There’s a New Best Burger in Pigeon Forge, and It’s Not What You Think

a hamburger from pinchys

There's a new best burger in Pigeon Forge, and it's being served at a Lobster joint (photo by John Gullion/TheSmokies.com)

I’ve eaten at dozens of restaurants in the Smokies, these are my picks for the best burger joints in town

In my over 30 years living in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, I’ve sampled dozens of local restaurants, everything from chains to hole-in-the-wall restaurants, in search of the best burger in town. Until recently, the best burger I’d ever had was from a clam stand not far from my grandmother’s house. Dan’s burgers are a gift from God. Second place went to a parent running a smoker at a Carson-Newman soccer match. That burger was a piece of art. But I’ve recently had a dining experience that has up-ended my entire burger ranking system.

But before I get into all that, I want to preface my ranking with that information to say I am a man with range. Sometimes I crave burgers with purity of essence in mind. Sometimes I like a little razzle-dazzle. And as long as those things are supporting a well-made burger instead of hiding a flawed piece of meat, we can get behind a little something extra to make a burger special.

In this article, you’ll find a list of my favorite burgers (and burger joints) in the Smoky Mountains featuring everything from the classics to the artisanal. Are you in the mood for a great burger? You’ve come to the right place. Here are my picks for the best burgers in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg and the surrounding area.

Best Burgers in Pigeon Forge

RankRestaurantBest for …
1Pinchy’s Lobster & Beer Co.Those who want to taste the best burger they’ve had in their life.
2Graze BurgersNon-traditional options like bison, turkey and veggie.
3Wild Bear TavernA simple, classic burger centrally located between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg right off the main Parkway.
4The Local GoatBurger lovers seeking table service.
5Mountain Edge GrillBurgers within walkable from downtown Gatlinburg.
TheSmokies.com

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1. Pinchy’s Lobster & Beer Co.

Tip: Also try the lobster

I do not have the research data to state this as an empirical fact but my personal anecdotal evidence indicates that seafood-stand-type restaurants may well serve the best burgers in the world.

I have a rule that if a place is named for a certain thing, you order that thing. For instance, I do not go to a barbecue restaurant and order the rainbow trout. However, I will say that I believe the Pinchburger is the best burger I have had in my life… ever.

It’s not fancy. It’s two smashed patties on a toasted brioche bun with American cheese, pickle and something called “comeback sauce” – a spicy tangy mayo-based sauce. The sauce added a little tang but not so much as to overpower anything. It was a bit like a great symphony where you can hear the different instruments each doing their part but you can also appreciate the large piece as a whole. Even the pickle was perfect, for goodness sakes.

The search – my friends – for the perfect burger is over. You can find it in the shadow of the Sevier County Courthouse not far from the Dolly Parton statue. There’s a gravel parking lot across the street and a handful of on the street parking spots but on a busy night you might have to park a bit further away and walk a block or two.

You can find Pinchy’s at 212 Court Avenue. You can reach them at 865-365-4168. You can’t make reservations online. However, you can check the wait time and place online orders for pickup or use a delivery service to have it brought to you. Free 2-hour street parking is available in downtown.

the local farmer burger at graze burgers
Graze Burgers is one of the most popular restaurants in downtown Sevierville. I recommend The Classic, The Bourbon Bleu and The Local Farmer, depending on your mood. Pictured: The Local Farmer (photos by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

2. Graze Burgers

Tip: Good for people with special diets

Graze Burgers, also located near the Dolly Parton Statue at the Sevier County Courthouse in downtown Sevierville, is off the beaten culinary path of the main drag. But they serve a great burger.

They start with grass-fed beef, no hormones, steroids or antibiotics and from there, they go a little crazy. The hamburger David Thoreau in me prefers The Classic with aged cheddar, pickles, lettuce, tomato and onion. But if I’m feeling that I’ve been a little too long in the wilderness, or have been sampling Graze’s fine selection of bourbon, whiskey and scotch, then I might go for something a little out of character like the Bourbon Bleu. The Local Farmer, with aged cheddar, bacon, fried egg, greens, onions tomatoes, pickles and graze sauce is also a winner.

