Ruby Sunshine review: The good, the sad and the butter

Ruby Sunshine
Ruby Sunshine in Gatlinburg (photo by Alaina O'Neal/TheSmokies.com)

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I have a confession to make. I love brunch. 

That’s probably not surprising. It’s kind of like saying you love puppies. Who doesn’t love puppies? Or brunch?

Sad people, that’s who. 

Brunching isn’t just a meal. It’s a hobby. It’s a reason to start your day with champagne in a socially acceptable way. Best of all, it’s an excuse to load a tub of butter on an egg and call it “hollandaise”. 

Now that we’re all aware of my unhealthy (perhaps literally) obsession with brunch, I proudly present the low-down on the new spot in town with this Ruby Sunshine review. 

Now, Ruby Sunshine itself is not necessarily new. The franchise was born from the owners of Ruby Slipper Café in New Orleans. Husband and wife duo Jennifer and Erich Weishaupt opened the original location post-Hurricane Katrina in an effort to help draw people back to their Mid-City neighborhood. 

The success of that original location has enabled the restaurant group to operate 11 Ruby Slipper Cafés across the Gulf, and Ruby Sunshine is now expanding throughout the Southeast.

The good

Let’s start with the priorities: The cocktails.

Ruby Sunshine offers a Big Easy Mimosa, Peach Bellini, Bloody Mary, Morning Margarita, Boozy Iced Coffee and Brandy Milk Punch on their morning cocktail menu. 

The mimosas come in grapefruit, cranberry or seasonal flavors. 

I went with the bartender’s recommendation (after telling him I like fruity flavors), and landed on this blueberry mimosa. It was sweet, but not in the fake-sugary kind of way. It was naturally sweet and appropriately strong.

Mimosa
A mimosa at Ruby Sunshine (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

The atmosphere of Gatlinburg’s Ruby Sunshine is also cozy. It’s on an upper floor in downtown Gatlinburg, so you can look out at people walking the streets below as you enjoy your morning buzz.

I know that Bloody Marys are big in this town (admittedly, I’m still a mimosa girl at heart), but I was told by my new friends at the bar that the Bloody Mary at Ruby Sunshine is, in fact, spicy. 

Ruby Sunshine is a New Orleans brand of Southern food, so it may not be for you if you’re looking for a “Tennessee-traditional” spot. 

But that being said, you’ll still find a collection of Southern breakfast classics, including buttermilk biscuits, eggs, omelets, french toast, buttermilk pancakes, fried chicken, gravy and the works. 

The Peacemaker
The Peacemaker (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

The butter

Now it’s time for the main course.

Ruby Sunshine uses fresh and local ingredients whenever possible and prepares the food in their scratch kitchen. 

I ordered The Peacemaker, a mix and match of any two eggs benedict. I usually opt for benedict because I’ve yet to figure out how to make it on my own.

It. was. delicious.

The meal doesn’t look quite as huge as other breakfast portions in the area, but it was very rich. I was basically full after my first benedict sandwich. 

The hollandaise looks more orange in color than what I’m used to. I asked the bartender what the secret ingredient was, and he assured me it was just butter. (It’s OK, Ruby Sunshine, you keep your secrets. I’ll just have to keep coming back.) 

The two benedicts pictured are the Eggs Blackstone and the Hot-Smoked Salmon. The Eggs Blackstone is a more traditional benedict with applewood-smoked bacon, a tomato and poached eggs over a biscuit with hollandaise.

The Hot-Smoked Salmon was more unique. It had poached eggs, dill hollandaise, red onions and flash-fried capers. It was a delicious combination of flavors that I would never be able to put together by myself. 

Ruby Sunshine in Gatlinburg
Ruby Sunshine in Gatlinburg (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

The sad: Opening (and closing) during a pandemic

Ruby Sunshine hosted its grand opening in Gatlinburg on March 11, 2020.

If only we all knew how weird the world was about to be.

Less than two weeks later, the restaurant had to close its doors due to the coronavirus. Though they briefly reopened in late May, the restaurant is temporarily closed again as of July 9. 

“Delicious food and gracious hospitality are two key cornerstones of dining at Ruby Sunshine,” the restaurant stated in an email to its customers. “Persistent and ongoing challenges in staffing makes it difficult to deliver the 5-star dining experience you expect. For this reason, we have made the hard decision to temporarily close our Gatlinburg location.” 

Ruby Sunshine, we all hope to see you again very soon in Gatlinburg.

Plan your visit 

While we wait for Ruby Sunshine to reopen their doors in Gatlinburg, be sure to visit them in Knoxville at 37 Market Square, Knoxville, TN. The Gatlinburg location is located at 105 Reagan Drive, Gatlinburg, TN. 

For more information, visit them online at RubySunshine.com

Visit the CDC website and the Tennessee Department of Health website for the latest information about the coronavirus.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at [email protected] for questions or comments.


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