Category Archives: Restaurants

An insider’s review of the best places to eat in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Smokies Cuban Cafe

Looking for something a little different than the usual fare that you find along the Parkway in Pigeon Forge? If your tongue happens to prefer being stimulated by a variety of tastes, let us suggest that you try a dish at the Smokies Cuban Cafe sooner rather than later.

Located at 3526 Parkway between light Nos. 7 and 8 in Pigeon Forge, Smokies Cuban Cafe is THE place in the Smoky Mountains to find authentic homemade Cuban dishes, pastries and turnovers. Actual Cuban visitors have given the restaurant high marks for its Cuban offerings.

It’s not just lunch and dinner that’s being served at Smokies Cuban Cafe, their breakfast menu is very unique. From toasted Cuban bread and butter to a hearty breakfast featuring a tomato sandwich with salt, garlic and olive oil on Cuban bread. If it’s something more locally-based that you prefer, eggs and ham, or an omelet can be found on the menu as well.

Moving on to the lunch menu, you’ll find the traditional Cuban sandwich, a Cuban burger, steak or pork. One of the highlights on the lunch menu is the croquette sandwich made with ham, pork and croquettes.

The dinner menu, which if you choose can also be ordered from at lunch, is loaded with Cuban delights. From masitas d puerco (fried pork chunks) to bistec empanisado (breaded steak) or ropa vieja (shredded beef). There’s bistec pollo (grilled chicken steak) for all the chicken lovers out there. And ohhhhh those side…. Choose from stuffed potato, empanadas, plantains, tostones, croquettes or black beans. Both lunch and dinner entrees come with a choice of three sides.

At Smokies Cuban Cafe you can eat there, order take-out, have it delivered, or have an event catered.

Smokies Cuban Cafe is open Monday – Saturday, 10 am-10pm. For additional information call 865-365-1700 or check them out online at

After you visit Smokies Cuban Cafe, check out our list of BEST Pigeon Forge restaurants if you’re going to be in the area for bit and enjoy all the delicious offerings that can be found in Pigeon Forge.

No Way Jose’s

There are very few people that will turn up their nose at a great Mexican restaurant.  If your family is in the mood for great Mexican food in a relaxed atmosphere, then look no further then No Way Jose’s Mexican Cantina.

No Way Jose’s has locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  In Pigeon Forge, they are located behind Calhoun’s, behind the Walden’s Landing shopping area.  When you are on the Parkway in Pigeon Forge, find traffic light #3, look for the Walden’s Landing Shopping complex and pull in.  Head toward Calhoun’s and then pull toward the back of the shopping mall from Calhoun’s and you will see No Way Jose’s.  It sits back behind the main part of Walden’s Landing looking like an unassuming Mexican restaurant.  What it actually is, is some of the best Mexican food that you can find in the Smoky Mountains.  And it is their food, the presentation, the ingredients and the quality of the food that makes it a wonderful place to eat.

Let’s look at their appetizers first.  In particular let us look at their Mucho! Mucho! Nachos.  This is a big plate of nachos, with all the fixings.  If you are looking for comfort food for one or a great way to start your meal at No Way Jose’s, you cannot go wrong with their nachos.  Piled high with all the fixin’s and completely customizable have them v=create the best plate of nachos you have ever had.  Or maybe you are thinking pizza works as an appetizer.  If so, Papa’s Mexican Pizza brings all of the best ingredients into one place, on top of a tortilla, ready to be divided up and shared.

And then for entrees you have a ll of the traditional items that you will find at any Mexican restaurant plus some items that you will not see anywhere else.  One of my personal favorite items on the menu is a burrito called the Taco Burrito.  This burrito has all of the stuffings of a great taco, inside a burrito.  When you cut into it, the taste is like a taco with all of the bake din goodness of a burrito.  Or maybe, just maybe you were thinking about dinner and a movie while you were in the Pigeon Forge area.  Right now, they are running a special called Mexican and a Movie for Two!  This comes with Chile Con Queso, Flaming Sizzling Fajitas for two and Homemade Flan for dessert, along with two movie tickets.  And, with the movie theater being located in Walden’s Landing, this is a great deal.

