Pigeon Forge is one of the best places in Southern America for enjoying world-class shows, amusement rides, and delectable food. From fried chicken and pulled pork to pancakes and buttermilk biscuits with gravy, you would find some of the tastiest southern delights here. So whether you’re a family of four or a solo traveler looking for someplace to eat in Pigeon Forge, here are twelve things you must try.
Pancakes are round, thin hotcakes made of flour, milk, and egg batter. They are slightly thicker than a crepe and one of the most common foods you can try at the Pigeon Forge. There are more than fifty types of hotcakes, and if you ever plan on visiting Pigeon Forge, a visit to Flapjacks or Reagan’s House of Pancakes is a must. You can try them as a standalone food item or devour them with eggs, waffles, oatmeal, bacon, and sausages. Top your pancakes with warm maple syrup, fruit slices, pecan, peanut butter, or chocolate chips. Although every culture and diner might add their own twist to the classic hotcakes, they are a must when visiting Pigeon Forge.
2. Fried Chicken
This popular entree is a must-try for everyone who visits Pigeon Forge. Hot and crispy on the outside yet juicy and tender on the inside, fried chicken is a must. Pigeon Forge has some of the best buttermilk-brined fried chicken. With sides like taters, vegetable soup, and coleslaw, you can devour fried chicken meals with live entertainment in most restaurants. One of the best places to eat in Pigeon Forge is Junction 35 Spirits. It has a range of chicken and other meat options, served with various sides like garlic bread or onion strings. You can also try their Smoky Mountain Chicken – honey-glazed BBQ chicken breasts, topped with cheese and bacon and served with a side of onion strings.
3. Old Mill Corn Chowder
If your taste buds seek a country meal, head over to enjoy Old Mill Corn Chowder. Chowder is a popular southern food item. A creamy delight of onions, potatoes, chicken broth, and corn, the Old Mill Corn Chowder is known for its saltiness. It is best enjoyed with fresh bread baked on-site. The iconic Old Mill, built in 1830, is functional to this date. A tourist favorite in Pigeon Forge, the Old Mill overlooks the Little Pigeon River, from which the Forge gets its name. Next to the old Mill is the family-friendly Southern diner, the Old Mill Restaurant. Visitors can enjoy the Old Mill Corn Chowder while watching the live flour grinding process.
4. Southern Catfish
One of the most delectable Southern all-you-can-eat meals is fried catfish. Although there is plenty of rare seafood to try when visiting Pigeon Forge, the Mississippi catfish is a must. Avoid the wild-caught catfish as the taste of murky waters remains in its flesh. Typically, farmed catfish have a sweet and mild taste. You can enjoy fried catfish with a side of baked beans, creamy coleslaw, and turkey ham. Many restaurants also serve it with mashed taters, online slices, or hushpuppies.
5. Barbecue (BBQ)
There are so many different types of BBQ all over the USA; even North Carolina has plenty of its own. But when you’re visiting Pigeon Forge, you have to try a Southern-style BBQ. The distinct smoky flavor in meat from cooking it in an outdoor pit is a standard in the Southern part of the US. Almost every restaurant and diner offers a BBQ-flavored burger or sandwich on its menu. You can also order a slow-smoked BBQ instead of a burger or sandwich for a change of taste. You can also order appetizers like fried tomatoes, corn, or BBQ pimento-cheese bites – another one of the Southern delicacies. Enjoy Southern BBQ with live musical performances in most restaurants and diners in Pigeon Forge.
6. Fried Green Tomatoes
Southern cuisine doesn’t disappoint when it comes to appetizers and snacks. Its popular fried green tomatoes are a crispy delight that everyone visiting Pigeon Forge should try. Often served with entrees like BBQ or other full-course chicken meals, this popular snack is made from unripe and tangy tomatoes fried in a cornmeal and milk batter. Restaurants in Pigeon Forge like to add their own twist to this Southern classic by adding bacon, caramelized onions, goat cheese, and even jam. You can enjoy fried green tomatoes with gourmet burgers or fried chicken.
7. Buttermilk Biscuits
Biscuits and gravy are common American delicacies that may not sound as delicious as they are. Buttermilk biscuits are the perfect appetizer for lunch and dinner menus. You can also enjoy them for breakfast with chocolate or sausage gravy. Some people like topping the buttermilk biscuits with fruit butter or enjoy them as a side dish with chicken noodle soup. Buttermilk biscuits are the perfect comfort food after a long day traversing the Pigeon Forge.
The Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and surrounding areas are famous for their fresh rainbow trout. Every restaurant offers its unique taste. Some offer fried trout marinated in a cornmeal batter with beer or wine, and others serve it with a side of onions or sauteed mushrooms. Bacon lovers can try the hickory smoked trout stuffed with bacon and served with sauteed onions or mushrooms. Ask for a side of dill sauce that perfectly blends with the spicy flavor of the trout.
9. Mac n Cheese
Mac and cheese is a classic food item for Americans. So no matter where you go, there’s no harm in indulging in some creamy and cheesy pasta experience. Although pasta dishes are not American, whether in an elegant restaurant or a late-night diner, sometimes ordering mac and cheese is the safest option. Plenty of eateries and family-friendly restaurants in Pigeon Forge serve classic mac n cheese dishes, sometimes with an added flair of garlic bread or pulled pork.
Meatloaf, albeit its sad history and relevance to the Great Depression, is a popular delicacy all over the US. For the sake of context, meatloaf came into existence when meat became too pricey for people to afford during the Depression. To improvise, Americans came up with the idea of mixing cheap meat with saltine and grains. Now, meatloaf is a popular delicacy and has a few variations of its own. It also makes a great side dish for lunch, brunch, and dinner options. You can enjoy meatloaf topped with mashed potatoes, melted cheddar cheese, and mushroom gravy.
11. Local Sweets
A full-course meal is incomplete without something sweet. There’s something sweet at every corner in Pigeon Forge. From creameries to local candy shops, there are so many dessert places. Pigeon Forge has something sweet for everyone, from ice cream to liquid nitrogen milkshakes.
12. Alcohol Beverages
Alcoholic beverages were banned in Pigeon Forge for a long time. It wasn’t until 2013 that the liquor-by-the-drink law was passed, and merchants could start selling and dispensing alcoholic beverages. There are a few distilleries in Pigeon Forge that you can visit. Each is known for its unique recipe and taste, so check these out. Most distilleries have live music and a friendly atmosphere; some even allow you to bring along children. Tennessee Whiskey is a popular beverage in the area. In addition, there are a couple of barrelhouses and bars for you to check out.
There are plenty of exciting places in Pigeon Forge with great taste and ambiance. Most restaurants have various options on their menu to suit different dietary requirements and need so you. From all-you-can-eat breakfast and buffets to ice cream creameries, there’s a lot in Pigeon Forge to keep your hunger pangs at bay.