Top Pigeon Forge Restaurants for Great Eats in the Smokies

Kathleen Walls Avatar
Pigeon Forge Restaurants - The water wheel  on Little Pigeon River that turns the mill at Old Mill
The water wheel on Little Pigeon River that turns the mill at Old Mill. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

With top attractions like Dollywood and Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Pigeon Forge is swarming with great dining experiences. Here are just a few of the places to find delicious food in Pigeon Forge. The Smoky Mountain Parkway runs through Pigeon Forge and is home to many restaurants and attractions.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - The Old Mill Restaurant
The Old Mill Restaurant. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

The Old Mill Restaurant

The Old Mill’s history is similar to that of Pigeon Forge. It all started when Mordecai Lewis settled on the banks of a small river in east Tennessee in 1786. Lewis’ son-in-law, Issac Love, built an iron forge on the site in 1817 and his sons built a grist mill there in 1830. They named the mill Lewis Mill after their grandfather. The river came to be known as the Little Pigeon River because flocks of now-extinct passenger pigeons roosted in the trees on its banks. The town grew and got its name from the pigeons and the forge.

The Old Mill Restaurant is one of the most famous and best restaurants in Pigeon Forge. We had breakfast there with Donna Huffake and Jimmy Proffitt from the Old Mill’s public relations department. They told us the mill’s story as we dined. I had the Old Mill Country Breakfast. It’s two farm-fresh eggs, (I choose over easy) stone ground corn grits, pancakes, home-fried potatoes, homemade biscuits with tri-berry preserves, and country sausage gravy. I added bacon and loved it. It’s typical Southern comfort food.

They are open for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Many of the tables have a view of the Little Pigeon River as it flows through the 200-year-old mill’s water wheel.

For lighter fare, they have the Old Mill Pottery House Cafe and for taking home supplies for the family kitchen, there is the Old Mill General Store. You can find a soup sampler of four kinds of soup served here or buy stone ground grits or cornmeal.

If you are craving dessert, the Old Mill Creamery serves homemade ice cream or the Old Mill Candy Store offers some homemade candies. The fudge is my favorite here. There’s also an Old Forge Distillery for your favorite spirits.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Mama’s Farmhouse
Mama’s Farmhouse. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Mama’s Farmhouse Restaurant

Mama’s Farmhouse is another great breakfast choice. It’s like dining at grandma’s. The restaurant, family-owned by the Johnson family, is based on their memories of their great-grandmother‘s kitchen. Everyone called her “Mama.” Meals are brought to your table family-style and are all-you-can-eat. Just ask if you want more.

Their buttermilk biscuits won first place in the People’s Choice Award at the 2015 International Biscuit Festival in Knoxville. Biscuits are accompanied by both Mama’s special chocolate gravy and a  traditional sausage gravy. The server brought us dishes filled with cinnamon sugar pinwheels, scrambled eggs,  cheese grits, hash brown casserole, fresh fruit, chicken tenders, sausage patties, and crispy bacon for a breakfast that was more like a very filling brunch.

Lunch and dinner feature Southern classics. The menu includes their special southern fried chicken every day. Other menu choices vary by day and include turkey, meatloaf, and ham. You choose four delicious sides from mashed potatoes, chicken and dumplings, mac and cheese, fried okra, creamed corn, broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole, or green beans, and a dessert choice.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Antique truck at Pluckett’s
Antique truck at Puckett’s. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Puckett’s Restaurant

I had smoked meatloaf with collard greens and a salad this time. I’ve had their BBQ and banana pudding at other Puckett’s. Puckett’s six restaurants around Tennessee grew from one small Puckett’s Grocery in Leipers Fork, near Nashville starting in the 1950s. They ranked on Travel Await’s 2022 list of top 10 BBQ restaurants in the U.S.

The decor is pure American South with moonshiner photos and plaques on the wall. They have live music on Friday and Saturday nights.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - The Gardener Pizza
The Gardener Pizza. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

West By God Coal Fired Pizza at Country Roads AZ House

Country Roads Ax House might be the last place you would think of for pizza but West by God Coal-Fired Pizza is housed there. Ben Boggess, West by God Coal Fired Pizza co-founder, met with us and told us why his pizza is different and better. As you might have guessed. Obviously, Ben is from “West by God Virginia,” the state, as opposed to being a section of Virginia.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Ben and one of his chefs cooking a pizza
Ben and one of his chefs cooking a pizza Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

He said that they made their pizza the way early Italian Immigrants made pizza. The dough is made fresh then let ferment for a couple of days. The longer it ferments, the more flavor and taste in the dough. They model their pizza after New Haven, Connecticut pizza. The most important factor is their 700-degree coal-fired oven where each pizza is cooked for about three and a half or four minutes. Ben has a certificate from Scuola Italiana Pizzaioli in Naples, Italy.

We tried several of his pizzas, including The Classic White made with garlic, extra virgin olive oil, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese, The Gardener Which is similar but has fresh tomato, spinach, mushroom, and balsamic drizzle added, The 1863 is a more traditional pizza with pepperoni, homemade sausage, and mushroom. My favorite is The Rock Lake, topped with tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella, pineapple, bacon, and bacon jam.  

