Change is constant in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
It’s bittersweet, really.
It means that we have to say goodbye to some of our old favorite attractions or restaurants. For example, I still miss riding the Slidewinder when I visit Dollywood.
But on the upside, there’s almost always something new to experience when I come to the heart of the mountains.
On my most recent journey to downtown Gatlinburg, I was able to visit the new restaurant Cumberland Jack’s Leconte Kitchen.
It is the new restaurant in town and has worked up quite a buzz on social media during its first few weeks of operation.
At this time of this writing, the brand new establishment doesn’t even have a full website up quite yet, but the location is officially open for business and ready to serve you with some delicious country staples.
Who owns Cumberland Jack’s LeConte Kitchen?
During my first visit to the new restaurant, I was told by a staff member that Cumberland Jack’s is a sister restaurant to popular spot Crockett’s Breakfast Camp.
And while Cumberland Jack’s is not listed on the company’s websites as part of the KBS Family Restaurant Group (yet), I found a few job listings that appear to confirm the ownership.
The theming certainly fits in with the style of Crockett’s. Crockett’s is named after David Crockett Maples, who is arguably the lesser known Crockett but notable nonetheless.
And it just so happens that Cumberland Jack’s is also named after an iconic figure in the Smokies.
The history of Cumberland Jack’s LeConte Kitchen
Cumberland Jack’s LeConte Kitchen is named after Paul Adams and his dog, Cumberland Jack.
A sign at the restaurant explains that Adams was an avid outdoorsman and advocate for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
In 1925, Adams helped build the first cabin on the mountain for the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association.
Over the years, the LeConte Lodge has added several cabins, and today, it boasts the highest guest lodge in the Eastern United States at 6,400 feet.
According to sources from the national park, Adams would send his dog Cumberland Jack down to a store in Gatlinburg with a grocery list and money in his saddle bags.
Cumberland Jack would return with the groceries a few hours later.
According to the Knoxville History Project, Adams made the trek to LeConte more than 500 times during his lifetime. He and Cumberland Jack also helped fight forest fires.
Jack’s saddlebags were once used to carry supplies up to locals attempting to dampen flames on Alpine Mountain.
Today, we have a restaurant that honors this man and his dog.
The inside of the restaurant looks like a real, rustic mountain lodge. Except you don’t have to hike back down the side of a mountain after enjoying a delicious feast.
Is Cumberland Jack’s worth it?
Ok, enough about the story, what about the food?
Cumberland Jack’s offers many traditional Southern classics. With an extensive menu, it was a bit hard to choose. However, I eventually opted for the fried catfish as my main course.
It came with a side, so naturally, I ordered the macaroni and cheese.
The catfish was fried to perfection. Delicious, flaky, but not too greasy. The macaroni and cheese wasn’t my favorite that I’ve had in Gatlinburg, but it was pretty good. And I very much enjoyed the other sides.
I think the Southern food is more authentic than some of the other tourist places I’ve been to in town.
Overall, I have to say, the food is top-notch.
My server was also very friendly.
The best part about Cumberland Jack’s
Cumberland Jack’s trademark is the complimentary lil’ mug of soup.
The vegetable soup was delicious and warm, served in a tin coffee cup.
There’s just something about eating in a cabin-like setting and being greeted with delicious, buttery rolls and warm soup. It’s comfort for the soul.
Overall, this restaurant is an awesome gem and the perfect place to wind down after a long day of walking the strip in Gatlinburg.
What else is on Cumberland Jack’s menu?
The impressive menu touts several Southern classic dishes.
Available menu items include beef liver and onions, ham steak, corned beef and cabbage, pot roast, fried chicken, mountain trout, fried catfish, smoked chicken, pork chops, pulled pork, meatloaf and pork ribs.
The restaurant also offers an array of salads.
For the kids, they offer a corn dog, grilled cheese, meatloaf, pulled pork or chicken tenders.
Coke products and a wide range of beer selections are also available.
Sides include items such as mashed potatoes, carrots, green beans, cabbage, coleslaw, pinto beans, fried okra, potato salad, hominy, creamed corn, mac and cheese and a side salad.
Is it expensive to eat at Cumberland Jack’s?
No, it is not expensive to eat at Cumberland Jack’s.
The prices are on par with most dinner places in the area. The lesser-priced items start at about $15.99, and the more expensive items are about $22.99.
The most expensive thing I found on the menu was the full rack of house-smoked pork ribs, which are $32.99 at the time of this writing.
And considering the entrees come with soup and delicious rolls, I think it’s a great deal.
The restaurant is open daily from 4 pm to 9 pm (10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays).
Cumberland Jack’s is located at 1019 Parkway, Gatlinburg, TN.
Have you tried this new restaurant yet? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below.