Last spring break, my wife took our oldest daughter to New York to see “Hamilton”. Our two youngest went and stayed with their Gammie and Poppy Joe.
I had the house to myself for the better part of a week.
What did I do? Well, I worked a lot actually. I took advantage of the time to myself and worked ahead.
What didn’t I do? I didn’t cook. Not one single thing.
And Sunday night, after everybody left, I went alone to a steakhouse and treated myself to a mouthwatering steak.
I had so much fun Sunday, I did it again Monday.
On Tuesday, a friend wanted to meet for dinner so we made plans to get a delicious meal. Where did he want to go? Out for a nice steak dinner.
Porterhouse, porterhouse, porterhouse.
It was Steakfest, ’22 baby.
I was eating red meat like it was the only thing on the menu.
So what did I do Wednesday? Salad. I’m not a monster, I need vegetables occasionally, too.
It’s hard to go out for steak with a family of five for a couple of reasons, not the least of which is money. It’s expensive to take the family out to a real steakhouse. Usually, it’s a treat, a luxury. Steakfests do not come around often.
The best steaks in Gatlinburg, ranked
So, when you’re on vacation in a place like Gatlinburg, TN, you’re allotting a certain amount of your dining budget for steak. Certainly, you want to make sure you pick the right place to get the best steaks in town.
The good news? In Gatlinburg, there are a lot of good places to pick from.
The bad news? When you’re eating steak, there is no bad news.
Here are your best options for a great steak when dining in Gatlinburg.
5. Cherokee Grill
Not exactly a “steak” place but a good restaurant where you can go when the rest of the family might not want steak for the main course. The Cherokee Grill does a lot of things and does them all quite well.
Fried chicken. Herb Crusted trout. Crab cakes. When it comes to steak they have a selection of traditional offerings and a selection of “artsy” steaks with various culinary liberties taken.
There’s a blue cheese sirloin with sundried tomato sauce. And also a boursin filet – a filet stuffed with Boursin cheese. In addition, they offer a tasty Prosperity Steak that is the cousin to Calhoun’s Ale Steak discussed below.
It’s the perfect location to stop after a long day in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Calhoun’s actually has two locations in the Smokies – one in Pigeon Forge and one in Gatlinburg.
Calhoun’s, like Cherokee Grill, is not actually a steakhouse. Technically, it’s a barbecue joint.
But they do know how to handle their meat.
And even though I normally take a stance against gimmicky steaks – steaks covered in a bunch of unnecessary stuff – I make an exception for Calhoun’s “Ale” Steak.
The “Ale” Steak is a 7 or 10-ounce sirloin marinated in olive oil, mustard, garlic and Cherokee Red Ale. It is topped with Worcestershire butter. And it is incredible.
I do not, however, make an exception for the Bar-B-Que Steak Calhoun, which is simply taking things too far.
Still, Calhoun’s is a great destination if your party can’t decide on what they all want. It has a nice variety on the menu. It’s good food, good steaks, a full bar and great service.
3. Alamo Steakhouse
I am on record as being a fan of the Alamo, but I don’t have it ranked as high as others on this list.
Certainly, I mean no insult, ranking the place No. 3.
There’s just stiffer competition for your steak dollar in Gatlinburg. You can’t just be great to secure the No. 1 spot. You have to be amazing.
With locations in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, the Alamo offers traditional steakhouse fare; filet, strip, T-bone, the El Presidente Porterhouse and rib-eye steak. And can’t go wrong with any of them.
The rest of their extensive menu – which includes items like pork chops, chicken and even seafood – is also notable, but again, the focus of this article is steak so let’s not digress.
The Gatlinburg location is on the East Gatlinburg Parkway so you can avoid the downtown traffic. And it is also the perfect place for a date night.
2. The Greenbrier Restaurant
There is a schism amongst the staff at TheSmokies.com between the Greenbrier and the Peddler.
It’s not a massive schism – the truth is you can’t go wrong with either. But honestly, wars have been waged over less.
What I like about Greenbrier is the Henry David Thoreau of it all “Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.”
Age the steak. Treat it well. Cook it perfectly. That’s all we need.
If you want cheese injected or the thing encrusted in whatever it is they use to encrust things, that’s fine. But for me? It’s about the steak itself.
At the Greenbrier, the bone-in rib eye is king. Dry-aged Iowa beef. Pepper. Salt. Perfection.
You can make the argument that the Greenbrier is the best dining experience in Sevier County. Great food. Excellent service.
One of the best restaurants around.
It’s also probably one of the more upscale options on our list which makes it a contender for a date night, romantic getaway or special occasion.
1. The Peddler Steakhouse
The Greenbrier is great but given the choice, I’ll take the Peddler.
Custom cut steaks. Want a rib eye or New York strip more than 16 oz? Just tell ‘em. They’ll cut it to size. The filet mignon is amazing. The prime rib is perfect.
They also have an exceptional fresh salad bar with the freshest ingredients, if such things matter to you at all.
The Peddler in Gatlinburg is culinary history. It’s a Gatlinburg icon. It’s the kind of place when you go back home and tell people you dined there, they should be jealous.
There are a lot of places to get a great steak in Gatlinburg. However, in my opinion, the Peddler is the best of them.
It’s one of the best steak restaurants in the region, and maybe the best restaurant in East Tennessee, among the downtown Gatlinburg restaurants – which doesn’t include Greenbrier or Alamo, it’s certainly the best.
Pro-Tip: If you ever have a problem finding a seat at The Peddler, you might be able to get in at The Park Grill, their (ever so slightly) lesser-famous sister restaurant located just 0.02 miles away.
What is your favorite place to get a steak in Gatlinburg TN? Let us know in the comments below!