Pancake Pantry Gatlinburg: The Oldest & Best Pancake House in the State

When the Pancake Pantry opened in 1960, it was Tennessee’s first and only pancake house. Now, over fifty years later, there is not a shortage of pancake houses in East Tennessee. However, only one pancake house consistently has a line out the door more days than not – the Pancake Pantry in downtown Gatlinburg. This historic Smoky Mountain eatery is one of the more “famous” restaurants in the area and manages to draw tons of loyal customers every single day.

To compare the Pancake Pantry to IHOP, would be the equivalent of comparing Ruth’s Chris to Golden Corral – there simply is no comparison. Pancake Pantry offers customers twenty-four varieties of pancakes, several types of waffles, French toast, omelets, and every other breakfast food imaginable. Everything from the pancake batter to the syrup is made fresh and from scratch using the freshest ingredients.

If you are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of pancake options, consider trying one of the following:

Sweet Potato Pancakes – Don’t confuse this top-seller with a potato cake. Rather, this is an amazingly light and fluffy pancake that has sweet potatoes in the batter. These pancakes are served with a delightful concoction made out of real butter and cinnamon cream syrup.

Pecan Pancakes – These pancakes were bursting at the seams with pecans. They come sprinkled with powdered sugar and are served with a special pecan syrup.

Georgia Peach Crepes – If you have a sweet tooth, you will love these! These thin rolled-up crepes have a Georgia peach compote inside them. They are topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Regardless of which type of pancakes you order, you are sure to be satisfied.

The Pancake Pantry is in a slate-roofed building and looks as if it belongs in a mountain village. Inside, the tables are close together, and the décor doesn’t look like it has been updated in years. Everything from the menu to the pictures makes you feel as if you have stepped back in time. However, in my opinion, that adds to the overall ambiance of this popular restaurant.

The service here is adequate, but not amazing. These servers spend 8+ hours per day waiting on tourists and their fake smiles are beginning to wear thin. After you are seated, it normally takes several minutes for a server to stop by your table. However, once you order your food, it normally comes out in a timely manner.

Our advice – even if you visit at lunch, order pancakes and breakfast food. There isn’t anything wrong with their lunch food, but the breakfast food is too good to miss.

Can we definitively say that the Pancake Pantry has the best pancakes in the world? No, but only because we think they are made in heaven. Get here before 9:00 to avoid the long lines. This may be your only chance to cut into a stack of flapjack perfection – don’t miss this breakfast restaurant.

Insider Tips:
The Pancake Pantry does not have parking onsite. However, to minimize the parking expense, choose one of the following hourly lots:
Ripley’s Aquarium Parking Lot – This parking lot is a short, five-minute walk from the Pancake Pantry. It is located directly behind Ripley’s Aquarium.
River Road Hourly Lot – If you are heading into downtown Gatlinburg from Pigeon Forge, veer right at the fork in the road by Ripley’s Aquarium on to River Road. Directly past the Mountain Mall there is a parking lot on the left.

Directions:
The Pancake Pantry is located at 628 Parkway in downtown Gatlinburg, TN near traffic light #6. The restaurant is directly adjacent to The Village Shops.

The Bottom Line

While the service is sometimes lacking and the long wait can be frustrating, you simply must visit the Pancake Pantry.