Seven Must-Try Foods in the Smoky Mountains

A visit to the Smokies means hiking at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, shopping at The Village, and riding the Aerial Tramway to Ober Gatlinburg. But more than all that, it means good food! The South is known worldwide for its delicious cuisine, and the Smoky Mountains is no different. In fact, there are plenty of unique tastes and flavors you’ll only find in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, like some of these Smoky Mountain favorites. Check them out during your next visit to the Smokies!

  1. Old-Fasioned Buttermilk Pancakes at the Pancake Pantry. The Pancake Pantry has been serving up some of the best breakfast grub this side of the Mason-Dixon Line since 1960. Visitors flock to this house of pancakes every year for their real butter, fresh whipped cream, and made-from-scratch flap jacks, including their Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pancakes. These pancakes are extra light and fluffy and come with a side of whipped butter and hot syrup. And if you’re feeling adventurous, try one of their 23 other varieties during your Smoky Mountain stay.
  2. Kettle Korn at Dollywood. If you’re coming to the Smokies, you have to make at least one trip to Dollywood. Thrilling rides like the Mystery Mine and live entertainment by 50s and 60s music group the Gem Tones are waiting for you at this world-famous Pigeon Forge theme park. And when it’s time for a break, grab a bag of fresh-made Kettle Korn, a favorite Dollywood snack. This sweet take on a salty classic is prepared fresh daily, and you can even watch a demonstration on how the corn is popped!
  3. Pit-Smoked Barbecue at the Hungry Bear. When you’re in the South, there are dozens of places to get good barbecue, but when you’re in Gatlinburg, Hungry Bear is a great choice! This locally owned joint is just seven minutes from downtown Gatlinburg and is worth the drive. At the Hungry Bear, you can enjoy fresh-smoked meats and a variety of sauces as well as delicious sides like baked beans and macaroni and cheese.
  4. Signature Corn Chowder at the Old Mill Restaurant. If you’ve never tried corn chowder, make sure you get your first taste at the Old Mill Restaurant. This old-fashioned, home-style, food-the-way-your-grandma-used-to-make-it restaurant is located next to Patriot Park in Pigeon Forge and is known around town for their classic Southern fare, including country-fried steak, sugar-cured ham, and pot roast and gravy. But before your entrée comes out, you’ll get a delicious cup of their Signature Corn Chowder. All we can say is, we hope you brought your appetite!
  5. Apple Fritters at the Apple Barn. The Apple Barn and Cider Mill is one of the more unique places to shop and eat while you’re in the Smoky Mountains. You can enjoy classic Southern food at their Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant, but what you can’t pass up on is their warm, flaky, perfectly sweet Apple Fritters. These delicious treats are so good, in fact, they’ve received their own motto: “Life is short, eat fritters first!” So make the most of your time in the Smokies and try a fritter!
  6. Old-Fashioned Taffy at the Smoky Mountain Candy Makers. Located on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, Smoky Mountain Candy Makers has perfected the art of making a classic childhood candy the old-fashioned way. Their fresh-made taffy is spun daily on their taffy-wrapping machine—the same machine they’ve been using since the 40s! Be sure to visit their candy shop for a chance to watch the candy-making process in action and try their delicious assortment of taffy flavors, including apple, chocolate-covered peanut butter, maple, pina colada, sassafras, watermelon, and so much more!
  7. Original Moonshine from the Ole Smoky Distillery. If you’re over 21, we invite you to try a Tennessee favorite that’s as old as the hills – Ole Smoky Original Moonshine. With two locations (one in Gatlinburg and one in Pigeon Forge), lots of flavors, and live music to boot, the Ole Smoky Distillery is not only a fun place to visit, but also a great place to hang out with friends. While you’re there, sip on the Original Moonshine or one of their other tempting flavors, including Blue Flame, White Lightnin’, Cinnamon, and Big Orange.

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