Last spring break, I had the house to myself for the better part of a week.
What did I do? Well, I worked a lot actually. 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.
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.
Area Deals and Discounts
Subscribe to our newsletter and we will instantly deliver the best area discounts to your inbox.
What is Gatlinburg’s famous food?
Gatlinburg is essentially known for having classic Southern food staples.
This includes delicious BBQ, and in this case, it often means many places to find delicious steak.
Who has the best steak in Gatlinburg?
When you’re on vacation in a place like Gatlinburg, 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, TN.
7. Cherokee Grill
While the Cherokee Grill is not exactly a “steak” place, it’s still 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.
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. For example, they have “Best ribs in America” right on the front sign.
But they do know how to handle their meat, which is full of natural flavors and juices.
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.
5. Howard’s Restaurant
Howard’s has been a staple in Gatlinburg since 1946. They offer a delicious menu of soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, side dishes and a wide selection of steak.
You can order a ribeye, filet, New York strip or T-bone cut. They even offer a Steak for Two, which comes with an 8 oz. filet and a 14 oz. USDA choice ribeye with two sides with each steak. At the time of this writing, it is only $68.
When a restaurant has been in business since the 40’s, you know they are doing something right. And steak is one of them.
4. The Park Grill
The Park Grill arguably has just as good of food and service as its more popular sister restaurant, The Peddler (see below).
So why is it ranked fourth? It seems a bit unfair to give one company all the glory.
Still, located near the entrance to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, The Park Grill offers a full salad bar and an impressive menu.
For steaks, they offer a Hickory Grilled Rib Eye (also available as a New York strip) and Filet Mignon.
As an added bonus, the restaurant has free parking for guests and call ahead seating.
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, Alamo offers traditional steakhouse fare; filet, strip, T-bone, rib-eye steak and the impressive El Presidente Porterhouse. And you 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 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.
They offer custom cut steaks. Want a rib eye or New York strip larger 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. As a bonus, select seating options will offer views of the Little Pigeon River.
What is your favorite place to get a steak in Gatlinburg TN? Let us know in the comments below!