Whether you’ve spent the morning hiking in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, toured Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, or shopped along the downtown strip, you most likely will have worked up an appetite! With so many restaurants to choose from, how do you decide? If you’ve ever wondered where the locals go for a delicious meal, take a look at these top 5 places to eat lunch in Gatlinburg:
1. Tennessee Jed’s
Tennessee Jed’s is located in Baskins Square along the Parkway, nestled between unique shops and a local winery. They offer dine-in and carry-out, with some indoor seating and a large, dog-friendly outdoor patio. This sandwich shop is not your average spot– no deli meat in sight! They slow-cook and roast their own meats paired with the freshest ingredients and bread, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth gourmet sandwich. A few of their best-selling sandwiches include the Rueben, the Cubano with pulled Cuban pork roast, Virginia ham, Swiss cheese, pickle, and mustard on a toasted bun, as well as the smoked chicken salad. Tennessee Jed’s also serves Nathan’s hot dogs, covered in your choice of chili sauce, sauerkraut, homemade slaw, and more. Vegan and vegetarian eaters also have options– the tofu burger is delicious!
2. Smith & Son Corner Kitchen
You’ll find a little bit of everything on the menu at Smith & Son Corner Kitchen. Start with the loaded tots as an appetizer before diving into a thick, juicy burger or a plate of smoked meatloaf. On the lighter side, their hearty salads, such as the strawberry chicken salad, taco salad, or the Smoky Moutain cob salad are big hits! Other options we recommend are the fajitas, the open-face roast beef sandwich, and the hot Southern fried chicken. You can also find an extensive drink menu at Smith & Son for a nice midday cocktail– you are on vacation, after all!
3. Delauder’s BBQ
A family-owned and operated restaurant we suggest trying is Delauder’s BBQ. Their award-winning barbeque is phenomenal, from baby back ribs and pulled pork to beef brisket, BBQ chicken, and smoked sausage. We also highly suggest ordering the Smoky Mountain nachos topped with pulled pork and the Sneaky Pig sandwich with pulled pork and their special sweet habanero sauce.
4. New Orleans Sandwich Company
An underrated spot along the Parkway is the New Orleans Sandwich Company. This family-run, unique restaurant in Gatlinburg serves authentic Cajun food in a cozy hole-in-the-wall atmosphere. Local favorites include the Po’boy sandwich, seafood gumbo, jambalaya, and red beans with rice. You won’t regret visiting this hidden gem for lunch in Gatlinburg!
5. Wild Plum Tea Room
Open Thursdays through Saturdays for lunch, the Wild Plum Tea Room is a Smoky Mountain experience you won’t want to miss. You have to call them for a reservation beforehand due to their limited seating and fresh daily menu. Located in the heart of the Gatlinburg Arts and Crafts Community, this restaurant serves a variety of light lunch fare, such as soups, salads, sandwiches, strata, and desserts. Choose from dishes such as the hot pimento cheese dip, roasted beets with feta cheese and walnuts, lobster pie, salmon burger, and of course, their famous chicken salad. The Wild Plum Team Room has indoor seating and an outdoor patio; dogs are welcome in the outdoor seating area!
We hope you’ll try one of these places for lunch in Gatlinburg during your next visit to the Smokies! Want more restaurant recommendations? Check out this 1-day itinerary of where to eat in Gatlinburg TN!