Editorial

8 absolute best breakfast restaurants in Gatlinburg, ranked

Rise and shine! It’s breakfast time in East Tennessee.

As you may have noticed, there are a ton of brunch and breakfast options in Gatlinburg. In fact, there are so many that it can be hard to choose between them all.

But never fear, we’re here to save the day – or at least your morning – with some made-from-scratch pancakes and other delicious breakfast treats.

We’ve taken on the difficult task of sampling all of the savory donuts, old-fashioned buttermilk pancakes and biscuits in the area – on your behalf of course – and used our findings to create this ranked list of breakfast restaurants in Gatlinburg.

It’s not an easy task to rank the best places to eat breakfast in Gatlinburg. Plus, the game is often changing competitors. For example, Ruby Sunshine, which once offered a modern take on New Orleans breakfast, has sadly closed its doors.

Fortunately, there are plenty of places left to get a delicious morning meal in the area. Here are some of our absolute favorite places to get breakfast in Gatlinburg:

8. Timbers Log Cabin Restaurant

A cozy, quaint restaurant located on Glades Road in Gatlinburg, Timbers Log Cabin offers a welcoming atmosphere and delicious homecooked-style meals like your grandparents would make.

Coming in at number 8 is not a slight to the quality of food. The only downside is that the restaurant can be a little hard to visit with limited hours and a location that is a bit out of the way.

Currently, the restaurant is open Friday through Sunday. But if you are able to visit for breakfast, you won’t regret it.

The Atrium exterior in Gatlinburg
Make sure to try one of the Atrium pancakes, like their famous baked apple pancake (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

7. The Atrium Restaurant

The Atrium is a breakfast and lunch restaurant, open from 7:30 am to 2 pm Wednesday through Sunday in Gatlinburg.

Breakfast offers the usual variety with options like pancakes, bacon and French toast. You won’t go wrong with one of their classic Southern breakfast dishes, like the Mountain Man Platter with two eggs, two pancakes, homefries and ribeye.

But they are most well known for the Famous Apple Pancake, which has fresh baked apples and brown sugar served over apple syrup.

Of course, here you can also find grits, biscuits and gravy, country ham, omelets, benedict and more.

storefront of the smoky mountains creperie
The Smoky Mountain Creperie has a variety of sweet and savory crepes (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

6. Smoky Mountains Creperie

The Smoky Mountain Creperie is the perfect spot to satisfy your sweet breakfast craving.

They have an array of savory selections that feature items like a Nutella & Oreo, Hershey’s & Marshmallows and Peanut Butter & Jelly crepe.

But if you prefer a more hearty selection, they also offer a Ham, Cheese & Bacon crepe as well as one that has beef, cheese, peppers and onions.

It’s a great little spot located near the Space Needle in Gatlinburg near the main strip.

The Donut Friar with an eclair in front of the sign
The Donut Friar is a Gatlinburg institution specializing in donuts, pastries and delicious coffee (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

5. The Donut Friar

We would be amiss to exclude the Donut Friar from this breakfast list. 

The place is Gatlinburg institution – punny name, coffee, éclairés and all.

The Donut Friar has been around since 1967 and is the last standing original shop in the entire Village Shops area.

This isn’t a sit-down kind of breakfast joint – it’s more like a grab-and-go glorified coffee and donut shop. But if you haven’t been to the Donut Friar at least once on your Smokies vacation to sample their world-famous cinnamon bread, did you really vacation in the Smokies?

But do be warned, this is a cash-only establishment so come prepared.

Read Also: Donut Friar Gatlinburg: How the punny donut shop became Smokies famous 

flapjack's pancake cabin on the strip in gatlinburg
Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin has six locations in Sevier County, serving up delicious breakfast classics (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin

Flapjack’s has six locations in the Smokies – three of which are in Gatlinburg. The others are in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Kodak.

They are known for their pancakes but also offer other standard-fare breakfast items like skillets, omelets, bacon, sausage and eggs.

We highly recommend trying the Spanish Skillet, the Sticky Bun Pancakes, the Chocolate Chip Pancakes or the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pancakes.

Does anyone in your family have gluten sensitivities? No problem, just ask your server about the gluten-free options. Actually, in our experience, they are very allergen-friendly.

Read Also: Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin review: Great pancakes, strange origin story

fruity crepes with whipped topping and sugar
Fruit-filled crepes served with a whipped topping make a hearty breakfast (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

3. Log Cabin Pancake House

It’s not uncommon to see a line when you pull up to the Log Cabin Pancake House.

But don’t let it deter you. The line moves quickly and the wait will be worth it.

The Log Cabin Pancake House serves breakfast in downtown Gatlinburg.

Their menu features a variety of dishes including specialty pancakes (we recommend the butterscotch chip), French crepes, waffles, omelets, breakfast platters (like country ham and biscuits) as well as standard lunch fare (like hamburgers and corndogs).

They also know how to make a delicious breakfast sandwich.

As an added bonus, the parking is free – which is a bigger deal in Gatlinburg than most guests might realize.

The service has been consistently good, and the food is always delicious and hearty.

The restaurant is open every day from 7 am until 2 pm.

The Elk Mountain grande burrito
Crockett’s is known for their thick pancakes, but they have a wide selection of breakfast items like The Elk Mountain Grande Burrito (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

2. Crockett’s Breakfast Camp

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is famous for its cabin-chic atmosphere, hearty breakfasts, ultra-thick griddle cakes and fried cinnamon rolls.

But really, you can’t go wrong at Crockett’s. Everything is excellent.

If you like a little spice with your meal, we recommend the Elk Mountain Grande Burrito featuring three eggs, chorizo, machaca, pico de gallo and jalapeño peppers or the Huevos Rancheros with a side of hot sauce.

Fun fact: Crockett’s is owned by the KBS Restaurant family who also owns and operates other local hot spots including The Greenbrier Restaurant, Holston’s and J.T. Hannah’s.

pancakes at the pancake pantry
Pictured above are the Caribbean Pancakes, Chocolate Chip Pancakes and a side of bacon (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

1. The Pancake Pantry

And then we have Tennessee’s first pancake house – The Pancake Pantry – adored by locals and visitors alike.

The Pancake Pantry is housed in the Village Shops near the aforementioned Donut Friar.

The pancakes of this pancake house are a big business in Sevier County.

You can hardly sling an animatronic chicken without hitting a place that serves pancakes. But the Pancake Pantry is not only the best, but it’s also the first.

It’s not at all unusual to see people lined up outside around the block waiting to get into this popular pancake palace.

The menu includes a wide assortment of pancakes, crepes, waffles, blintzes and French toast served with whipped butter and maple syrup.

The traditional breakfast foods, eggs, sausage, bacon and omelets are all prepared with the skill and knowledge acquired from over 60 years in the business. This ain’t no fly-by-night operation, this is pancake royalty.

Not sure what to try first? We strongly suggest trying the Wild Blueberry Pancakes or the Caribbean Pancakes. 

Their pancake plates are served with real butter and freshly whipped cream.

And you’ll never have to worry about leaving the Pancake Pantry hungry – each pancake dish arrives with five full-sized cakes per plate. 

Read Also: Tennessee’s first: Pancake Pantry holds the key to local hotcake obsession

What is your vote for the best breakfast places in the area? Let us know in the comments!