Best breakfast in Gatlinburg: 6 of the best brunch spots in town

The Peacemaker

The Peacemaker allows you to pick two types of eggs benedict at Ruby Sunshine (photo by Alaina O'Neal/TheSmokies.com)

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Rise and shine! It’s breakfast time in East Tennessee.

As you may have noticed, there are a ton of breakfast options in Gatlinburg, Tenn. In fact, there are so many that it can be hard to choose between them all.

But never fear, we’re here to save the day – or at least your morning.

We’ve taken on the difficult task of sampling all the savory donuts, fluffy pancakes, warm made-from-scratch buttermilk biscuits and gravy, crispy waffles, cinnamon rolls, grits, griddle cakes and country ham in the area – on your behalf of course – and used our findings to create this ranked list of restaurants in Gatlinburg.

It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.

The Donut Friar
The Donut Friar is a Gatlinburg institution (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

6. The Donut Friar

We would be amiss to exclude the Donut Friar from this breakfast list. 

The place is Gatlinburg institution – punny name, coffee, éclairés and all.

The Donut Friar has been around since 1967 and is the last standing original shop in the entire Village Shops area.

This isn’t a sit-down kind of breakfast joint – it’s more like a grab-and-go glorified coffee and donut shop. But if you haven’t been to the Donut Friar at least once on your Smokies vacation to sample their world-famous cinnamon bread, did you really vacation in the Smokies?

But do be warned, this is a cash-only establishment so come prepared.

Read Also: Donut Friar Gatlinburg: How the punny donut shop became Smokies famous

5. Log Cabin Pancake House

The Log Cabin Pancake House serves breakfast – and free parking – all day in downtown Gatlinburg.

Their menu features a variety of dishes including specialty pancakes (we recommend the butterscotch chip), french crepes, waffles, omelets, breakfast platters (like country ham and biscuits) as well as standard lunch fare (like hamburgers and corndogs).

Lines can be long for the Log Cabin during the busy season, but that’s the norm for popular pancake joints in the Smoky Mountains. But rest assured, they also tend to move pretty quickly. 

Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin has six locations in Sevier County (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin

Flapjack’s has six locations in the Smokies – three of which are in Gatlinburg.

They are known for their pancakes but also offer other standard fare breakfast items like skillets, omelets, bacon, sausage and eggs.

We highly recommend trying the Spanish Skillet, the Sticky Bun pancakes, the chocolate chip pancakes or the Reese’s peanut butter pancakes.

Does anyone in your family have gluten sensitivities? No problem, just ask your server about the gluten-free options.

Read Also: Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin review: Great pancakes, strange origin story

Ruby Sunshine serves up a modern-take on traditional southern-style breakfast in downtown Gatlinburg beside Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

3. Ruby Sunshine in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

Inspired by traditional New Orleans cuisine, Ruby Sunshine has expanded throughout the Southeast and made its way to downtown Gatlinburg.

The brunch restaurant opened in 2020 for a short time before closing again due to … 2020 things. However, now they’re back open and serving up delicious brunch specials and cocktails.

And because it’s located on an upper floor in Gatlinburg, it also offers a beautiful view of downtown.

Pro-tip: Make sure to sample one of their many fruity mimosas with a side of eggs benedict.

Read Also: Ruby Sunshine Gatlinburg: An unbiased review with photos

Crockett’s is known for their hearty portion sizes and larger than life griddle cakes (photo by Alaina O’Neal.TheSmokies.com)

2. Crockett’s Breakfast Camp

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is famous for its cabin-chic atmosphere, hearty breakfasts, ultra-thick griddle pancakes and fried cinnamon rolls.

But really, you can’t go wrong at Crockett’s. Everything is excellent.

If you like a little spice with your meal, we recommend the Elk Mountain Grande Burrito featuring three eggs, chorizo, machaca, pico de gallo and jalapeños or the huevos rancheros with a side of hot sauce.

Fun fact: Crockett’s is owned by the KBS Restaurant family who also owns and operates other local hot spots including The Greenbrier Restaurant, Holston’s and J.T. Hannah’s.

Read Also: Crockett’s Breakfast Camp in Gatlinburg review: Is it worth it?

pancakes at the pancake pantry
Caribbean pancakes, chocolate chip pancakes and a side of bacon (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

1. The Pancake Pantry

And then we have Tennessee’s first pancake house – The Pancake Pantry – adored by locals and visitors alike.

The Pancake Pantry is housed in the Village Shops near the aforementioned Donut Friar.

The pancakes of this pancake house are a big business in Sevier County.

You can hardly sling an animatronic chicken without hitting a place that serves pancakes. But the Pancake Pantry is not only the best, it’s the first.

It’s not at all unusual to see people lined up outside around the block waiting to get into this popular pancake palace.

The menu includes a wide assortment of pancakes, crepes, waffles, blintzes, and French toast served with whipped butter and maple syrup.

The traditional breakfast foods, eggs, sausage, bacon and omelets are all prepared with the skill and knowledge acquired from over 60 years in the business. This ain’t no fly-by-night operation, this is pancake royalty.

Not sure what to try first? We strongly suggest trying the wild blueberry pancakes or the Caribbean pancakes. 

Their pancake plates are served with real butter and freshly whipped cream.

And you’ll never have to worry about leaving the Pancake Pantry hungry – each pancake dish arrives with five full-sized cakes per plate. 

You might even want to consider ordering two or three plates for the table and creating a small pancake sampler for everyone in your party.

Read Also: Tennessee’s first: Pancake Pantry holds the key to local hotcake obsession

Where is your pick for the best breakfast in the Gatlinburg area? Let us know in the comments!

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 info@thesmokies.com for questions or comments.

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9 thoughts on “Best breakfast in Gatlinburg: 6 of the best brunch spots in town”

  1. I love the Old Mill and Pancake Pantry dinner and breakfast respectfully. I also like the Apple Barn for breakfast.

  2. Our favorite and best breakfast is Log Cabin Pancake House in Gaitlinburg. You never get a bad breakfast here!

  3. We enjoyed Mama’s Farmhouse on Pickel Drive in Pigeon Forge. It’s family style and they will bring refills of food if you need them.

  4. Old Mill was just fabulous for breakfast and dinner! Went for dinner first, and came back for breakfast! Come hungry, because you get a lot of food and it’s all delicious. We also went to the Apple place, but it was extremely disappointing.

  5. Log Cabin in Gatlinburg hands down on best breakfast you can get!! Delicious and the servers are fantastic. Light 8

  6. Best place is Sawyers. Pancakes with everything. Even gluten free.
    Warm peanut butter syrup.

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