It appears that we’re going to make another Gatlinburg trip this summer—this time just the wife and I—but this one will be different. When I say different, I mean trying all new restaurants in Gatlinburg. You may think we’ve eaten at every Gatlinburg restaurant by now, but that is far from accurate. We usually like to frequent our favorite spots in town and maybe—if we’re lucky—try at least one new place. The only reason why we even considered doing this was due to the disappointment we received in the service department at our favorite restaurants. You only have to have read my first June vacation blog from last month to understand why. The food was still really good, but our service left us with a bad taste in our mouth instead.
I’m going to go ahead and list the restaurants that we’re eager to visit, and hopefully they won’t fail us like the others did in June. We’re really hoping they’ve worked out their flaws to right the ship before we decide to visit them again next year. The list on this Gatlinburg trip will include 5 places that we’ve decided merit an appearance from us, and why we came to that decision.
1. Taste of Italy
Located in a little strip mall on the East Parkway, Taste of Italy has intrigued me since it opened to rave reviews from pasta lovers of authentic Italian food. There still are very few critics of this Italian restaurant in Gatlinburg—still ranking in the top 5 on TripAdvisor. They make their own marinara, and they will no doubt be held against the standard set by Big Daddy’s and their marvelous sauce. They will be getting a review on here shortly after our visit when I tell you if it’s the real deal Italian that everyone claims it is.
This restaurant is first on our itinerary when we arrive in Gatlinburg. We always talk about eating here, since we pass it on our way onto Glades Road and the nice shops along the Arts and Crafts loop. They have a nice outdoor patio with lots of live entertainment during the week. Their menu is quite extensive, with plenty of food choice meant to satisfy everyone’s desires to fit their own tastes. By all accounts, it’s known to really be a good time eatery serving good food in large quantities.
One of the newest members of the Johnson’s Family of Restaurants, this place shares a space with another of their new restaurants—J.O.E. and Pop’s Sub Shoppe. I don’t believe we’ve ever had fried chicken on any of our many visits, so this will be a welcome change. It’s actually quite ridiculous to think we haven’t had this Southern staple, but we’re ready to make it right this time. We usually get wonderful food and service from this family’s other 2 restaurants—Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que and Big Daddy’s—so, needless to say, our expectations are fairly high for this one too.
4. Tom and Earl’s Back Alley Grill
Near the end of our last trip, we chose Calhoun’s over this restaurant. That meant this was the easiest choice to add to our never-tried list on this trip. Quite literally located down a back alley, Tom and Earl’s features a nice outdoor patio with Denver Evans as their regular musical guest. The menu isn’t extensive, but it offers some original tried and true favorites with a twist. It’s one of the few places in town where the locals seem to love it just as much as the tourists. This makes it a no-brainer for us on this trip.
This Gatlinburg pancake restaurant is also more known to the locals than the tourists; its location has a lot to do with this fact, since it’s not on the main Parkway. This will be the last pancake restaurant crossed off our list in the pancake heaven that is Gatlinburg. Since I’ve been on an omelet kick lately, I might opt for that, but I’ll be sure to get a bite or two from my wife’s pancakes—if she lets me, that is.
There you have it! 5 new restaurants are on our agenda on our late summer Gatlinburg trip. Let me know if you’ve been to any of these places, and be sure to let me know if you liked or hated any of these places. I’m always open to changing my mind. Thanks for reading, and you’ll hear from me after I return when I offer my honest opinions!