer a refreshing twist that perfectly complements the hearty meals.
I also can't leave without treating myself to their sundae.
There's a fun 50s gift shop that you can browse while waiting for a table.
Also, if you're lucky, you might get to dine in the pink Cadillac!
The Sunliner Diner is more than just a diner. It's an experience.
It's a place where you can enjoy good food, have fun, and, for a moment, feel like you've stepped back in time.
Lil Black Bear Cafe
I knew I had stumbled upon a local gem when I stepped foot into Lil Black Bear Cafe.
The place is small and may fill up quickly, but it's worth the wait.
Your time spent waiting flies much quicker than anticipated, a testament to the authentic charm of this daytime eatery.
What strikes me the most is the freshness of the food, all meticulously made to order.
The veggie omelet with a side of bacon left me satiated, a symphony of flavors dancing on my palate.
My partner tried the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich and was left beaming with the satisfaction only a well-made sandwich can provide.
The cafe doesn't try to wow you with fancy frills but instead offers a homely environment emphasizing hearty American breakfast and lunch fare.
Meanwhile, the pancakes are another story altogether.
Imagine two inches of pure, pillowy, heavenly delight.
These were the fluffiest pancakes I have ever tasted, a breakfast revelation that left me speechless.
Seeing the pancakes alone made our eyes light up, reminiscent of children in a candy store.
Lil Black Bear Cafe has swiftly become my go-to breakfast place in Pigeon Forge.
It's about the entire experience, from the warm atmosphere to the welcoming staff.
I am already looking forward to my next visit.
If you ever find yourself in Pigeon Forge, try this cafe.
It's a local treasure that takes breakfast and lunch to the next level.
Old Mill Pottery House Café
Every town has its hidden gems, and I'm lucky enough to live close to one of the culinary diamonds of Pigeon Forge - The Old Mill Pottery House Café.
Nestled in the heart of our town, the café has become my favorite haunt for delicious, homemade Southern comfort food.
What I like most about the place is its authenticity.
The bread here is an experience, freshly baked from grains ground at their on-site mill, a true testament to their commitment to freshness.
When I first bit into one of their loaves, I was floored.
The flavor was unlike anything store-bought.
Let me tell you about their fried green tomatoes, shrimp, and grits; it's like tasting the Southern tradition in every bite.
And the portion sizes are more than generous, especially their Harvest Salad.
It's a mountain of fresh, vibrant greens. You might just forget you're at a restaurant, not a farm.
The café also has an outdoor courtyard for those who prefer to dine al fresco.
I haven't tried it yet, but I've heard the experience is just as delightful.
Before you leave, make sure to check out their bakery.
It's filled with homemade goodies that are hard to resist.
I usually grab a treat or two to enjoy later at home.
Sometimes the wait can be long, especially during peak hours, but trust me. It's worth every minute.
I've also had a few dishes that were not to my liking, but that has never deterred me from returning.
The Old Mill Pottery House Café has so much more to offer.
If you ever find yourself in Pigeon Forge, I highly recommend you check out the place.
I promise you. It's a dining experience you won't forget.
Pizza at The Cove
What can I say about Pizza at The Cove, the little gem of a spot tucked away behind the main strip?
It's my go-to for a lazy dinner when I don't feel like cooking, and it never fails to satisfy me.
The easygoing ambiance, the comfort of wood furnishings, and the smell of pizza cooking in the oven are enough to put a weary soul at ease.
A pizza's wait time is usually around 25 minutes, but it's worth every minute.
The moment you take a bite, you can taste the freshness of the ingredients, which, for me, elevates the entire pizza experience.
They also serve wings and sides, but I must admit, I'm pretty partial to their pizzas.
The Mountain Man pizza is a favorite, especially when topped with additional onions and peppers.
For instance, the crust is incomparable - crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, and doesn't overpower the toppings.
After the meal, I love washing it with their sweet tea or soda, which comes with free refills.
The sweet tea is just the right amount of sweet, and the sodas are always perfectly carbonated.
But perhaps what I appreciate the most about Pizza at The Cove is its community spirit.
They have a wall where you can pay it forward for 1st responders, a noble gesture that speaks volumes about their values.
