Local reviews popular Gatlinburg breakfast spot
I am here, friends, to discuss the art of a finely prepared mountain breakfast. But before we can discuss hen fruit and catheads (more on that later), there’s a bit of chicanery afoot that must be addressed. Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is a magnificent mecca of mountain breakfast. But I think it is playing a bit fast and loose with one of East Tennessee’s folk heroes. You see, the Crockett in question is not folklore legend Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier. It’s’ named after David Crockett Maples.
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Who is David Crockett Maples?
David Crockett Maples, a Tennessean who fought for the Union in the Civil War, opened a supply store when he returned from the war. It was located at the base of Mt. LeConte, where he and his wife, Mary (Ogle) Crockett earned a reputation for serving a hearty breakfast.
Mr. Maples eventually lost his legs to frostbite while serving as a guide. Undeterred, Maples created wooden feet to put in his boots, strapped them to his legs and went on walking around with the help of a pair of canes until 1928 when he passed away at the age of 88. So, I think Maples is more than deserving of having a Gatlinburg breakfast establishment named after him. But I suppose Maples Breakfast Camp doesn’t have the same ring. Still, it’s like opening a huge restaurant in Pigeon Forge called Dolly’s and having it dedicated to former Dolly Pentreath, the last known native speaker of the Cornish language.
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What to order from Crockett’s Breakfast Camp
Truthfully, I love everything about Crockett’s Breakfast Camp. They call the eggs “hen fruit.” The griddle cakes, French toast and waffles are enticing. I love that their cathead biscuits live up to the billing. My favorite, though, are the thick Aretha Frankenstein’s Pancakes, served with no explanation whatsoever. Just here ya go, Aretha Frankenstein! As if everybody knows about the “famous” pancake mix from the restaurant on Tremont Street in Chattanooga. You can also build your own biscuit with the Cathead Stacker. There is something for everyone.
For those with a big appetite, I recommend the Black Bear Camp Skillet featuring country or sugar-cured ham and pecan-smoked bacon. It is served with Cherokee sweet corn pone and more. The Postmasters Favorite is also hearty, featuring country-fried steak and homestyle sausage gravy. You can view the full menu here.
Is Crockett’s Breakfast Camp worth it?
I love the location of Crockett’s, right at the top of the strip before you get out of Gatlinburg into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Going hiking? Great. Stop off for a hearty breakfast then turn around and go back to your hotel for a nice nap while you recover.
Ultimately, there are a lot of places in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area vying for your breakfast dollar. And of course, many of them are very, very good. So, how many of them should you drive past to try Crockett’s? It’s hard to say. And if I had my choice in Gatlinburg I’d go to the Pancake Pantry first. But that is not a slight to Crockett’s in any way. It’s a fantastic place to get breakfast and start your day in Gatlinburg. It’s certainly worth your time and money. And, hey, they’ve got a wooden statue of the namesake, which given his feet is somehow extremely appropriate but also a little disrespectful at the same time.
Parking, reservations and hours
Open seven days a week from 7 am-1 pm, Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is located at 1103 Parkway in Gatlinburg. Hours are subject to change, so always double-check ahead of time before you make your plans. Reservations are not available, but you can join a virtual waitlist online. With its prime location on the strip, parking can be an issue. The restaurant does have a few free parking spots on-site but they are limited. There’s a paid lot nearby which is good, because you’re not going to feel like walking very far.
Crockett’s is part of the KBS Restaurant family, which also owns The Greenbrier, Holston’s, J.T. Hannah’s and more. Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is a holy place for those who believe – in their soul – that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Have you been to Crockett’s? Let me know in the comments.