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Here at Visit My Smokies, we subscribe to the philosophy that if you’re taking a vacation, you should also take a vacation from your diet! The Smoky Mountain area offers so many delicious dining options that it would be a crime to skip all of the Southern fried goodness. So turn off your Fitbit, loosen your belt, and savor all of the mouthwatering food at the best places to eat in the Smoky Mountains.
Picking up some donuts is the perfect way to start a day of legendary eating in the Smokies. If you’re determined to pack as much food into your day as humanly possible, wake up early and head over to the Donut Friar any time after 5 a.m. Located in The Village in downtown Gatlinburg, this popular shop will lure you inside with the irresistible smell of freshly made donuts, pastries, and cinnamon bread.
Another great place to find a sweet morning treat is Sevierville’s Courthouse Donuts. As the area’s only Design-Your-Own-Donut Shop, this unique cafe gives guests their choice of donuts, icings, toppings, and sauces. Crowd pleasing donut creations include the Peanut Butter Cup Donut, the Banana Pudding Donut, and the Smoky Mountain S’Mores Donut.
2. Keep the Pancakes Piled High
Anyone who has been to the Smoky Mountains knows that pancakes are kind of a big deal here. There are dozens of of flapjack joints in the area, each with their own secret recipes and specialities. For a detailed look at the region’s best hotcakes, check out these 4 Places to Eat Pancakes in the Smoky Mountains That Are Worth Getting Out of Bed For.
Nothing says “summer fun” quite like a corn dog, and no one makes a corn dog quite like the folks at Fannie Farkle’s. Their famous foot long “Ogle Dogs” are prepared the old fashioned way, right before your eyes. An Ogle Dog is the perfect snack to enjoy as the kids play Skee Ball, Pac Man, and all of the classic games at this restaurant’s arcade. It’s easy to see why Fannie Farkle’s is one of the best places to eat in the Smoky Mountains!
4. Family Style Southern Cooking
No trip to the Smokies would be complete without some authentic Southern cuisine. Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen in Pigeon Forge has you covered. Be sure to come hungry, because all of the food is served family style with portions fit for a king. Guests can sample some of Deen’s most famous dishes, including her Best Ever Southern Fried Chicken, Cheesy Meatloaf, and Ooey Gooey Butter Cake.
Although she may not be as famous as Paula Deen, the namesake of Mama’s Farmhouse was another Southern chef extraordinaire. The Johnson Family’s Great-Grandmother (known as “Mama”) wrote some of the best recipes around, and now her descendants carry on her legacy by serving up three meals a day of delicious food. Mama’s Farmhouse is an all-you-can-eat family style restaurant, so guests can enjoy plate after plate of down home favorites like buttermilk biscuits, country fried steak, and honey-glazed ham.
Taking the family out for ice cream is a memorable part of any vacation. For some unparalleled scoops, head on over to The Apple Valley Creamery. In addition to over 40 flavors of handmade ice cream, The Creamery also offers homemade apple cinnamon bread, cookies, brownies, cobbler, and more. Dessert at The Creamery is the perfect follow up to a meal at the Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant & Grill, which is located steps away in the Apple Barn Village.
Another excellent spot for ice cream in the Smokies is The Old Mill Creamery. This classic parlor offers traditional flavors and special varieties of ice cream you won’t find anywhere else, like Biscuits ‘n Honey, Oat Mill Cream Pie, and Whiskey Ribbon. Be sure to stop by The Old Mill Candy Kitchen next door to pick up some fudge, brittle, taffy, or another treat to take home.
For more information about all of the best places to eat in the Smoky Mountains, check out our guide to Dining in the Smokies!