Fine Dining in Gatlinburg
Gatlinburg has a lot of traditions. If you are looking for the traditional live show in the Smokies, it is Sweet Fanny Adams Theatre. If you are looking for a great traditional attraction, it is Ripley’s Odditorium. And if you are looking for that special place to eat then you need to give the Park Grill a shot. A great menu, combined with tradition and a familiar mountainy look have made the Park Grill a tradition for thousands each year. They come to enjoy the food, be waited on by an amazing staff and soak in the feel of the mountains and of Gatlinburg itself.
The Park Grill is a sprawling log cabin. The beams on the inside, the ones that hold up the roof, are full timbers, like a traditional log cabin. Whole logs, bigger around than a man. The interior is sparsely but eloquently decorated. The booths and tables are designed to give you privacy in a public setting and the staff is there to make sure that you have a great time while you are eating at the Park Grill. From the moment you walk in the door you will know that you are in for something special.
The Park Grill is one of those iconic buildings in Gatlinburg. If you drive down the Parkway, as if you are headed to the National Park, you will see the Park Grill on the left hand side of the road near traffic light 10. There is parking in front of the restaurant and there is parking in the rear as well. Of course, seeing as you are near to a lot of the hotels and motels in town it is always nice to stretch your legs and walk to the restaurant before a wonderful meal.
The food though is what they are famous for. From their world class salad bar to the specials that are indicative of the mountains. Rainbow trout, Moonshine Chicken and other items dot the menu. Their steaks are amazing and their ribs are to die. The ribs come on a plate that they are almost too big to for. Hanging off the side, the ribs have been given a signature rub and they have been cooked for hours so that the smoky goodness has been cooked in. But it is their desserts that stick with you. In particular the Jack Daniel’s Crème Brule. This dessert of custard with the crunch sugar torched to a crunchy brown on top is a staple on their menu. They move fast so order yours when you sit down and get ready to taste Crème Brule perfection with just a hint of Jack.
The Park Grill needs to be on your list. It needs to be a stop you make in the Smokies at least once. And I bet, after you eat there once, that you will go back each time you come back to the mountains.
It is nice to find a local chain of restaurants that you love. One of those places in East Tennessee is Puleo’s Grille. Puleo’s bills themselves as having ‘Southern Roots with Italian Heritage’ and they live up to that concept. Their food is simply amazing, the atmosphere and the service is second to none and they have locations all over Knoxville and as well as one in Murfreesboro, TN. Puleo’s should be on your dining agenda while you are visiting the Smokies.
While you are on vacation, it is important to find a place where you feel comfortable taking your friends and family. You slide into one of the booths and immediately you are in your own little world. Each one of their restaurants is designed to let you have your privacy while you are in a public restaurant. You don’t have to scream to be heard over everyone else. You don’t have to yell your conversation to the rest of your dining party. It is laid back and the service is some of the best you will find anywhere in Knoxville. Whether you need a place to celebrate with that special someone or if you are looking for a place to bring your spouse and kids, Puleo’s is the place.
There are 5 Puleo’s in the Knoxville, TN area. They are headquartered in Knoxville and they have expanded as their customers have demanded it. When they found that they were having more customers than they could handle they simply added another location in a different part of town. The nice thing is if you get to Puleo’s and one location is full, you can just drive to another one.
- Cedar Bluff
- Deane Hill
- Merchants / Cedar Lane
- Strawberry Plains
Here is the most important part: the food. I have yet to have anything at Puleo’s that I would not have again and again and again. I do seem to have a problem though… I am stuck on their Shrimp and Grits. They are my favorite version of this low-country delicacy. Made with Taso sausage and gravy, there is no part of the dish that doesn’t shine. The grits are cooked to perfection and the peppers and onions that are sautéed in the same sauce are the perfect counterpoint. The last several times I have been to Puleo’s I don’t even get a menu because the Shrimp and Grits are so good. If I had to pick something else to recommend it would be the Rattlesnake Prime Rib which is a pan seared prime rib with an indescribable dry rub topped with a cheese sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about the Shrimp and Grits though. I may be at Puleo’s tonight.
If you are passing through or if you are in the Smokies for a week-long vacation drive back toward Knoxville or end a day in Knoxville eating at one of the best local chains you will ever find. Puleo’s has a full menu and there will be something for everyone in your traveling party to enjoy, but if you are a seafood fanatic, get the Shrimp and Grits.