No Way Jose’s
104 Walden’s Main Street
Pigeon Forge, TN


When you work in and around Pigeon Forge, you develop those places that you go to over and over, those ‘go to’ restaurants that you can always say:  “Hey, let’s go there!’ and everybody agrees.  Calhoun’s in Pigeon Forge is one suck place.

Calhoun’s is an East Tennessee tradition.  With locations all over Knoxville, one in Gatlinburg and one in Pigeon Forge, there is almost always a Calhoun’s nearby to make sure you have a full and satisfying meal.  In Pigeon Forge, Calhoun’s is locate din the Walden’s Landing shopping complex.  If you are driving through town, headed toward Gatlinburg, you will see Walden’s Landing on the right hand side of the road between traffic lights 2 and 3, but much closer to 3.  As you are facing Walden’s Landing, you will see Calhoun’s on the left hand side.  Park the car and head inside.  This is a large restaurant, so depending on when you go will determine whether you will have a long wait, but I would bet, that at night you will have a little bit of a wait.

Calhoun’s is one of those restaurants where the starter and the dessert are almost always a must.  One of my favorite appetizers is their Fresh Baked Soft pretzels and Beer Cheese.  The pretzels come out piping hot, soft and tender with salt baked right on.  They are served with a side of beer cheese.  This is almost like a fondue cheese and has just the right amount of bite, that a good cheese sauce should have.  And for dessert, you will want to save room for their Banana Pudding.  Just like mom used to make, this banana pudding is old school.  Rich, creamy, full of flavor and fresh bananas, nothing in this banana pudding comes from a box.  It is cooked to perfection.

And, if you are looking for an entree, check out their salads.  These are a little less caloric then some of the other dishes on the menu but no less tasty.  Their Southern Salad is a chef salad with strips of fried chicken across the top and their Smokehouse Salad is to die for.  The Smokehouse is covered with chicken, ham and bacon making this a meat-lovers dream.  Imagine a salad with all of the best meats you plan to find at a restaurant right on top of the salad itself.

But, if you are looking for one of the best steaks in town: the “Ale” Steak is out of this world.  Marinated in Cherokee Red Ale from the Smoky Mountain Brewery, this is one of the most tender steaks you will ever encounter.  When paired with the perfect sides, Spinach Maria and Tennessee Corn Pudding, you have a meal that you will remember each and every time you come back to the Smokies.

Add Calhoun’s to your itinerary  the next time you are in Pigeon Forge.  Stop by and try one of their wonderful salads or a great steak but be sure you start with the soft pretzels and beer cheese and end up with a bowl of banana pudding, I promise you will not be disappointed.

Gigi’s Cupcakes in Pigeon Forge

If you’re like most people who live in this area, or vacation here regularly, you’ve got a pretty large sweet tooth. Now, there are a number of places in Pigeon Forge and the surrounding towns to keep it at bay, but there are a few newer spot that have their own unique offerings. One of those places is Gigi’s Cupcakes in Pigeon Forge.

Gigi’s Cupcakes got its start in Nashville, TN and has now franchised itself out to places like Pigeon Forge, Knoxville, etc. Usually if you’re good enough to franchise, people like what you’re selling and this is spot on true for Gigi’s Cupcakes.

In short, Gigi’s Cupcakes is what their name says they are. They offer delicious cupcakes of every kind and flavor. Just a glance at their menu, which changes from day to day, and you’ll see flavors you never thought you’d ever see on a small, personal cupcake. From carrot cake to chocolate salted caramel, coconut macaroon, midnight magic, miss princess, mochachino, orange cranberry walnut, sticky bun, strawberry shortcake, wedding cake, and white midnight magic, their daily cupcake selection is sure to leave even the most picky of cupcake connoisseurs in awe.

Other services offered by Gigi’s include planning for large wedding orders and the ability to place a personal order on the internet and schedule a pick-up.

Gigi’s Cupcakes in Pigeon Forge is open from 10 am to 10 pm.

