#13 of 77 Gatlinburg Restaurants

Ole Red

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Ole Red
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 which 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 include the following:

Southern Tater Tot Poutine – With this beloved Ole Red starter, Canada meets the South in an explosion of flavor. Enjoy white cheddar curds from Kenny’s Farmhouse, plus pulled pork, gravy, fried egg, and, of course, Ole Red’s signature hot sauce.

Ober Gatlin-Burger – A local favorite, this pork burger comes complete with moonshine mushrooms and Swiss cheese. This enticing combination of flavors is served on a salted pretzel bun, and, like all burgers at Ole Red, comes with your choice of fries or tater tots.

Nacho Average Vegan Burger – As a vegan, there’s no need to compromise on your burger. Featuring Ole Red’s signature Impossible burger, this option is impossibly tasty — to the point that self-avowed carnivores just might conclude that they like it better than their standard burger. This generously topped burger includes vegan nacho cheese, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno, and a tasty avocado smash.

Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf – If anything can improve the comfort food appeal of meatloaf, it’s a liberal amount of bacon. This hearty entree is served alongside cheddar smashed potatoes and a mouthwatering barbecue sauce.

Turtle Funnel Cake – If you manage to save room for dessert, be sure to order this specialty. This unique funnel cake goes beyond typical fair food with caramel, chocolate, and pecans.

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.