#17 of 20 Dollywood Food

Red’s Drive In

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Red's Drive In at Dollywood: Family Classics in a Drive In Style Diner
Local Expert's Rating:
3.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Red's Drive In is a popular spot in Dollywood, featuring basic grill items, including burgers with a self serve toppings bar. The fun, family friendly atmosphere makes it worth the trip, but be prepared for a bit of a wait on busy days at the TN theme park.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

If you love burgers, you know there’s nothing better than a perfectly topped burger made just how you like it. At Red’s Drive In in Dollywood, the vintage style diner serves up basic, well-made hamburgers alongside a DIY toppings bar so you can get your burger just right. A great option for kids—especially since the basic kids’ burger is a good value.

On a recent trip to the park, our party of adults was happy with our eats as well as the cool vintage vibes at this drive in style diner.   While we did have to wait in line for a bit before entering, we found the shiny red décor fun to check out and even use as a background for a group photo. As long as you’re not suffering through a rainy day, hanging out at Dollywood in line for a burger at Red’s Drive In is a pretty decent way to pass the time. Cool bonus for Dollywood diehards: you can find tons of historical info about the original diner that inspired Red’s, as well as background on Jukebox Junction, which is the section of the park where Red’s Drive In is located.

Once inside, we filled up on a few options from the small, but solid menu. Coke lovers will delight in the Coca Cola freestyle machine, but the one downside of infinite soft drink choices means you might face another line before settling down to eat.

Red’s Drive in offers both indoor and outdoor seating. We all wanted to try one of Jukebox Specials—Red’s signature 1/3 pound burger—and we also ordered a few boxes of crisp, hot, crinkle cut fries. Our burgers came out hot, and we were able to quickly make them to order and dig in. We found it totally worth the wait to find everything cooked to order and made fresh.

Before making our way out from the cold AC and into the heat of Jukebox Junction, we just had to get a milkshake. Thick, sweet, and ice cold, it’s a bit of nostalgic perfection that goes so well with the Dollywood experience.

Overall, our visit to Red’s Drive In was a leisurely way to learn a little bit more about Dolly Parton and the food and culture that shaped her, while getting in a good meal in a really cool setting. A good choice for families, as well as groups of friends, or couples, there’s something for all ages at Red’s Drive In.

Insider Tip:
– If both your belly and your phone need to recharge, Red’s Drive In has you covered. Look for the outdoor Coca Cola bottle mobile charging stations, or plan to sit at one of the indoor counter seats and make use of the USB ports in front of each stool. Looking to unplug? Then kick back and enjoy the historical context displayed throughout the diner, which shares the story of the real life inspiration for Red’s—a diner back in Dolly Parton’s hometown.