There’s perhaps nothing more rejuvenating than mom-and-pop restaurants awaiting your arrival for a bite to eat in between your Gatlinburg adventures. Whether you’re ready for a loaded stack of pancakes or want the full dinner spread, these local eateries offer all you crave. Better yet, they’ll serve every last order with a smile—and even offer local insights about the best sights and attractions across the Great Smoky Mountains.
If that sounds like just how you want to fuel up for fun, use this guide to learn about the top four must-try mom-and-pop restaurants:
Three Jimmy’s Good Time Eatery
A true local favorite, Three Jimmy’s Good Time Eatery never fails to live up to its name. On Wednesday through Friday nights, none other than Neese Hurst plays the piano and belts out tunes as patrons make their special requests.
Local musicians come through the doors once a week to entertain their patrons all evening long. And Thursdays get wild as patrons also find themselves on the stage for karaoke night. Happy hour commences all the while, giving you a chance to sip on the tastiest drinks served at a discount.
Although there’s no shortage of fun to be had at Three Jimmy’s, it’s their food that deserves your full attention. Their talented chef makes every order from scratch using the freshest local ingredients and truly imaginative recipes. They even collaborate with Green Eye Hemp Café in growing their own cherry tomatoes and organic basil.
Using those ingredients, they regularly roll out Fried Pickle Chips, Caesar Salad, Prime Beef Brisket plates, Southern Fried Catfish, and so much more. Their World-Class Artisan Pizza is second-to-none, always made by hand to order. For the ultimate sweet and savory combo, go with the Blackberry Pig pizza, which features hickory-smoked pork, caramelized onions, smoked bacon, mozzarella, and gouda over hand-tossed dough smothered in blackberry chipotle sauce.
The Wild Plum Tea Room
A visit to The Wild Plum Tea Room is a must while visiting Gatlinburg, TN, but you have to time your visit just right. They open their doors in April each year and then continue serving their delicious eats and refreshing beverages through the end of the tourist season. They’re only open on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays until 3 pm each day, and you’re required to make a reservation to get a table.
If all the stars align and you manage to snag a seat, you’ll be rewarded with a homey dining experience to remember. All their menu items get made to order while you wait. Their chef uses ultra-fresh ingredients to handcraft decadent items, like Sherried Tomato Bisque, Roasted Beets, and Lobster Pie. Their signature Wild Plum Tea pairs beautifully with nearly everything on the menu, although they also have soda, plum juice, and coffee available.
Everything is so good that you’ll want to take your time savoring every last morsel put before you. As you do that, take a moment to admire the eclectic décor, complete with lace-covered tea tables, vintage wallpaper, and classic paintings. To beautifully complete your meal, save room for their Dessert of the Day, which ranges from Blackberry Cobbler to Bread Pudding.
Cheese Cupboard & Hofbrauhaus
Whether you just want to grab a snack and hit the road or stick around for a full meal, you cannot go wrong with a visit to the Cheese Cupboard and The Hofbrauhaus Restaurant. Set in The Village Shops, this venue features a full-service cheese shop on the ground floor and a mom-and-pop eatery above. The quaint Bavarian styling, in and out, sets the stage for an incredible visit, leaving you wanting to come back time and again.
Even if you’re not planning on making a purchase, spend a little time exploring the Cheese Cupboard before going upstairs. Time seemingly slows down as you enter this traditional shop and gaze in wonder at all the imported and domestic cheese varieties. They also have rich chocolates from German and Switzerland, plus gourmet mustards, hot sauces, Kosher dill pickles, and so much more.
Upon going upstairs, you’ll get treated to an iconic dining experience in a classic German pub. Their larger-than-life Famous Super Reuben is the star of the show, for sure. But they also have Cheese Pretzels, Polish Sausage, and all the German beer you could want. Although you’ll want to stick around all day, they do have limited seating and appreciate you enjoying your selections and then heading out the door for more adventures.
The Pancake Pantry
Every single morning, eager patrons queue up in a line that extends around the side of the building to get a chance to enjoy all The Pancake Pantry has to offer. This popular mom-and-pop eatery in Gatlinburg, TN, earned its loyal following with over 23 varieties of scratch-made pancakes. Blueberry. Sweet Potato. Pecan. Chocolate Chip. Banana Bread. You name the flavor, and they’ll serve it up piping hot and ready to enjoy.
While pancakes are the name of the game, that’s not all they have. Their crew can make any brekkie favorites you’re craving, including Biscuits and Gravy, Hash Browns Scrambles, and French Toast. Whatever you end up getting, pair it with their Hash Browns, and make sure to add the jalapenos, cheese, onions, and bacon for an extra charge.
If all that’s not enough, you can take your meal to the next level with a cocktail of your choice. They have Stacked Mimosas, of course, along with Nashville Sunrises, Pantry Bloody Marys, and Stacked Lagniappes. Can’t decide between them all? Treat yourself to the Brunch Flight for a taste of all the fan favorites.
To truly experience the magic of the Smokies, it’s best to enjoy at least one meal at one of the many delicious local mom-and-pop restaurants. Try these four Gatlinburg, TN, eateries first, and then set out to find even more. No matter where you end up, there’s no doubt that you’ll delight in the scrumptious food and drinks, ultra-friendly service, and amazing ambiance at every stop.