Are you one of those who plan to explore different historic cultural sights, only to spend most of their time learning and familiarizing themselves with delicious cuisines? 

You must have gone on a guilt trip numerous times, wondering how you could do something more productive on your vacation than eating. 

However, most of us don’t realize that food is also a part of learning about the culture. Like the spices used, the smallest detail speaks a lot about a country’s history and societal norms. 

For some, food is the holy grail of preserving cultural identity.

The significance of the food goes as far as immigrants bringing their recipes and trading cooking secrets with the locals. 

Recipes passed down to generations have changed over the years, whereas others still hold the essence of their ancestors’ traditional concoctions.  

As a traveler, tasting local food opens your mind to learning more about the country’s history and its people. 

So, if you want to treat your taste buds to some mouthwatering food and eyes to an extraordinary view, then Gatlinburg, the mountain town of Tennessee, is the place for you.           

Known for its picturesque view and abundance of natural landscapes, Gatlinburg has a lot to offer in delectable cuisine and breathtaking scenery. 

Here’s a guide on places to eat in Gatlinburg that will take your taste buds on a satisfying journey. 

  1. Meat and Three

You haven’t had the best food until you have tried meat and three, ordering an entrée with any three side dishes from the daily specials, mostly cornbread and sweet tea. 

You will find this meal in many restaurants across Gatlinburg because it is a fairly popular dish among southerners. 

Due to its origin and substance, the food appeals to everyone; besides, it is a staple of the southern food culture. 

The dish is prepared from scratch using fresh produce, meat, and dairy ingredients, with prep time beginning two days in advance. 

If you are missing the taste of home, meat and three is the go-to choice that gives you something to remember about the comfort and warmth of home. 

Paula Deen’s family kitchen is just the right place for the homely feeling with a unique family-style setting and an endless serving of southern-style entrees and side dishes. 

The restaurant also has a wide range of desserts on a lighter and special note to end the evening. Be sure to check the place to have one of a kind dining experience with your family and friends. 

  1. BBQ

Before visiting the smoky mountain, you cannot leave before having Gatlinburg’s best BBQ. You will find all kinds of mouthwatering food to try. 

For instance, pork, known as the best meat for BBQ, is slow-cooked and made juicier with sauces.   

Unlike the usual barbeque slapped on a hot grill and thickly layered with tons of sauce, the BBQ in Gatlinburg is a different affair. 

The locals believe in naturally bringing out the authentic flavors by slowly cooking the meat for the fat to liquefy with a smoky flavor permeating the outer edge. 

Depending on the type of cut used, the preparation time varies. One of the key ingredients to top the BBQ off with is the sauce which is also optional. 

It’s up to you if you like your BBQ tossed in vinegar and peppercorn mixture or less spicy. 

The place that serves the best BBQ with a side of your choice is the Calhoun, a local chain restaurant serving steaks covered in their signature BBQ sauce, along with smoked chicken wings. 

For a smoky taste, visit Bennett’s Pit BBQ. The restaurant roasts the meat over hickory wood for about 14 hours to get that smoky flavor. 

You can also choose spicy mac and cheese, potato salad, or green beans to go on the side. 

  1. Hot Fried Chicken

The two most common elements of Sothern’s exquisite cuisine are hot flavor and fried texture. It is the best combination you will taste when it comes to chicken. 

The fried chicken ranges from mildly to outrageously spicy, with people often going the extra mile by topping the chicken with the hot sauce. 

Fried chicken is eaten with mashed potatoes or sweet corn to make it tastier. So, what makes Hot fried chicken worth the try? 

The dish isn’t complicated, but the way it’s cooked and the ingredients that go into its making are what put fried chicken on the list of must-try foods. 

Besides a combination of spices that include jalapeno peppers, paprika, and brown sugar, the chicken is marinated for the flavors to settle in. 

It is unlike the ordinary fried chicken because of the insane spiciness level that causes your mouth to water and brings tears to your eyes. 

The dish is enjoyed in the true southern classic style with a glass of milk on the side to lower the spice level when they become unbearable. 

However, if you are not much of a fan of spicy food, many restaurants offer varying levels of spiciness suitable to your taste buds. 

Among the best places to try fried hot chicken is mama’s farmhouse due to its popularity for producing some of the best southern food in the Smokies. 

The chicken is always cooked to perfection with a special blend of spices to give it a unique flavor. 

  1. Catfish

With so many fishing spots around and the favorite pastime among the locals, it is no surprise that catfish is a popular food staple that is best served fried. 

You will come across many catfish forms, sometimes with fries or shrimp. 

Catfish are usually served by dipping the fillets in the milk and coating them with cornmeal batter. Add butter to the skillet, and fry the fillets over high flame for 3 minutes to give it a buttery flavor. 

The dish is also lighter on the stomach, leaving extra room for dessert.

Huck Finn’s restaurant is one of the beloved seafood restaurants in the city that exemplify the southern seafood cuisine to the tiniest detail. 

Besides ordering the main entrée, you also get to order all-you-can-eat sides. 

What sets the restaurant apart from its peers is that it sources a pond-raised, well-fed catfish from Mississippi, meaning you won’t have to worry about getting a fresh and healthy catfish. 


Contrary to popular belief, food has the power to shape our journey and influence our memories. Many tourists don’t realize that trying foods of a different culture is as exciting as visiting a museum or a landmark. 

Although many consider food a source of energy, it is a new and different experience. If you are keen on learning about the culture or history of any country, you must try the local food. 

Great food and magnificent views are a lifetime experience that you will likely get by visiting the state of Tennessee and taking your taste buds on an irresistible journey.