It's a place that feels like home, and I sincerely recommend it to anyone who appreciates good food and good vibes.
Listening Room Cafe - Pigeon Forge
There's no denying that I've become quite the regular at Listening Room Cafe in Pigeon Forge.
The moment you step foot in, you're greeted with live music that reverberates across the room, creating a lively and welcoming atmosphere.
I remember deciding on a whim one night to drop by and was pleasantly surprised by the live band playing.
Even though my schedule didn't allow me to enjoy the band’s performance fully, I grabbed a stool at the bar, a perfect spot to still feel the music while indulging in some delicious food.
Every dish I've tried has been an absolute delight, from the apple salad to the bacon burger.
But what's a show without some good food, right?
I always arrive early to enjoy a leisurely meal before the performances start.
And let's not forget the drinks - stick to the old-fashioned margaritas. They have never let me down yet.
The Listening Room Cafe is not just a musical treat; it's a place where great food, good vibes, and exceptional performances come together.
I can't wait for what my next visit holds!
Cookie Dough Monster - Burgers & Shakes
When grabbing a juicy burger or a refreshing milkshake in town, my go-to spot is always Cookie Dough Monster - Burgers & Shakes.
Their mouthwatering menu filled with gourmet grilled cheeses, cleverly designed burgers, and delightful scoops of cookie dough can instantly perk up any dull day.
Just last week, I was there around 8 pm, and as usual, the place was buzzing with people - a testament to its popularity!
I ordered my all-time favorite, the Bacon Burger, topped with fiery Jalapeño Poppers.
Although it was slightly overcooked, the taste did not disappoint.
As a side, I ordered sweet potato fries, which were wonderfully crispy.
On the other hand, my partner decided to go with Italy on sourdough without chicken and Crinkle Cut Fries.
The joy in their eyes while savoring each bite was a sight.
What I love about Cookie Dough Monster is the simplicity of its atmosphere.
You order at the counter, get a number, and wait for your name to be called out.
Although the wait time is a bit longer, I assure you it's worth it.
Everything is freshly prepared and served hot.
It's an experience that brings a sense of culinary joy.
Whether you're a tourist or resident, looking for the best burger and fries combo, or just wanting to indulge in some fresh-off-the-grill gourmet delights, Cookie Dough Monster - Burgers & Shakes is your place.
Gaucho Urbano - Brazilian Steakhouse
Gaucho Urbano is my go-to spot when craving a top-notch Brazilian steak feast!
Nestled in our town, this casual steakhouse never ceases to amaze us with its variety of all-you-can-eat meal options.
Let me tell you about my first visit here.
If you're a fan of Brazilian barbecue, Gaucho Urbano is the place to be.
Straight from the grill, the meat was always served hot and cooked perfectly to my liking.
The salad bar didn't disappoint either, although it was more exotic than I anticipated.
However, the hot food option for the salad bar was a game changer.
It came with four hot dishes: mashed potatoes, cooked plantains, cheese bread, and fried placenta.
But the pièce de résistance was the spiced pineapple - a true treat for the palette.
I've also been here for celebrations, and let me assure you, they know how to handle a crowd.
And did I mention the açaí margarita?
It was heavenly.
Gaucho Urbano is not just about the food.
The ambiance is just as fantastic, with white linens adding a touch of elegance to the space.
It's also pristine, adding to the overall excellent dining experience.
Gaucho Urbano- Brazilian Steakhouse is your go-to if you're looking for a memorable Brazilian dining experience in town.
I guarantee you. It's a five-star experience.
Mel's Classic Diner
When hungry for an authentic diner experience in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, look no further than Mel's Classic Diner.
The second you set foot in this retro gem, you're treated to a genuine blast from the past that's sure to bring a smile to your face.
As an avid fan of diner cuisine, I can't recommend this place enough.
You'll first notice the 50s-style chrome setting and the oldies music that sets the perfect mood.
Remember when you would wait in your car with the family for your order to be ready?
Mel's brings back those golden memories with a beeper system to notify you when your table is ready.
Now let's talk about the food.
I've had a range of dishes here, but the chicken salad sandwich is one of my favorites.
Each bite is a perfect mix of sweet relish and tender chicken, garnished with fresh veggies.
