On the map, the West Prong of the Little River divides Sevierville from Pigeon Forge.
It’s the same as many of the imaginary borders we use to divide our world into sections, arbitrary and relatively meaningless except for man-made concepts like politics, regulations and taxes.
In the real world, unless you saw the sign, you’d have no reason to know that you’d crossed from Sevierville into Pigeon Forge or vice versa. Right there along the city boundaries, there’s very little practical difference between the two.
But it may surprise you to know that Sevier County’s seat is more than just the business end for its two more wild and free siblings, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.
Years ago, Sevierville siphoned off the best of the county’s shopping – particularly the outlet businesses that had helped make Pigeon Forge strong.
Is Sevierville a good place to find great food?
Now, another movement is well underway. In particular, Sevierville is THE place to go in the county for foodies.
When I first moved to East Tennessee, Sevierville was nothing more than the town you had to drive through to get to Pigeon Forge. As the county seat, it had the courthouse and the jail but nothing that would draw people to town who didn’t have specific business there.
That’s not the case anymore.
Right at the border, Sevierville siphoned off a major piece of Pigeon Forge’s bread and butter but a funny thing happened to the rest of the city. Sevierville’s food scene became something of a natural balance to Pigeon Forge.
Wild-eyed artists with little more than a spatula and a dream found a home in the burgeoning Sevierville food scene. Mad scientists and dreamers and visionaries with more in common with Van Gogh than Paula Deen found a home in Sevierville.
So yes, as of late, Sevierville is a good place to find great food.
I assume property values in Sevierville are more befitting a visionary’s culinary laboratory than Pigeon Forge where the prices alone demand high volume, quick turnover and the menu equivalent of a greatest hits record.
When you’re paying top dollar for land, everything on the menu has to play to every audience, right?
That’s not to say everything in Sevierville is hipster certified. It’s still the part of the big three that’s more like a real town than some neon-powered tourist haven.
But in Sevierville, the homogeneity of Pigeon Forge fades a little bit.
So, if you’d like to get away from the culinary version of a classic rock station, drive up north of the West Prong and see what Sevierville has to offer.
Below, you will find my personal ranking of the best restaurants in Sevierville.
17. Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin
Look, we had all this build-up about cracking the eggshell that is Pigeon Forge culinary homogeny, but you still got to eat breakfast.
Breakfast items are the one area in which Sevierville restaurants lack options compared to Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge.
Culinary artists, it seems, aren’t as jazzed at getting up at 4 am to make a bunch of hash brown skillets. Still, pancakes are big business in Sevier County and Flapjack’s is a great place to get ’em.
It’s comfort food for your breakfast lovin’ soul.
16. Holston’s Kitchen
Next, we have Holston’s Kitchen. Holston’s Kitchen made the cut on our best Sevierville restaurants list for its variety of menu options and massive portion sizes. At Holston’s, you can get anything from Greek salads to TexMex to Italian cuisine to steaks and everything in between.
Try the Fried Green Tomatoes while you’re there – a southern staple.
Just be sure to come hungry as portion sizes are generous.
Aubrey’s is an interesting case study. A popular East Tennessee restaurant group that is professional, consistent and good if not great. I’m a fan of the Pizza Rockefeller, the Hawaiian ribeye and the strawberry pecan salad, but you do you.
14. Fort Worth Texas Kitchen
Fort Worth Texas Kitchen is a newcomer on the Sevierville food scene. Their dinner menu features a variety of TexMex style favorites at affordable prices.
13. The Diner
One of the premier attractions to Sevier County over the decades has been the car culture.
In particular, from the Rod Runs to cruising up and down the strip, that 50s/60s American graffiti vibe is a big part of the social fabric of the area.
Get a patty melt, some onion rings, french fries, green beans, a chicken tender basket and a big ole shake.
It’s not culinary artistry. Certainly, it’s not Picasso at the grill. But it’s one of the best places in the Smokies for a traditional diner experience. It’s good and fun and classic and there’s a place in any good food culture for those things, too.
12. Gatlinburg Brewing Company
Here, my friends, we may well have found genius.
Founded by a man who discovered his passion for brewing at an Outkast concert – I want to make an Outkast reference here to prove how hip I am but I’ll just say that if I were a professional baseball player my walk-up music would be “So Fresh, So Clean”.
With two locations, the Gatlinburg Brewing Co. offers craft beers, pub-style appetizers and truly delicious pizza.
Pizza varieties include Dirty Hippie, Hangover Helper, Betty White and Basic AF.
