#13 of 77 Gatlinburg Restaurants

Ole Red

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Ole Red – Where Southern Comfort Food is Served At It's Finest
Written by: Vicky Reddish
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

If you adore Blake Shelton and down-home comfort food, you'll instantly fall in love with the Gatlinburg edition of Ole Red. This charming restaurant and music venue provides a well-rounded experience, complete with toe-tapping tunes and delicious entrees.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Celebrity restaurants can be hit or miss, but Blake Shelton has arrived at a winning formula with his expanding Ole Red lineup. Boasting locations in Tennessee, Florida, and Oklahoma, the chain is known for its combination of creative menu items and alluring music. The Gatlinburg location hits the mark with a music selection that rivals that of the area’s most established venues. During the Gatlinburg restaurant’s grand opening, Shelton confessed that it was already his favorite location — purely because music serves as such a focal point in this particular establishment.

Ole Red hosts a variety of local and national musicians, some of whom are more established than others. Shelton hopes that the Gatlinburg location will serve as a launching point for a new generation of talented artists.

Whether you discover the next big act or enjoy familiar songs from an old favorite, you’ll appreciate the Shelton-approved country crooning that permeates Ole Red. Favorites include the Scotty Mac Band, Michael Roberts, and Tim Cote.

The musical fun is by no means limited to night owls; typically, the restaurant hosts at least two acts earlier in the day, beginning at either 11:30 am or 2:30 pm. If you prefer to visit during the dinner hour, stop by for a show at 5 or 8 pm.

No matter when you arrive, you’ll appreciate the restaurant’s friendly atmosphere and open layout. Seating is available on two stories overlooking the stage. The restaurant’s tables are a little close for comfort, but this establishes more of a community-oriented, concert-like feel.

The music is amazing, but the Ole Red experience wouldn’t be the same without the restaurant’s signature grub. Portions are sizable, in true Gatlinburg fashion. Wait times can be long, however, and you’ll be more than ready to tackle a large meal once it finally arrives. Burgers and Southern staples dominate the menu, but you’ll find several intriguing twists that freshen up familiar dishes.

If you love hearty meals but struggle to order at most restaurants due to dietary restrictions, you’re in luck — at Ole Red, you’ll find several tasty options that meet your unique needs. The restaurant offers a particularly impressive vegan lineup, complete with salads and burgers. Ole Red also has a small children’s menu stocked with classic kid-friendly meals, including chicken tenders, cheeseburgers, mac ‘n’ cheese, and even peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Both kids and adults will find plenty of amenable options for beverages, including several alcoholic and non-alcoholic favorites. Ole Red offers a great beer selection, complete with standards such as Budweiser, Coors, and Michelob, plus a few excellent local selections. If you’re craving a craft beer, don’t hesitate to order the Blackhorse IPA or the Yee-Haw Pale Ale. Not a beer fan? Opt for a lime-flavored spiked seltzer, red or white sangria, or the Ole Red Buckshot. Several other great cocktails are available, some of which are served in Mason jars.

A few of our favorite menu items at Ole Red include the following:

Redneck Nachos
If you love nachos, then you’re going to love this starter. These tri-colored nachos come loaded with taco meat, white queso, avocado cream, black olives, corn salsa, and pickled jalapenos as red onions. Now that sounds like a snack for a champion.

Kiss My Country Grilled Chicken Sammich
One of the more unique dishes on the menu is this country grilled chicken sammich. The chicken breast a previously marinated in Ole Red’s BBQ dry rub and then cooked to perfection. Our favorite part is the Jalapeno peach jam.

Barn & Grill Burger
A beef patty and pulled pork all in one burger? Yes, please. This hefty burger also includes Ole Red’s BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, ranch potato sticks, lettuce, tomato, and a potato bun.

Brisket Chili Mac
If anything can improve the comfort food appeal of mac and cheese, it’s a liberal amount of cheese. This hearty entree is served with your choice of sides. We always recommend the house-made tots.

Fried Red River Blueberry Pies
Ok, hear us out, a delicious blueberry pie but fried. It’s like fair favorites meets southern comfort. This mouthwatering dessert is filled with blueberry cream cheese and is topped with honey granola, red river berry sauce, and vanilla ice cream.

No matter what you order, you’ll be impressed by the many flavors and sounds you encounter during your visit to Ole Red Gatlinburg.

Insider Tips:
-Wait times can be extensive at Ole Red — particularly when popular acts take the stage. Be prepared to wait at least an hour for your table. Some visitors have waited a full two hours before being seated. If you’re feeling impatient, request a spot at the bar, as this will nearly always cut your wait time in dramatic fashion.
-Blake Shelton sadly cannot be onsite at all times, but his likeness is! Head upstairs to take a picture with him for the ultimate keepsake. You can also document your trip to Ole Red with merch from the restaurant’s small store, where you’ll find clothing and stuffed animals.
-Ole Red always has live music, check out their upcoming lineups on their event calendar.