Pigeon Forge is not only one of the premier gateways to the Great Smoky Mountains (and easily one of its most family-friendly, what with Dollywood and all the other entertainment attractions): It’s also a darn good place to enjoy a home-style Southern breakfast. You have absolutely no shortage of great breakfast destinations in town, but here are our picks for the 10 best establishments —and their top breakfast eats!
1. The Old Mill Restaurant
This haven for soul-satisfying Southern comfort food is one of the most popular restaurants in the whole Great Smokies region, but rest assured your breakfast will be worth the potential wait. Nestled along the Little Pigeon River, the Old Mill Restaurant serves up what our local expert aptly describes as “insanely large portions,” so—as with a number of the eateries on this list—it’s a great place to come with a full-size appetite.
We recommend the Cinnamon Raisin Pecan French Toast Breakfast here, which comes anchored by delightful cinnamon raisin pecan bread baked at the Old Mill Restaurant’s “sister” establishment of the Old Mill Pottery House Café & Grill (see below). That bread gets slathered in house batter and presented with whipped butter and maple syrup: a delectable feast you can enhance with sides of meat (bacon, sausage, or country ham) and/or farm-fresh eggs.
2. Reagan’s House of Pancakes
Reagan’s indeed prepares a whole rainbow’s worth of pancakes, including great buttermilk, blueberry, strawberry, and pecan options. If we had to pick one, though, we’d suggest the sweet-tooths version: the Chocolate Chip Pancakes topped off with whipped butter and hot homemade syrup. You can add various toppings or fillings if you want to take things even further.
Reagan’s House of Pancakes offers a popular breakfast buffet option, too, where you can combine your flapjacks with biscuits and gravy, to-order eggs, bacon, and other eats.
3. Brick & Spoon
This New Orleans-inspired chain has its only Tennessee branch in Pigeon Forge, and there’s plenty to recommend on the breakfast menu. Embrace the Louisiana spirit and give the Killer Creole Omelet a try, which comes packed with Gulf shrimp, sautéed onions, pepper, cheddar cheese, and tasso, the whole shebang drenched in the house-made Brick & Spoon Hollandaise sauce.
4. The Pottery House Café & Grille
The aforementioned sister joint to the Old Mill Restaurant, the Pottery House Café & Grille is its topnotch dining destination: partly for the food, partly for the all-around country atmosphere with a lot of locally made furnishings and dishware. It serves a fine weekend brunch, a highlight of which is the Chicken & Waffle dish: the Pottery House Belgian waffle loaded up with fried chicken tenders and dressed with Old Forge’s praline sauce and chopped pecans.
5. Sawyer’s Farmhouse Restaurant
Here’s one of Pigeon Forge’s top spots for all-day breakfast. We particularly urge you to try the Bananas Foster French Toast, a delightfully decadent plate of French toast heaped with caramelized bananas and drizzled with whipped butter. To die for…
6. Mel’s Classic Diner
This classic, ‘50s-style diner makes some mean breakfast dishes, and we can’t single out any other than the most colorfully named and heavy-duty one: Big Daddy’s Gut Buster Breakfast. If you’re hungry enough for the Big Daddy’s, strap yourself in for two eggs, hashbrowns, or grits with biscuits and gravy or a short stack, with some country fried steak, Virginia baked ham, or country ham to along with it all.
7. Song & Hearth Buffet at DreamMore Resort
This Dollywood restaurant specializing in Southern cuisine in a rustic farmhouse atmosphere is open not only to resort guests but also the general public, and among its offerings are daily breakfast and a Sunday brunch buffet. Try the Crème Brulee French Toast—a unique spin on a breakfast classic.
8. Bennett’s BBQ Pigeon Forge
Serving up celebrated hickory-smoked pit barbecue for decades, Bennett’s is also notable for its all-you-can-eat breakfast bar. Take advantage of it and choose from customizable Belgian waffles, pancakes, French toast, pulled pork, bacon, biscuits, toast, cooked cinnamon apples, home fries, sausage gravy, grits, donut holes—well, the list goes on!
9. Red Rooster Pancake House
This thoroughly unpretentious, thoroughly friendly restaurant is definitely a good place for pancakes, but we’re also partial to the Red Rooster Burrito Skillet: a tortilla absolutely jampacked with scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, ham, onions, tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, and cheese, with salsa, sour cream, and hashbrowns on the side.
10. Mama’s Farmhouse
This much-loved Pigeon Forge restaurant specializes in family-style Southern country cooking, with huge all-you-can-eat portions. The family-style breakfast includes a number of lip-smacking offerings—awesome pinwheels among them—but the star of its show has to be the Mama’s Buttermilk Biscuits, which landed top honors at the 2015 International Biscuit Festival.
Start Your Smoky Mountain Day Off Right With a Pigeon Forge Breakfast
You can’t go wrong with any of the above Pigeon Forge breakfast favorites, which give you the necessary fuel to get the most out of a day in the Great Smoky Mountains. We reckon we’ve inspired quite the raging appetite with this read-through, and recommend making tracks to “The Center of Fun in the Smokies” as soon as possible to take care of it…