After mulling over topics to write about, I decided to finally rank my three favorite pizzas in Gatlinburg. Many times I’ve mentioned a few of these places, but I never really gave you an opinion of how I really felt about how they stacked up against each other–until now. I am going to rank them based on how I feel they’ve delivered in two different areas and then rank them, overall. What I am not going to do is rank them based on customer service, ambiance, or cleanliness of the restaurant. This is strictly how well they’ve executed the most popular Italian pizza pie. Here goes:
3. Big Daddy’s
I ranked Big Daddy’s number 3 not because the toppings aren’t good; they are, but it did make for a greasier than normal pizza. We like to dab the excess grease off anyway, and we took our time with this one. The sauce is excellent with the marinara being made in-house; the cheese is also very good, and the pepperoni was also better than average, but let’s be honest, it’s pretty difficult to mess that up.
2. Smoky Mountain Brewery
If I was to rank these pizzas a few years ago, I may have ranked SMB third. But not this time. I am not sure if they changed up their pizzas a bit, but the first few times we ate here the toppings fell off way too easy and made it nearly impossible to dab without taking them off via the napkin. The toppings this previous visit were high quality; standing out were the unbelievably tasty garlic-roasted tomatoes that offered just the right amount of garlic and made the cheese and sauce stand out, even though I don’t believe they needed much help from the start, anyway.
1. Best Italian
It’s not often you can eat a pizza with just cheese on it and still feel like you’ve eaten the best. They certainly live up to its name in the pizza category. We ordered a pepperoni pizza the first two times we’ve visited, but we went with just extra cheese the last two visits, and boy, they really pile it on with the sauce complimenting it quite nicely. Throw in some seasoning and your taste buds will shift into overdrive. It deserves the number one ranking on my list of best toppings.
3. Best Italian
This might surprise you, but I don’t have them number 1. They are still excellent; don’t get me wrong. However, it is still lacking that extra something that I want in a crust. Maybe it was due to the fact that it was just a bit on the soggy side this time. Overall, I have to give them merit based on what they’ve delivered in the past, so I docked them a little on that, but the flavor still shines through its weaknesses.
2. Smoky Mountain Brewery
This was hard for me. In the past, I might have told you that this was my favorite, despite the fact that it was a bit messy; however, what I loved was how buttery it tasted at the bottom–it was something I had never experienced before with a pizza. This is not a knock on them with this ranking. I actually enjoyed the crust more this time without the extra flavor on it; it was still nice and crispy, and I found myself (and my son) wanting to come back again to see if it still delivers like it did this last time.
1. Big Daddy’s
There’s something to be said about wood-fired pizza in a brick oven. Amazing. You simply cannot find a better crust in Gatlinburg working with those elements. You get the character in a pizza by eating a crust that’s a bit charred, but not in such a way that it’s burned. It is not. Big Daddy’s is ranked on Trip Advisor as one of the top restaurants in Gatlinburg, and I would have to agree with those people…at least as far as the crust is concerned.
My Top 3 Overall Are…
3. Smoky Mountain Brewery
I know what you’re thinking: How can you rank them third when you had them second on the toppings and crust? Well, that gives you a sense of how close these places are when it comes to picking a favorite. Remember: I picked Big Daddy’s third in toppings and first in the crust. It just depends on how much weight I placed on a category. Altogether, I love each and every one of these pizzas, and the Brewery–despite its great showing last time–has to be placed third, as difficult as it was.
2. Big Daddy’s
This is where I placed Big Daddy’s because they delivered so supremely on their crust. The marinara as a sauce was a real standout, plus they get bonus points for making it from scratch. I know many places around here make their ingredients in the back too; however, how many times can you really tell if it’s scratch made or not. Well, at Big Daddy’s you can, and it makes for a great pizza.
1. Best Italian
Number one is still Best Italian back in the Elks Plaza. They dropped off slightly last time, but it is still the same great pizza we remember when we took our first bite a few years ago. They are very generous with their toppings, and their crust is just good enough to make their pizza our favorite in Gatlinburg.
I can’t even begin to explain how ungodly difficult this was for me to compile. I think I changed my mind as I was writing this. Heck, I may even write a new post in a few months explaining how wrong I was with this list. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing this. Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more. I have more rankings I would like to do based on places to go for breakfast, and I would like to do one about steak after we’ve visited a few more restaurants. See you again soon!