Gigi’s Cupcakes
2430 Teaster Lane, #103 (Stop Light No. 2)
Pigeon Forge, Tennessee 37863
(865) 774-4114

Sweet Frog in Pigeon Forge

The words “Sweet” and “Frog” might lend one to mistake what has become a very popular Pigeon Forge desert stop for a boutique pet store. However, if you’re from around here you know that Sweet Frog is one of the area’s up-and-coming sweet treat shops specializing in premium frozen yogurt.

At Sweet Frog, they’re all about making the best frozen yogurt around – the kind you want to tell all your friends about when you get back, or one you’d even post to your Facebook page! It’s delicious soft-serve frozen yogurt, combined any way you want it, then topped off with whatever topping(s) you desire. Everyday you’ll see fresh toppings added to the bar. All make for a light healthy treat, a decadent dessert, or whatever you make of it. Everyone deserves something sweet and good for them.

The flavors, the toppings, it’s all in how you make it at Sweet Frog in Pigeon Forge. The Sweet Frog staff will bring a smile to your face when you visit, as well as a tasty treat.

So we gone on and on about the business itself, but what about all those flavors mentioned? Here’s just a sample of a few of the great and unique tastes you’ll find at your local Sweet Frog: Apple Pie, Blueberry Acai Tart, Cake Batter, Egg Nog, Georgia Peach, Huckleberry, Key Lime, Maple Bacon Donut, Orchard Cherry, Pink Grapefruit Tart, Reese’s Peanut Butter, Sweet Coconut, Taro, and many more.


When it comes to rising all-natural yogurt companies, you won’t find many growing as fast as Sweet Frog. Sweet Frog is built on a simple concept: Operate under a bright, positive, family-friendly environment where customers can create their dessert, their way – at a very modest price point. This concept is pushing the Sweet Frog in cities across the country due to their delicious products, great service, and an atmosphere built around food and fun.

Sweet Frog is a Christian-based entity aimed at bringing happiness to the lives of its consumers through great treats and a positive attitude. In the name Sweet Frog, F.R.O.G stands for Fully Rely On God – and they strive to be an example of that in every community they serve.

Cupcake Boom

In this town, people don’t even look the other way when something new opens up. However, a cupcake movement has seemed to occur overnight in Pigeon Forge with businesses specializing in the small pastries popping up at a rapid pace.

In fact, Pigeon Forge has 3 newly minted cupcake shops and all three seem to be doing well, and are very popular among tourists and locals alike. You can surely pin some of pastry’s popularity on hit television shows like Cupcake Wars and Cake Boss. Either way, next time you’re planning a trip to Pigeon Forge put one of these bakeries on your “to do” list.

Nom Nom’s Cupcake Factory is the perfect little snack stop in Pigeon Forge. Located at the Walden’s Landing shopping center, Nom Nom’s three display cases hit you right in the face as you walk in the door. In those cases, you’ll find 20 plus varieties of cupcakes on a given day. From Chocolate Mint to Strawberries and Cream, you’re sure to find a flavor that will appeal to you. In fact, you’ll more than likely find a handful of flavors you’d like to try.

Another of the new cupcake shops is Gigi’s Cupcakes. They offer beautifully decorated cupcakes and each one has about 3-4 inches of icing on top. If you’re lucky you’ll walk in there when they’re offering one of their specials like, “Buy 3 get 1 free”. They offer cupcakes like Cinnamon Roll, Wedding Cake, Blackberry Cobbler, Grasshopper, and Midnight Magic. There are new flavors added every day and currently feature gluten-free Fridays. They also do weddings and have calendar of flavors for each day. So, if you’re going to be there on Friday, you can choose from Carrot Cake, Chocolate Salted Caramel, Coconut Macaroon, Midnight Magic, Miss Princess, Mochachino, Orange Cranberry Walnut, Sticky Bun, Strawberry Shortcake, Wedding Cake, White Midnight Magic. Check out the Gigi’s Cupcakes schedule.

AnnOlivia’s Sweet Shop is the newest cupcake shop in the area and recently moved from Pigeon Forge to Gatlinburg. They are known for their glittered cupcakes and offer around 10 different flavors each day. Tasty treats like Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Chocolate Covered Strawberry, and Italian Creme were found on their menu, as well as unique pastries like the Maple Bacon cupcake.

