While visiting Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, you’ll want to enjoy some fine dining after eating at a slew of chain restaurants. According to quite a few visitors, the most romantic restaurant in either city is in a log cabin. Let that thought rattle around in your head for a moment. Nothing says romance like the smell of ancient wood, right?
The eatery in question is Greenbrier Restaurant, a Gatlinburg institution that dates back to 1939. Roughly 80 years later, the food still garners awards for its quality just as the restaurant entices first-time visitors with its intimacy. As great a tourist destination as Gatlinburg is, it doesn’t have a lot of romantic offerings, and this one comes at a stiff price.
This restaurant was once the Greenbrier Lodge, a hotel that was popular with hunters and tourists, an odd combination for sure. Mrs. Blanche Moffet, the owner of the establishment, personally served guests breakfast before they went off to hunt or tour. Her hands-on approach made the hunting lodge famous, although singles discovered she had strict rules about the bedrooms. Unmarried women slept in her room.
In 1980, new owners, Dean and Barbara Hadden, bought the property and the surrounding land. They developed it into Greenbrier Restaurant and made it a family affair. All six of the couple’s children have worked at here at some point, and one of their sons, David, is the current owner and operator.
The problem with this establishment is its price. Many entrees cost more than $20, higher than most places in Gatlinburg. While the Chicken Vera Cruz is a flawless recipe, you may not feel it’s worth $25. When you eat here, you’re accepting the stiff price to bathe in the atmosphere. Greenbrier Restaurant is a place you should save for special occasions such as anniversaries rather than a regular vacation destination.
When you’re ready to splurge on the restaurant’s fine options, try some of the offereings listed here:
- Escargot A La Bourguignon: Many reviewers rave about the escargot here. If you are a snails person, go nuts!
- Deep Fried Lobster: How many places are bold enough to offer a six-ounce lobster as an appetizer? That’s the type of meal you get at Greenbrier Restaurant. The appetizers here are entrees at most places.
- Roast Prime Rib of Beef Au Jus: At $32, it’s the most expensive single item on the menu. As the house specialty, the chef ages this dish for 28 days before slow-roasting it. If it won’t melt in your mouth, nothing will.
- Chicken Vera Cruz: The dressing is crab meat, and the topping is white wine.
- Lydia’s Chocolate Suicide For Two: Here’s a fun fact. Romeo and Juliet actually suffered death by chocolate. This brownie has so much dark chocolate that light cannot escape its surface.
- You’ll want to enjoy the view while you’re here. Greenbrier Restaurant sits on the side of a mountain, and you can see the gorgeous forestry from inside the eatery. The design of the building augments the view. One side of it has a floor-to-ceiling window that draws your attention throughout the meal. Ask to sit somewhere that has an unobstructed view. Some sections of the restaurant have walls that prevent you from enjoying the idyllic mountain setting.
- The Greenbrier Restaurant is only open for dinner and they don’t accept reservations. The eatery is popular fills up quickly, so you need to arrive early enough to get a table. Otherwise, be ready for an extended wait.