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Old 12-15-2007, 06:36 PM   #1
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Join Date: Dec 2007
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TN - Gatlinburg

My mother and I went on a vacation to the Smokies over last summer, and I thought I'd share some of the great places we ate while we were there.

The place is SO commercialized. My mom and I actually experienced a little bit of culture shock upon driving in through Pigeon Forge. We expected a quiet, rustic mountainside town, instead we got mini-Vegas. Anyway, it's easy to get caught up in the glitz and make some poor dining choices (I know we did). Here's our list of favorite places:

Atrium Pancakes: Not only was our waitress such a lovely woman, but when I told her I couldn't decide which pancakes I wanted she told me to wait one second and went and got a picture frame off of the wall. She handed it to me, and it was a review from a popular cooking magazine about the restaurant's "Baked Apple Pancakes". I decided to order them, and oh boy! It was more like an apple fritter, with pancake batter poured over caramelized apple slices. So yummy.

The Old Mill: It's located in Pigeon Forge, and it's absolutely worth visiting. I ordered country fried steak, mashed potatoes and green beans. It came with corn chowder that was out of this world, and then when the meal came I was in sheer, country heaven. The gravy on my steak was perfectly peppery, and I told my mom: "I've never had green beans make my eyes roll up in the back of my head before."

Lineberger's Seafood: Whatever you do, if you get a chance to try gourmet seafood, do NOT order anything fried off of the menu. There's only so many ways you can fry a fish, and you end up wasting your money on something you could have gotten from Long John Silver's. My mom, however, was smart and ordered a trio of filets: swordfish, salmon and tuna. The tuna was so light and wonderful, I cannot tell you how delicious it was. Their homemade hush puppies are equally good.

Blaine's Bar and Grill: Don't go here for the food. It isn't bad, it's just your average, Applebee's fare. Go for the cocktails. Our bar bill ended up being more than our food bill that night.

Okay, last but not least, let's talk barbeque. Do not- I repeat, do NOT- go to Bennett's BBQ. It boasts a big reputation that does not measure up. Two-year-in-a-row-award-winning ribs? Yeah right. The ribs were tough, the brisket was dry, and the sides were generic. We were really disappointed.

However, the very next day we went white water rafting. They took us in buses to a location somewhere along the Pigeon River. I wish I could tell you where, because after we arrived back at the starting point there were two restaurants. One was a little, new agey place with hummus and sushi. The other was a barbeque pit run out of the back of a gas station. The smell when you walked into the gas station was indescribable. My mom and I split the BBQ basket, which consisted of: beef brisket, spare ribs, pulled pork, bbq chicken, fries, cole slaw and garlic toast. It was out of this world. We went in afterwards and thanked the man working the pit for the best barbeque we'd ever had.

Oh, I wish I knew where this place was, you guys! Maybe someone local will post here and tell us.

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Old 12-17-2007, 10:32 AM   #2
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BBQ & Gas!!

Jeff here with Wildwater Rafting. We run rafting trips in Hartford TN. That is the spot you went to. It is Exit 447 off of I-40 in Tennessee on the Big Pigeon River. The two locations you refered to are Pigeon River Smokehouse and BeanTree Cafe'. They are both geat local joints supported mostly by the rafting community and their guests. The reason that the BBQ place is in a gas station is because the community fluctuates so much with rafting trips going only 4 days a week and closing in the fall & winter that having the gas and store was the only way they could survive the "cold winter". Great to see you sharing those spots for others to discover. Hopefully the rafting was fun for you as well. I hope we will see many of your friends drop by in the future!! Make it a Great day!! Jeff, Wildwater Rafting
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Old 12-18-2007, 06:19 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by makeitagreatday View Post
Jeff here with Wildwater Rafting. We run rafting trips in Hartford TN. That is the spot you went to. It is Exit 447 off of I-40 in Tennessee on the Big Pigeon River. The two locations you refered to are Pigeon River Smokehouse and BeanTree Cafe'. They are both geat local joints supported mostly by the rafting community and their guests. The reason that the BBQ place is in a gas station is because the community fluctuates so much with rafting trips going only 4 days a week and closing in the fall & winter that having the gas and store was the only way they could survive the "cold winter". Great to see you sharing those spots for others to discover. Hopefully the rafting was fun for you as well. I hope we will see many of your friends drop by in the future!! Make it a Great day!! Jeff, Wildwater Rafting
Thank you so much, Jeff! And yes, we had a great time rafting. Definitely something I'd like to try again.

By the way, I wasn't putting down the bbq place for being located in a gas station. Honestly, the food was incredible, regardless of the locale. I just found it funny that we had crappy barbeque at a highly recommended, "award-winning" restaurant one day, only to have the best barbeque we'd ever tried from a little joint in the back of a convenience store the next day.
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Old 12-18-2007, 05:40 PM   #4
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Similar story

I knew you were not bashing them, just an FYI. I had a similar experience where 2 ladies who decided not to go rafting were waiting for their group to come back from the trip to eat a catered meal with us. They got hungry and went down to the BBQ place but would not eat there because it was in a gas station. When the catered meal came (from the gas station) They both proclaimed how glad they were they had not eaten at the gas station because they were enjoying the catered BBQ we provided!
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