Where You Should Go for the Best Lunch in Pigeon Forge

chicken and dumplings from old mill

Who can resist chicken and dumplings from The Old Mill Restaurant? (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Local ranks top lunch spots in the Smokies

There are a lot of good places to eat in Pigeon Forge. So, I want to mention that for this list, I’m sticking strictly to Pigeon Forge. While you’re driving from Sevierville, you probably won’t even notice you’ve changed municipalities. But you have. While Sevierville offers a great many lunch spots – thinking of you Pinchy’s – they aren’t on this list. So, with that in mind, here are my favorite places to get lunch when I’m in Pigeon Forge:

Editor’s Note: We’ve also made a printable checklist available here for you to take with you on your next Smoky Mountain vacation.

Old Mill Restaurant

Southern specialties like fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, pork chops and meatloaf are found at Old Mill. Try the Southern Fried Beef Liver if you want some down-home flavor. They also offer some lighter fare if you don’t want to go back to your hotel and sleep immediately after lunch. I love their chicken and dumplings (pictured above). Be prepared to wait though, because this restaurant does not take reservations. However, their sister restaurant – The Pottery House Cafe, which is located nearby – is also a great option.

open burger with bacon at blue moose
The spicy Hawaiian Luau Burger with savory hamburger meat and Applewood bacon at Blue Moose (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Blue Moose Burgers

This family sports grill serves classic American fare like burgers and chicken wings. It’s a classic lunch place for a football Saturday or Sunday where you can keep track of multiple games at once. In my experience, they do not take reservations, but the wait typically isn’t too bad.

burger from jt hannahs in pigeon forge
JT Hannah’s burger and fries (photo by James Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

JT Hannah’s

This is a nice, classic lunch spot. And it’s also good for families. The menu is pretty classic and there are not a lot of surprises. You can join a waitlist online via their website.

Harpoon Harry's Sushi
I do love Harpoon Harry’s sushi (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Harpoon Harry’s Crabhouse

There’s a lot to like about Harpoon Harry’s. I love good seafood, a good basket of fried shrimp and I love that they serve sushi (on select days). In fact, good sushi can be hard to find in the mountains. But Harpoon Harry’s pulls it off and is usually my go-to if I’m in Pigeon Forge craving seafood. You can reserve a table online.

pigeon forge deli in mall with benches out front
The popular Pigeon Forge Deli (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Pigeon Forge Deli

Sometimes for lunch, you just want a sandwich from a great sandwich shop. This deli boasts pretzels and sub rolls, soups, pot roast, chicken salad and more made from scratch. But it’s the sandwich menu that keeps locals coming back.

Bison Meatloaf with Caramelized Onions at Local Goat
The Bison Meatloaf from Local Goat (photo by John Gullion/TheSmokies.com)

Local Goat

Judging by the parking lot alone, the Local Goat may be the most popular restaurant in Pigeon Forge. Of course, the food is excellent. The menu is also interesting – pushing boundaries beyond the safe and norm. Want to be adventurous? Start with the deep-fried deviled eggs and follow with the Bison meatloaf. You can join a virtual waitlist before you go.

Puckett's Pigeon Forge Exterior
Puckett’s has great starters and lunch entrees (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Puckett’s Restaurant

I could build a credible lunch just from the starters. They include Pimento Cheese Bites, Smoked Sausage and Cheese and also some Fried Green Beans. Lunch entrees include Southern-style classic barbecue and more. But the Piggy Mac is one of the most popular dishes. It’s cherry wood-smoked pulled pork in an iron skillet, topped with white cheddar mac n’ cheese and biscuit crumbs. You can reserve a table online.

Calhoun's Salad
Calhoun’s offers a wide variety on the lunch menu, including delicious salads (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)


I just realized as I wrote about Puckett’s how similar the menu – at least in broad strokes – is to Calhoun’s. The barbecue pork is considered the best in East Tennessee – though there are some mom and pops that might challenge that. I also love the sausage and pimento cheese appetizer at Calhoun’s. The ribs are excellent, but a little too heavy for me for lunch. Reserve a table online.

Wild Bear Club Sandwich on German Pumpernickel
The Wild Bear Club sandwich on German pumpernickel (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Wild Bear Tavern

German food sometimes gets a bad reputation. But I think we need more German restaurants around. Bratwurst? Delicious. Strudel? Delicious. Schnitzel? Also delicious. Wild Bear Tavern offers a variety of Teutonic favorites. However, I’m not sure I’d make it past the appetizers.

The charcuterie board served with cured chorizo, leberkäse, honey ham, Gouda cheese, brie cheese, Swiss cheese, pickled red onions, marinated mushrooms, candied walnuts and dried cranberries is calling my name. So is the sausage sampler with German brätwurst and a selection of sausages served with rotkohl, sauerkraut, an assortment of dipping sauces and a Bavarian demi-loaf. I can’t do a credible German accent, but I would very much like to walk into the Wild Bear and demand all their finest sausages in a heavy German accent. You can reserve a table via their website.

Smash Burger With Crispy Onions and Fries
The Smash Burger with crispy onions and fries (photo by John Gullion/TheSmokies.com)

Junction 35 Spirits

Half distillery store, half kitchen and bar, Junction 35 is the best lunch spot I’ve found in Pigeon Forge in a long time. They offer gourmet burgers and more. The Country Reuben has Montreal beef brisket, Swiss cheese, whole grain mustard, sauerkraut and house sauce on toasted white bread. It was the best I’ve ever had. We also had a Brussels Sprout skillet that was fantastic as well.


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What is your favorite Pigeon Forge lunch destination? Let me know in the comments.

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