Our first dog that I can remember was a Whippet mix I got to name when I was four. Pedal Flower Pup Gullion may have been the most foolish dog to ever live. Once on a hiking trip, she leaped off a cliff when she couldn’t figure out how to get from the people at the top of the cliff to those of us below. Dad’s friend, Nelson, saved the day with a fireman’s carry that took the falling dog’s momentum and launched her into the river where she splashed down safely. It remains the single most impressive athletic feat I’ve ever seen performed.
Through the years we had many others. But I’ve never had a dog I felt comfortable taking out around people. A lot of people, of course, do bring their dogs on vacation. However, we usually just ask someone to look after them a bit. Check on them. Make sure they have food and water.
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Bringing your dog on vacation
Other people prefer the services of a kennel, a pet sitter or doggy daycare. But for some, that’s not an option or they just prefer to travel with their fur babies. Of course, that takes extra planning on the road: Is it a pet-friendly hotel? Are there pet-friendly cabins? Where are the pet-friendly attractions? Can we take our pet to the mountains or Cades Cove?
Only two hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park allow pets; the Gatlinburg Trail near the Sugarlands Visitor Center and the Oconaluftee River Trail near the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Pets are prohibited on all other trails.
If you plan to bring your pet, you will need a plan. So what happens when you want to go out for dinner with your furry friend? Finding dog-friendly places is key. Luckily, Gatlinburg is a town built for pedestrians with a lot of restaurants with outdoor seating. Many of those places will offer a dog-friendly patio or outdoor seating area. Of course, we should note that we’re not talking about service animals who go with their owner wherever they are needed. It turns out there are plenty of places in Gatlinburg where you can dine out with your pet. Without further ado, here are some of the best pet-friendly restaurants in Gatlinburg TN:
9. Dick’s Last Resort
The outdoor seating at Dick’s is pet friendly. But, you know, don’t take your dog to Dick’s. Honestly, don’t take yourself to Dick’s. You’ve surely got better options. I believe in you.
8. Fannie Farkle’s
Maybe we’re stretching the limits a bit here. Fannie Farkle’s is an arcade with a massive grill in the front selling carnival food to passersby. It’s also a great place to grab a sausage or corn dog while walking your family’s best friend through downtown Gatlinburg. However, there are not a lot of spots to stop, rest and eat.
7. Mellow Mushroom
I’m on record as being a Mellow Mushroom fan. Founded on the idea there’s a better way to do pizza, Mellow Mushroom is open and inviting and delicious. So it’s no surprise that the outdoor seating area will allow dogs. But it should be noted it’s not designed with your furry family member in mind so be warned there’s not a lot of room for large dogs.
6. Three Jimmy’s Good Time Eatery
Stick to your ribs comfort food is the order of the day at Three Jimmy’s. The menu is loaded with favorites like chicken pot pie, open-face roast beef and a variety of barbecue and grilled items. The pizzas and sandwiches are also worth the drive off the strip. And it’s some of the best pizza in the area. They also recommend the award-winning wings, fried mushrooms and the legendary smoked Gouda macaroni and cheese. It may not be the best BBQ among local restaurants, but it’s still a great place to get barbecue. It’s a hearty meal. This is a local favorite that’s perfect for the whole family. Good time? You’ll have a great time as will your pooch. The outdoor seating allows pets.
5. Wild Plum Tea Room
You wouldn’t think of a tea room as necessarily welcoming of big dogs. But with a spacious patio area, it’s a great place for a leisurely afternoon out with your pet and friends and a delicious meal.
4. Tennessee Jed’s
Another favorite “hippie” place, Tennessee Jed’s is in the process of opening a second location on Highway 321 in the Winery Square which will have even more outdoor seating than the original location. Good for your dogs, better for you. I love the Rueben and the Ham and Swiss. My favorite is probably the Cubano but there are no bad choices. Tennessee Jed’s also does some serious breakfast sandwiches. Certainly, it’s the perfect way to fuel up for the day with your fur baby by your side.
3. The Fox & Parrot Tavern
A traditional British Pub with fish and chips and steak and mushroom pie, The Fox & Parrot also offers a variety of beers and ciders. The Shepherd’s Pie – which may be thematically fitting depending on the kind of dog you have – is a favorite. The outdoor patio porch tables are pet-friendly. So it’s a great place for dog owners to have a pint and some traditional British fare.
2. Mad Dog’s Creamery & Donuts
This is a great place to stop and get one of 24 flavors of hand-dipped ice cream, banana splits, milkshakes and donuts. With a name like Mad Dog’s, you’d think the place is pet-friendly and you’d be right. Dogs are welcome and they even have donut treats available for your pooch. It’s a special place where you and your best friend can get a treat.
1. Tom & Earl’s Back Alley Grill
Dogs are welcome in the back alley, my friends. This Southern-tinged casual dining spot has a patio-specific entrance with easy access where dogs are not just accepted but welcomed with a bowl of water. For humans, there are fried green tomatoes, jumbo wings, barbecue, sandwiches and a whole lot more. This is the best place for man (and woman) and man’s best friend in town. This one, if you’ll pardon the pun, is the top dog.
Bonus: Many, if not most, of the area distilleries allow dogs. Be sure to call to confirm.
Do you have a favorite place to dine with your pooch in Gatlinburg? If so, let us know in the comments!