First Checkers Drive-In Opens in the Smoky Mountains

A tasty bacon cheeseburger.

Burger fans will be excited to hear about the newest restaurant in the Smoky Mountains! Last month, a Checkers Drive-In opened in Kodak, TN at Lee’s Food Mart. Named the “Best Drive-Thru in America” by QSR Magazine, Checkers has cultivated a loyal following at its 800+ restaurants across the United States. The recently opened Checkers in Kodak is currently the only franchise location in all of East Tennessee. To help you make the most of your next vacation, Visit My Smokies has put together a guide to everything you need to know about the new Checkers in Kodak TN.

Dollywood’s Splash Country Helped Inspire the Checkers in Welcome to Dollywood's Splash Country sign.Kodak TN

In a roundabout way, Dollywood’s Splash Country is responsible for inspiring the new Checkers in the Smokies! When Wesley Lee, the owner of the Kodak Checkers, was growing up, he frequented Dolly Parton’s famous water park in Pigeon Forge over the summer. In addition to all of the wonderful rides and slides, Wesley absolutely loved Splash Country’s mouthwatering chili cheese fries.

Wesley told the Knoxville News Sentinel that he was so obsessed with chili cheese fries as a kid that he would even ask his dad to make them for dinner. As an adult, Wesley started buying bags of Checkers frozen french fries at the grocery store. Wesley explains, “They’re really great fries, and as I did some research, I learned they’re not represented in this marketplace, period”.

With visions of french fries dancing in his head, Wesley saw an opportunity to add to the Lee family business in a big way. Wesley’s father, Terry Lee, runs over 40 convenience stores in Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. Wesley and his dad decided that opening a Checkers at Lee’s Food Mart in Kodak would be a worthwhile venture.

Kids eating in the back of a car.Drive-In or Sit Down at the Kodak Checkers

While most Checkers locations are drive-thru only, that isn’t the case for the restaurant in the Smoky Mountains. Guests at the Kodak Checkers can enjoy their meal in their car or come inside the restaurant to eat at the comfortable dining area. Of course, visitors can also swing by Lee’s Food Mart to pick up some of their great coffee or snacks.

Menu for the Kodak TN Checkers

The food at Checkers is definitely a cut above the fare at your average drive-thru restaurant! Here are some of the most popular menu items at Checkers:

  • Big Buford Burger (which can be ordered with one, two, or three all-beef patties)
  • Chili Cheese Hot Dog
  • Buffalo Chicken Wings
  • Fully Loaded Fries (topped with cheese, ranch, and bacon)
  • Caramel Cheesecake Milkshake

To see the full menu, visit the official Checkers website.

Checkers Location in KodakMouthwatering french fries.

Checkers is located at 3423 Winfield Dunn Parkway in Kodak, TN 37764. The restaurant is open from 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. from Sunday through Wednesday and from 10 a.m. – midnight from Thursday through Saturday.

More Restaurants in the Smoky Mountains

Looking for more great restaurants to visit during your vacation? Check out our comprehensive listing of places to eat in the Smoky Mountains!


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