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Breakfast Time In The Smokies

Posted by Leif Palmer in Places To Eat

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. If that's true, then visitors to the Great Smoky Mountains are in luck, because restaurants that specialize in breakfast abound in Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Sevierville. What types of foods do you prefer to start your day? Pancakes? Bacon and eggs? Omelets? Whatever your preference, the eateries of the Smokies aim to please. And regardless of what town you're visiting or staying in, you're never more than a short drive, walk or trolley ride from a great first meal of the day.

Best places to eat breakfast in the Smokies.

Here are some of our picks for top breakfast spots in the Smokies:

Applewood Farmhouse Restaurant

This well-known restaurant has been a top tourist destination since the 1980s thanks to its delicious Southern fare and quaint setting. It's located near the Little Pigeon River on a working apple farm. It's an idyllic setting, yet it's not far from the Parkway as you approach Pigeon Forge. For breakfast, dig into morning staples like eggs, bacon or sugar-cured ham. For a sweet spin, try Pa's Old Fashioned Buttermilk Pancakes, a Belgian waffle or their Banana Foster Waffle. Hearty appetites might enjoy the Country Boy Breakfast Skillet or a fresh, three-egg omelet.

And speaking of apples, that particular ingredient plays prominently in the menu. All guests are served apple fritters and an apple julep with their meals, and their house-made apple butter is a delicious accompaniment to many menu items. While you're there, be sure to stroll through the entire complex of shops, which include The Apple Barn general store as well as their cider mill, ice creamery and candy factory.

Pancake Pantry

For more than 60 years, this popular morning stop has been feeding hungry tourists in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. Billed as Tennessee's first pancake specialty restaurant, Pancake Pantry often has a line extending out the front door and onto the sidewalk in peak season, and that's because their selection of pancakes is hard to beat. They serve more than two-dozen varieties of pancakes, crepes and blintzes. Examples include the wild blueberry pancakes (sprinkled with powdered sugar and blueberry compote), Parisienne crepes (whole strawberries in compote rolled up in three thin crepes and sprinkled with powdered sugar and topped with whipped cream) and the Swiss chocolate pancakes (buttermilk pancakes made with chocolate morsels and sprinkled with powdered sugar).

They're open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but the breakfast menu also features a variety of waffles, egg-based dishes, omelets and Pancake Pantry Specials like the Morning Star - two mounds of fresh-shredded hash browns topped with melted cheese and two fried eggs. They cover it all with a blend of diced grilled onions, pimentos, mushrooms, ham and green peppers. And if that weren't enough, they throw in toast or buttermilk pancakes on the side.

Elvira's Café
Wears Valley

This popular dining stop is on the far west end of Wears Valley, TN, a scenic country hamlet located about 10 minutes from the heart of Pigeon Forge. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, but breakfast is one of the most popular times to visit this restaurant. In fact, Forbes Travel Guide named it one of the Top 100 Places To Eat Across America for 2022. They indeed serve traditional meals like a full stack of hot cakes as well as country ham and eggs and biscuits with gravy. Elsewhere, the Morning Man Omelet is a three-egger filled with locally produced Swaggerty sausage, applewood-smoked bacon and ham, cheddar cheese, roasted red bell peppers, mushrooms and caramelized onions and topped with Elvira's house-made sausage gravy. Other breakfast options include specialty crepes like the feta and spinach and the Breakfast Scrambler Crepe, made with eggs, cheese, a choice of sausage, ham or bacon, and several veggie toppings. Sweet crepes featuring various fruits and sweet cheeses are served all day.

Crockett's Breakfast Camp

Here's another breakfast stop sitting in the heart of downtown Gatlinburg. It's only been around for seven or eight years, but it's become one of the go-to places for a morning meal in the Smokies among visitors. One of their signature items is the griddle cake, which is similar to a pancake, but each one is about an inch thick. Believe us, two cakes is more than enough. That's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the morning fare at Crockett's (which, in fact, is named for Davy Crockett). They serve eggs with a variety of breakfast meats, including fried bologna. They offer a half-dozen types of omelets as well as scramblers like Jimmy Jose's Scrambler - three scrambled eggs, shredded beef, peppers and onions, pico de gallo, cheddar-jack cheese, refried beans and Mexican rice. It's served with warm corn tortillas and sour cream upon request.

The rest of the Crockett's menu includes Eggs Benedict recipes, waffles, French toast, Pot Roast Benedict, Huevos Rancheros, the Elk Mountain Grande Burrito and a section called Hungry Hunters Huntcamp Skillets. The Black Bear Skillet, for example, features country or sugar-cured ham, pecan-smoked bacon, sausage and two fresh eggs. This meal makes for a meat-lover's morning for sure.

Sawyer's Farmhouse Restaurant
Pigeon Forge

This Parkway eatery has been open since 2014 and has gained a steady following thanks to consistently good ratings on Trip Advisor and Yelp. They serve a wide variety of breakfast foods, including crepes and Belgian waffles as well as made-from-scratch pancakes, syrups and compotes. They even serve freshly whipped butter to melt over your waffles and pancakes. A few examples from the menu include their strawberry and banana pancakes, pigs in blankets, French toast, chicken and waffle, chocolate chip waffle and Southern peach crepes. They also serve a number of breakfast platters, such as Sawyer's Mountain Man - three eggs cooked to order and served with home fries, biscuit and gravy, sausage, bacon, country ham and three buttermilk pancakes. You omelet lovers will appreciate any of their seven creations, such as the chicken fajita omelet - a three-egg fold made with fajita chicken, onions, red peppers and cheese. It's also served with three buttermilk pancakes in addition to salsa and sour cream.

Leif Palmer - Smokies blogger

About Leif Palmer

Leif Palmer loves residing in the Smoky Mountains. He is an avid outdoorsman: rowing for exercise on the lake, trail hiking, and free climbing rocks in the mountains. He indulges his arty side by periodically beating up pieces of marble by sculpting. He is always frustrated by his inability to sink long putts, and hates his curly hair (but his wife loves it). Leif has been known to muster enough courage to change a diaper, and hopes his son will become a chip off the old block.


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