While you are throwing axes and enjoying pizza, you can sample craft beers at the 24 Tap Self-Serve Beer Wall where you can have as much or as little as you like. It’s priced by the ounce.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - The trolley in front of the Mountain Monster
The trolley in front of the Mountain Monster. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

The Mountain Mile

The Mountain Mile is a mixed entertainment district with both dining and play areas. There’s a free event lawn with cornhole and a trolley to get around. Mountain Monster is a thrill ride with three choices, Monster Drop, Lauch, or Swing. All of them involve a  200-foot drop.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - My Smoky Mountain Roll
My Smoky Mountain Roll Photo credit: Kathleen Walls


When your sweet tooth cranks up and demands a sweet breakfast, Cinnaholic is where you want to go. It’s a vegan small chain bakery specializing in sweet rolls baked with cinnamon. You can choose from the large menu of rolls or cookies or create your own delicacy. Pick a cinnamon roll and then your choices for frosting and toppings. I had a Smoky Mountain Roll. I loved the soft roll, and the toppings were mostly chocolate so I was happy.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Azul Cantina
Azul Cantina. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Azul Cantina

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Our guacamole and chips
Our guacamole and chips. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Azul Cantina is the first rooftop bar in Pigeon Forge. It serves traditional Mexican food with a southwest touch. We ate downstairs in the Dolly Room named for its room-sized mural of Dolly Parton. We shared their guacamole with Azul Special Chips as an appetizer. I loved my Matcho Wings, a unique twist on traditional chicken wings. The smoked wings have a mesquite rub and are served with salsa macha, cilantro, and avocado dressing. Salsa macha is a traditional Mexican sauce made from dried peppers, nuts, and oils.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - The Dolly Room
The Dolly Room. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

The menu is large, you’ll find the traditional quesadillas and fajitas as well as steak and fish dishes. They have an interesting variety of tacos ranging from chicken to tuna or shrimp.

We walked up to the rooftop bar. The view is magnificent. I could see the Smoky Mountains. They serve craft cocktails with just about any kind of spirits, as well as beers and wine.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Junction 35 Spirits
Junction 35 Spirits. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Junction 35 Spirits

Junction 35 Spirits was the first distillery in Pigeon Forge. It’s in The Mountain Mile just a few doors away from Azul Cantina. They serve food to go with their spirits.

Downtown Flavortown

Guy Fieri’s Downtown Flavortown, a combination restaurant and arcade is also in Mountain Mile.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel with a carousel in front
The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel with a carousel in front. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

The Island

The Island is a mixed-use attraction with lots to draw visitors from the 200-foot Great Smoky Mountain Wheel and the Island Show Fountain’s choreographed shows to shopping, rides, and food, it’s one of Pigeon Forge’s most popular hang-outs.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Dick’s Last Resort
Dick’s Last Resort .Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Dick’s Last Resort

Visit Dick’s Last Resort for classic American fare and some off-the-wall jokes. It’s a small chain with 10 locations ranging from as far away as Las Vegas and as near as Gatlinburg, it’s a popular spot.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Paula Deen’s Family Restaurant
Paula Deen’s Family Restaurant. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen

Anyone who has watched the Food Channel is familiar with Paula Deen and her Southern-style cooking will want to visit Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are classic Deen family recipes served family style and as much as you can eat.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Margaritaville
Margaritaville. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls


Another well-known classic here is Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville. It’s a place for dinner and drinks. The menu has lots of seafood and is famous for its Cheeseburger in Paradise served with your choice of French fries or salad. There are unique dining spaces, a concert stage, and several bars. A large outside deck overlooking the Little Pigeon River lets you enjoy outdoor dining and live music at the 5 O’clock Somewhere Bar.

Timberwood Grill

Timberwood Grill offers a range of mountain foods from soup and salads to some of the best steaks like Gunpowder Ribeye, a 12 oz. USDA choice ribeye steak grilled with Cajun spices and served with baked potato and a choice of sides.

The Island Creamery

There are lots of places here to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can get a delicious banana split at the Island creamery and a lot of other ice cream desserts.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Ole Smoky Distillery
Ole Smoky Distillery. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Ole Smoky Distillery

Ole Smoky Distillery is East Tennessee’s first federally licensed distillery. It first opened in Gatlinburg, and later opened a distillery at The Island. Some friends and I did a tasting there with Sandy, as she poured tiny shots for us, she explained each sample. The variety was amazing. We met with Will Perkins, General Manager who told us they were going to be releasing two of Popcorn Sutton’s recipes this month.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Sandy getting ready to pour one of the moonshine samples.
Sandy getting ready to pour one of the moonshine samples. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

Sutton’s wife Pam gave them the recipes. The bourbon is a 100-proof blend of straight bourbon whiskeys from Tennessee and North Carolina. The other is a 100-proof moonshine blend called “Popcorn’s Likker,” made from Sutton’s moonshine recipe with a blend of grain. and cane. It will be available at all Ole Smoky locations.

Pigeon Forge Restaurants - Will Perkins showing us the distillery at Ole Smoky
Will Perkins showing us the distillery at Ole Smoky. Photo credit: Kathleen Walls

There were so many other restaurants I would like to have visited, including Blue Moose Burgers & Wings, Big Daddy’s Pizzeria, Mel’s Diner, Huck Finn’s Catfish, and Bullfish Grill, but there wasn’t enough time. Maybe next time I visit Pigeon Forge.

Kathleen Walls, former reporter for Union Sentinel in Blairsville, GA, is originally from New Orleans, she currently resides in Middleburg, FL but travels extensively and loves to write about history, agritourism, music, and food and drinks. She is the author of travel books, Georgia’s Ghostly Getaways, Finding Florida’s Phantoms, Hosts With Ghosts, and Wild About Florida series, and many novels. She’s a proud member of International Food, Wine, and Travel Writers (IFWTA) & Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) Websites: and
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