Don't forget to order a side of their delicious fries.
My partner, a dessert lover, swears by their strawberry sundae, a delightful treat for the taste buds.
The experience doesn't end with great food and service.
Meanwhile, the diner is also well-maintained, ensuring a comfortable and clean environment for patrons.
It's a perfect blend of a fun, casual atmosphere with a touch of nostalgia, making dining at Mel's Classic Diner a unique experience.
One thing to remember, though – they're closed on Sundays.
But don't let that deter you.
They're open until midnight every other day, ready to serve you a hearty meal or a sweet treat whenever you're in the mood.
There's a buzz about a place in Pigeon Forge stealing the hearts and palettes of locals and tourists alike.
Yes, I'm talking about the Local Goat - New American Restaurant.
Visiting here is like a culinary journey you're bound to remember.
My first rendezvous with the Local Goat was on a Friday night.
The parking lot was bustling, a sign of the popularity of this haunt.
Despite the crowd, my party and I only waited about 10 minutes before we were ushered to our seats.
The star of the evening was undoubtedly the food.
I chose the Bison meatloaf, a dish brimming with flavors, though I wouldn't have minded a little more sauce.
My friend, a seafood lover, savored every bite of his Shrimp n Grits, claiming it was the best he'd had in a long while.
We also shared the baby back ribs and Fish n Chips, both of which were exceptional in their own right.
This combination of delectable food, warm service, and a lively atmosphere makes the Local Goat a must-visit.
And yes, if you’re wondering if I will be back, I can't wait for my next visit!
The Old Mill
Let me tell you, nothing makes a day quite like a hearty meal at The Old Mill.
For me, this isn't just any eatery - it's a tradition, a nostalgia-filled culinary journey, and an absolute must-do for anyone in town.
Upon entering this charming 1830 gristmill, you're immediately greeted with a welcoming, down-home atmosphere.
It's almost impossible not to feel the excitement bubbling within as you anticipate the homemade meal that awaits you.
Their warm, flaky corn fritters are nothing short of divine - think hush puppies, but softer and less greasy, served up as soon as you're seated.
And let's not even get started on the complimentary cup of corn chowder that accompanies each meal.
It's a velvety, hearty delight that will have you scraping the bottom of the cup for the last spoonful.
The menu is an array of classic Southern dishes.
You'll find everything from broiled catfish and top-round beef to fried chicken and chicken pot pie.
But my personal favorite?
The mashed potatoes and green beans.
They're included with every meal - a comforting side staple that pairs perfectly with any main dish.
What sets The Old Mill apart is the delicious food and the exceptional service.
The Old Mill isn't just about the food, though.
It's a complex that houses pottery, candy, and toy shops, too - a great way to spend an afternoon after a satisfying meal.
And for those who need it, there are even facilities like an elevator and a lift in the dining area for wheelchair users - a thoughtful touch that speaks volumes about the hospitality at this place.
Sure, the entrees might set you back at least $20, but it's worth the price.
Generous portions, quick service, and a soothing, home-cooked meal await you at The Old Mill.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think it's time for another visit - those corn fritters aren't going to eat themselves!
J. Del's Pizza
Living in the heart of Tennessee, you wouldn't expect to find an authentic slice of Italy.
But that's precisely what you get when you step into J. Del's Pizza.
Nestled right between the hustle and bustle of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, it's a hidden gem serving up the best pizza in town.
When craving a slice, this is my go-to spot.
The pizzas are a delightful homage to New York style – thin, crispy, and loaded with fresh toppings that dance on your tastebuds.
It's the kind of pizza you can't help but devour slice after slice till you're left with an empty box and a satisfied smile.
What makes J. Del's truly special isn't just the pizza. It's a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Whether you dine in or order out, the service is always top-notch.
On one occasion, I remember a large group ordering nine pizzas.
Much to our surprise, they were ready in just half an hour!
So, if you're in town looking for a feast of Italian delights, you know where to go.
Trust me, at J. Del's. You're in for a treat.
Living in Pigeon Forge has genuinely broadened my culinary experiences.
It's the experience that counts, and Pigeon Forge has blended these elements to create an unforgettable dining scene.
What are you waiting for? Visit Pigeon Forge today!