11. Applewood Farmhouse Grill
The Apple Barn is one of our favorite places to frequent and it happens to be home of one of the area’s most popular restaurants: Sevierville’s Applewood Farmhouse restaurant.
Located right on the line with Pigeon Forge, the Farmhouse is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner offerings. The fare is what you’d expect from a farmhouse restaurant – fried chicken and roast and meatloaf and such but with a few surprises as well.
It’s all amazing food that the whole family will enjoy.
And don’t leave until you’ve sampled the chicken pot pie, the pot roast and apple fritters for a sweet treat with a side of homemade apple butter and apple julep.
10. Comida Hondureña Yobanina
This one is a local favorite.
Comida Hondureña Yobanina is a Honduran restaurant located in a gas station near the Tanger outlets. This is the perfect place to go when you want to add a little spice to your diet.
9. Graze Burgers
Sometimes you just want a delicious burger. Graze is the place, featuring all grass-fed beef burgers with no hormones, antibiotics or steroids.
This is not your typical burger fare. For example, try the Local Farmer with aged cheddar, house bacon, a fried egg, local greens, onions, tomatoes and house pickles.
I’m gonna be honest. Any place that has its own pickles is gonna be alright in my book.
8. Hickory Cabin Restaurant
Award-winning smoked pork. Do you need to know more?
The website describes its BBQ as sultry. Anyone who thinks their smoked pork is sultry has a passion for pulled pork that borders on unhealthy. But, the flip side of that passion means if you care that much, it’s gonna be good and it is.
At any rate, just don’t go thinkin’ too hard about the whole sultry thing.
7. Seasons 101
For the record, this is not a freshman-level meteorology course. It is a self-described culinary experience.
Seasons 101 is located in the heart of downtown Sevierville, TN at the Historic Central Hotel. It is a comfortable, casual dining atmosphere, combined with upscale cuisine at moderate prices.
The season determines how the menu selections are curated. “An ever-changing selection of signature dishes and cocktails inspired by the current season is the heart of our dining philosophy.”
And whatever the season, the food is, in fact, always good.
6. Five Oaks Farm Kitchen
For symmetry purposes, I should have ranked this fifth. But let’s move past that.
Five Oaks Farm Kitchen lives up to the name. Run by the family of Dr. John (not the Iko, Iko guy) and Blanche Ogle who originally owned and operated the family farm, Five Oaks is probably the best of the region’s farm-house style restaurants.
I’d recommend something from the smokehouse – but that may be my general preference for smoked meat talking. The fried okra is also a must.
5. El Primo Products Hispanos
If you’re looking for the same-old Tex-Mex that gets slung in restaurants from here to the border this isn’t the place.
In fact, if the idea that the best Mexican food is served in the back of a Hispanic grocery store is a surprise to you, this might not be your place.
However, if you want to eat something with authentic flavor? This is your place.
4. Bustin’ Butts BBQ – 210 Produce
Delicious BBQ made fresh daily. Served on paper plates with beans, potato salad, smoked mac and cheese or coleslaw.
There are also a few outdoor picnic tables if you want to eat on site, but you can call ahead and pick it up to go.
3. Preacher’s Smokehouse
The menu? Written on a chalkboard on the wall. The proprietor? A real-life preacher named Sam Steele.
The Food? Oh. My. God.
Get the burnt ends. And get the three meat meal – which comes with two sides for $15. Get everything.
Indeed, this is the kind of place barbecue foodies dream about. Hours are limited, so plan ahead.
2. The Chop House
This is an upset of sorts.
I love The Chop House which is run by East Tennessee restaurant royalty.
Everything is great. It’s done to perfection every time. It has been – in my opinion – the best place to eat in Sevierville for years. So why is it No. 2? Well…
1. The Appalachian
Finally, if we’re honoring Sevier County’s burgeoning foodie community, we must recognize the new guard.
The Appalachian is one of Sevierville’s newest restaurants, serving up delicious food, fine dining style.
They specialize in bringing a modern approach to traditional Appalachian ingredients and dishes.
Dishes change with the season based. For instance, the $28 Heritage Pork Chop comes with Sea Island red peas, winter squash, collard greens and ham broth.
At the time of this writing, prices range from $18 for the Appalachian Burger to $90 for the 48 oz. Tomahawk Ribeye. Certainly, The Appalachian represents an artfulness, a thoughtfulness to the culinary sciences that challenges the idea of what Appalachian cuisine can be.
Do you have a favorite restaurant in Sevierville? Let us know in the comments below!