The Mafia House

For all of you out there who are fans of such movies like the Godfather series, Goodfellas, and other gangster movies, The Mafia House in Pigeon Forge may be a place you should visit for a big slice of pizza. That is, if you haven’t already.

The Mafia House is the only Mafia-themed restaurant in East Tennessee according to their menu and guests can come in and experience the last century in mob history while they chow down on their choice of a large selection of Italian pizza pies.

Glancing at the menu, you can’t help but notice the mob-themed fare, starting with appetizers. Choose from such appropriate starters as Black Book Brushcetta, U Got Whacked Wings, and Godfather Garlic Knots among others. Sicily salads follow the appetizers before you get to the real meat of The Mafia House menu – the pizzas. Choose from small (14″) medium (16″) and large (18″) New York traditional hand-tossed pizzas. Toppings include everything from Italian sausage to pepperoni to black olives and everything in between.

They also offer a number of specialty pizzas in the same sizes including the “Palermo”, which is perfect for pepperoni lovers, the “Meat Eater”, the “Hoffa” which is like a Hawaiian pizza with pineapple and ham, the “Stakeout” Supreme, the “Milanese” which has no sauce but does have mushrooms, onions, green peppers, olives, and mozzarella, and the “Velachi” which is grilled chicken, red onions, mozzarella, BBQ sauce.

Calzones and pastas are next up on the menu and are highlighted by “The Don” – a Mafia-style tour of Sicily. Further, it’s the house marinara atop a bed of spaghetti, topped with breaded Parmesan, rope sausage link, and Italian meatballs.

A number of cold cut bus, as well as hot subs, fall next on the menu with cold cut subs including the Italian, Ultimate Italian, Genoa Salami and Provolone, and Black Forest Ham & Cheese. “Machine Gun Subs”, or hot subs, include the Chicago Italian Beef, Italian Beef Marinara, Sausage and Peppers, Italian Beef and Sausage, Meatball Parmesan, Chicken Parmesan, and Sausage Parmesan.

Hey, there’s even a kid’s menu. The little ones can choose from spaghetti and marinara, spaghetti and meatballs, and fettuccine alfredo. And of course, they serve cheesecake at The Mafia House.

The Mafia House
1440 Upper Middle Creek
Sevierville, TN 37863
(865) 365-1615

Mel’s Diner

For some of you, Mel’s Diner in Pigeon Forge is a step back in time to when you were a kid, hanging out after school at the local diner, sipping sodas, eating a banana split, and listening to classic tunes from the Beatles, Elvis, and The Temptations. You’ll find that not much has changed here.

Located just off the Parkway on Wears Valley Road, Mel’s Diner is wonderful place to grab a bite to eat in the heart of Pigeon Forge. Start off with Mel’s breakfast which features eggs any way you like them and whatever side your stomach craves – sausage, ham, steak. They also offer a number of delicious omelets, french toast, pancakes, and as many combinations as you could imagine. If you want an omelet, pancakes, and biscuits and gravy, order it up! At Mel’s, they’ll do whatever it takes to please their customers.

If you’re planning on sticking around for lunch and dinner, they feature some of the best burgers and hot dogs around. From Cajun to chili to mushroom burgers and everything in between, their burgers are juicy and made to your specifications. One the hot dog front, Wayne’s Foot Long Doggie is just what the name implies – a foot long hot dog covered in chili, slaw, cheese, whatever toppings you prefer. If it’s a sandwich that you prefer, just not a burger, try Pam’s Patty Melt, or Matt’s Meatloaf Sandwich, they’re mouth-watering.

For dinner, Smoky’s Pulled Pork BBQ and Miss Stella’s Country Fried Steak are two personal favorites. You really can’t go wrong with either. You really can’t go wrong with Sudlows Homemade Meatloaf either. Each dinner comes with your choice of two sides and Texas toast.

Now that you’ve polished off lunch and dinner, don’t leave without ordering one of Mel’s famous sundaes from the desert menu. Between the milkshakes, cobblers, and various cakes, it can be a pretty tough decision. Just know that whichever you choose, it’ll be oh-so good! Check out Mel’s Diner next time you’re in Pigeon Forge and let us know how it was.