Also, as the father of a boy with food allergies, I also like that they offer several non-traditional options like veggie and turkey burgers as well as bison. Although, I never had the boy allergy tested for buffalo so we’ll skip that one for now. Graze Burgers is located at 125 Bruce St, Sevierville, TN. They do not take reservations. Again, free 2-hour street parking is available nearby.

The Big Bear Burger
Wild Bear Tavern is the only German restaurant in Sevier County, and it also claims the top spot for best burger in the Smokies. Pictured: The Big Bear Burger (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

3. Wild Bear Tavern

Tip: OUTDOOR PATIO AVAILABLE

No celebration of the marriage of meat and bun is complete without a nod to the ancestors. No, the origin of the holy hamburger is not definitively known but it is named after the town of Hamburg in Germany. It is thus proper that we recognize what is likely the only German restaurant in Sevier County, the Wild Bear Tavern. The Germans have been doing weird and wonderful things with meat for centuries so there’s not a lot of messing around with things like toppings.

There are two burgers at the Wild Bear, the Big Bear Burger – a double-stack short rib brisket and angus burger – and the Brat Burger – which is the same thing with a smoked pork brat, kraut and German beer mustard, the nature of which, Immanuel Kant would agree, is unknowable but tastes pretty damn fantastic. Achtung, baby! They are located at 4236 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN and they accept reservations on their website. Free parking is available on site.

the Tennessee whiskey burger at the local goat
The Tennessee Whiskey Burger at The Local Goat is a favorite among locals (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. The Local Goat

Tip: TRY THE Deep Fried Deviled eggs

The Local Goat has style and that carries over to their burgers which they keep on a need-to-know basis. So, what’s in them? It’s a secret blend of fresh, locally sourced beef, smart guy. They’re gourmet and they’re spectacular. That’s all you need to know. 

I personally recommend the Tennessee Whiskey Burger with smoked bacon, crispy onions and garlic aioli. Pro-tip: Order the fried deviled eggs as a starter to this meal – you won’t regret it. But do be warned, The Local Goat isn’t off the beaten path, and therefore quite popular with the locals, and tourists alike. Wait times can be long if you show up unannounced. We recommend grabbing a reservation online before you go. The Local Goat is located at 2167 Parkway, Pigeon Forge, TN. Free parking is available on site.

the classic at the mountain edge grill
The Mountain Edge Grill is located in downtown Gatlinburg and is famous for their quality burgers. Pictured: the American Classic (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

5. Mountain Edge Grill

Tip: WALK FROM YOUR HOTEL

Located in the heavenly inlet of Baskin Square that also hosts Tennessee Jed’s and the Natural House of Jerky, the Mountain Edge Grill offers some of the best burgers in Gatlinburg. The menu isn’t overly fancy, there’s the American Classic, with cheese, lettuce tomato and onion but these culinary geniuses aren’t afraid to get a little interesting. I also love the Bison Elk Burger, featuring a mix of bison and elk meat with all the trimmings. They also make a great Chilli Cheese Burger. Long story short, you can’t go wrong at this establishment if you’re in the neighborhood. Mountain Edge Grill is located at 631 Parkway, Suite B4, Gatlinburg, TN. They do not accept reservations at this time. If you aren’t walking from downtown Gatlinburg you’ll probably have to pay for parking in a nearby lot.

What’s your favorite burger in the Smokies? Let us know in the comments.

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3 thoughts on “There’s a New Best Burger in Pigeon Forge, and It’s Not What You Think”

  1. Practically next door to the Mountain Edge Grill in Baskin Square, Gatlinburg is the New Orleans Sandwich Company. They offer a Cajun burger (spicy or not, as you prefer) on a whole loaf of French bread, dressed to your liking. My personal favorite burger in Sevier County.

    Reply
  2. I’m very disappointed in your review. I personally think Graze burgers are the worst ones I’ve eaten. I know others will disagree but I refuse to eat at Graze because their food is overrated. Local Goat I agree with. But for taste, I recommend the burgers at the Marathon Gas Station in Wears Valley. Would live to know their secret seasoning.

    Reply

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