Admittedly, the heart of Appalachia is not the best place to find vegetarian and vegan fare. If you’re no-meat or plant-based, that can pose a bit of a problem on vacation, so it’s worth knowing where to look to find the right food for mealtimes.
Of course, there are lots of nice grocery stores you can check out in historic Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. There are good old standbys such as Whole Foods, Kroger, and Publix. For an exotic twist, try Taste of Europe, Latino Market & Carniceria, or Zi Olive Millstone Shopping Center.
However, sometimes you just want to sit down to a meal that’s been cooked for you. (Or, you know, a desert that’s been made for you.) Here are 10 of the best to try on your trip!
1. Whole Earth Grocery & Café
In addition to operating a wide-sweeping natural foods selection (as well as your daily dose of supplements, natural beauty products, aromatherapy, and more), Whole Earth Grocery & Café is a vegan and vegetarian shoo-in. From the Lentil Burger Salad to the Veggie Wrap Hot Roasted Seasonal Vegetables, you can get heart-healthy fare loaded with non-animal goodness. Be sure to check out their lovely selection of fruit, dessert, and alternative products on your way out the door!
2. Mellow Mushroom
Although not a vegetarian or vegan restaurant, the Mellow Mushroom has plenty of options that you can alter to your taste. In addition to the Build Your Own Vegan Pizza option, they have plenty of veggie-based pizza choices. If you want to make any pizza vegan, you can simply omit the cheese. For vegetarians, the menu includes tons of choices, such as the Great White, Kosmic Karma, or Veg Out.
3. Front Porch Café
Located in Dollywood, where many Pigeon Forge-goers choose to day-trip, the Front Porch Café is a stellar option for anyone living that plant-friendly life. The fried green tomatoes are a southern mainstay, as delicious as they are hard to find in much of the rest of the country. You can also try the Caesar salad, the black bean and quinoa vegan tacos, the roasted tomato pasta, or the gluten-free brownie. You’ll never go hungry here, and you’ll probably want to come back again to try it all!
4. Buzzed Bull & Creamery
Ice cream and milkshakes that you can get with coffee or booze? Yes, please. Vegetarian across the board, Buzzed Bull & Creamery serves up the desserts of your dreams, blending milkshakes with hard alcohol, espresso, or plain milk – for the under-21 set. You can also get coffee drinks with alcohol in them as well if you’re the type that likes a spiked hot toddy in the afternoon or evening – or heck, any time of day. Vegans should call and check on options before heading in.
5. Pirate’s Voyage
Dinner and a show? Pirates Voyage is one of the most entertaining stops in Pigeon Forge, combining a delicious four-course meal with a raging acrobatic pirate battle while you eat. Vegetarians and vegans, don’t count yourselves out just yet! The meaty options for carnivores are easily updated to suit your tastes. The Me Hearties Vegan Feast includes fire-roasted veggies, quinoa, potato, fruit, and a vegan dessert. Vegetarians get some buttery corn, biscuits, and non-meat potato goodies to round out their meals.
6. Wild Plum Tearoom
What’s fancier than a tearoom? Not much, and this one just happens to welcome plant-based diners with open arms. Enjoy options such as hot pimento cheese dip and baked cheese of the day if you’re a vegetarian or an Impossible burger for vegans. The roasted beets with feta and walnuts are delicious, and vegans can omit the cheese to make it suitable. Plus, there’s all that tea to choose from.
7. Nagano Grill
If you love Japanese food, this is a great stop. Many diners love the menu here, and since you can choose plenty of veggie options, it’s a good lunch option for those who don’t eat animal products. The veggie spring rolls and egg rolls are delicious, as is the miso soup, seaweed salad, or edamame. Cucumber and vegetable rolls will satisfy those who love sushi, and the SOBA noodles are widely loved as well.
8. Red Oak Bistro
The Redoak Bistro is more about the wine than it is the food. With a huge wine menu from which to choose, this is the perfect spot for those who love to taste vino, but it also has beer and other beverages from which to choose. Their delightful menu features lots of tapas options, so if you enjoy family-style finger food with a Mediterranean flair, this won’t disappoint. The Bistro Sampler is vegan, while the Zucchini Boats and Banitza will appeal to vegetarians. The menu changes, so call and check.
Vegan, dairy- and lactose-free, egg-free, and cholesterol-free, all at once? Yep, Pigeon Forge’s Cinnaholic is all that and a bag of chips … minus the bag of chips. However, they do let you create your own cinnamon rolls as well as choose from a range of brownies, cookies, edible cookie dough, and more. Ask them about their seasonal favorites, as they change all the time.
10. Bear Cub Café & Grill
If you’re out and about, the Bear Cub Café & Grill is a great addition to your vegan and vegetarian roundup. It’s located in Gatlinburg, about 20 minutes of easy driving from Pigeon Forge. Its menu is dedicated to animal-free palates, as well as those who are gluten-free and dairy-free. Try the wild rice and lentil salad to check every box, or the stuffed bell peppers for the vegan crowd. If you’re traveling with protein lovers, never fear: there’s chicken and pork on the menu as well.
Get Veg in Pigeon Forge Today
And just like that, you’ll never again have to wonder where to go in Pigeon Forge for the plant-based food you crave. Check out the above eateries and let us know what you think!