Mel’s Diner
119 Wears Valley Road
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
(865) 429-2184

Mellow Mushroom

As far as pizza places go in Pigeon Forge, the Mellow Mushroom is at the top of the list. From pizzas to calzones to buffalo wings, there’s something to calm the appetite in all of us.

But what about before you bite into that huge slice of pepperoni or sausage pizza? Mellow Mushroom’s appetizer list is a meal in and of itself for some people. Just looking through the starters, oven baked chicken wings, pretzels, meatballs, spinach artichoke dip, muffuletta cheese bread, and bruschetta all stand out. Personally, you can’t go wrong with either the bruschetta or pretzels.

If a healthier lunch is more to your liking, Mellow Mushroom’s various salads are your ticket to ride. They’re big and you can even build your own if you’d like.

On to the meat of the menu, literally. The pizza section is realistically where everyone’s eyes go once they’ve positioned themselves accordingly inside Mellow Mushroom. These aren’t your everyday Pizza Hut pizzas either, they take a bit getting used to. The Holy Shiitake Pie jumps off the menu immediately if not for name alone. It’s blend of Shiitake, Button, and Portobello mushrooms on an olive oil and garlic base tells you you’re that much closer to Italy if not minutes away. Others like the Buffalo Chicken pizza and the Kosmic Marma, which is a red suace based pizza with fresh tomatoes with spinach and feta. The Funky Q Chicken includes BBQ chicken, BBQ sauce, Applewood smoked bacon, mozzarella, and cheddar cheeses. They’re all mouth-watering and will leave you craving for lunch or dinner.

Now, we know how good those pizzas are, but don’t make your final decision before taking a glance at the the calzones and hoagies. Choose from cheese, house, chicken and cheese calzones. On the deli hoagies side, Mellow Mushroom offers turkey and cheese, avocado, Italian, mushroom club. On the grilled hoagies side, steak and cheese, portobello and cheese, meatball, and tofu are among the many grilled subs on the menu.

And if you’ll  be by the bar that night, Mellow Mushroom has a great selection of draft and bottled beers. Next time you’re in Pigeon Forge, stop by and pick up a pie or stay awhile for a drink, a calzone and some wings. You won’t leave hungry from the Mellow Mushroom, but you will leave mighty happy.

Mellow Mushroom
2485 Parkway
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Monday-Sunday 11am – Midnight

Mama’s Farmhouse

Sometimes, no matter where you find yourself, you just want a little home cookin’ – cookin’ only the way your mom or grandmother could do it. For southerners, it’s biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beens, fruit cobbler…. Those types of things.

Well, Pigeon Forge has come through again, this time in the form of Mama’s Farmhouse, a southern cookin’ family restaurant that would leave even a gourmet’s mouth watering at the sight of Mama’s sweet potato pancakes or fried fish. Those, as well as many other southern staples like country fried steak, pinto beans, cornbread, fried okra, and banana pudding can be found on the menu at Mama’s Farmhouse, 208 Pickel Street, in Pigeon Forge.

But don’t just come for lunch and dinner, Mama’s has all the breakfast helpings you can handle, and kids age 5 & under eat for FREE! Group and tour bus prices are available as well.

At Mama’s, their mission is to be the best at what they do while making Mama proud. Don’t take our word for it, take theirs:

“Our mission is to be the restaurant of choice because we have honored the legacy of ‘Mama’. We will strive to exceed our guests’ expectations and provide a warm, pleasing dining experience just as Mama once did for her family. To achieve this end, we must hold ourselves to the highest possible standards of excellence for service and food. We will dedicate ourselves to these values and principles. We will be committed to developing leadership skills and to encouraging empowerment of our employees, just like Mama raised her kids. We will embrace the challenge of constant self-evaluation to improve our performance as both the restaurant and employer of choice. Our goal is simple:

Mama’s was recently list in “Where To Eat” by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Check out their lunch and dinner menus here.

Next time you’re at Mama’s in Pigeon Forge, be sure to check out a few of the local Pigeon Forge attractions as well as other Smoky Mountain attractions and shopping opportunities in the Pigeon Forge area.