When I travel, one of my favorite things to do is find the local dive restaurants, those mom and pop joints that don’t make it in the guidebook or vacation brochure. I seek out a dining spot where a community gathers to chat, and I can pick up on the flavor of the local culture as well as the food. Often these well kept secrets are well kept secrets for a reason. They have more reasonable prices than touristy alternatives, the service comes with a genuine smile, and the food is worth come back for time and time again.
Mountain Lodge Restaurant is one such gathering place and eatery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Up past the main strip of Gatlinburg, this local diner style restaurant is tucked in the curve at 913 East Parkway. On any given weekend cars are wedged in all manners in front of and around this restaurant. Mountain Lodge Restaurant, a hidden jewel that many tourists may overlook, serves breakfast and lunch.
It’s a well kept secret Gatlinburg locals love to frequent, and your lucky to get a table if you arrive at 9 am on a weekend day. Walking inside Mountain Lodge Restaurant, you seat yourself at one of many tables that stretch through the log cabin like restaurant. Before you know it a waitress appears with a smile, a What are you having honey? , and a personal pot of coffee for your table.
For my husband and I, this is our favorite place to fuel up before a big hike in the Great Smoky Mountains. Breakfast is our favorite with buttery biscuit’s and smooth sawmill gravy at the top of my list. I have also indulged in Mountain Lodge Restaurant’s giant, tasty omelet’s (good luck finishing the whole thing). If you are really hungry go for the buttermilk pancakes which cover a whole plate, and don’t forget other sides like yummy grits, country ham, bacon and sizzling sausage patties.
Lunch is also a hit with various comfort foods and country sides. My personal lunch dish is chopped steak and onions with mashed potatoes and gravy and fried okra. My husband’s favorite is chicken tenders, Cole Slaw and pinto beans.
Mountain Lodge Restaurant also has tasty daily specials. Like the last time we dropped by they had homemade cinnamon buns, but alas after a huge breakfast there was no room left in our bloated bellies.
The best part of dining at this establishment is the warm and friendly atmosphere. It’s down-home, laid back, and you can observe the owners catching up with friends and visitors on any given day. That’s something you don’t find everywhere, and with delicious food to boot that makes Mountain Lodge Restaurant a win-win anytime!
Elk Springs Resort
1088 Powdermill Rd.
Gatlinburg, TN 37738