When you grow up on the outskirts of the Great Smoky Mountains, sometimes you miss some obvious stuff.
It’s like the tale of the fish who asks another fish, “How’s the water?” and the fish responds, “What water?”
For years, I’ve been that other fish.
I’ve overlooked one of the most popular restaurants in the Smokies: The Greenbrier restaurant.
The Greenbrier is a favorite among locals.
You’ll notice that it’s not really heavily advertised. Also, it’s not right along any main roads, either. You have to be looking for it to really know that it’s there.
It’s worth noting that this establishment is a higher-end restaurant for the Gatlinburg area, which is likely why my parents never took me there as a kid. It’s also why it took me so long to take myself as an adult.
However, I’m now convinced that it might just be the best restaurant in Gatlinburg.
Is The Greenbrier worth it?
In short, yes, it’s worth it. It has amazing food, and it’s also rich in history.
The Greenbrier restaurant in Gatlinburg is a food and spirit outpost. In the 1930s, it was a mountain lodge that hunters, loggers and hikers frequented.
Today, it’s said to be one of the most haunted places in Gatlinburg … more on that later.
The lodge was eventually converted to a restaurant, where it currently serves high-quality food with Appalachian tradition.
The restaurant itself is beautiful. It would be a great spot for a romantic date night.
It’s also home to the Greenbrier Whiskey Society, meaning there’s a wide selection of bourbon, whiskey and spirits to taste. They also have bottled and draft beer.
The menu is updated periodically by the restaurant’s chef. If you have a favorite item, it’s possible that it may only be available for a limited amount of time.
On our visit, I ordered the salmon, my sister had trout and my brother-in-law got the filet of beef.
Y’all, it was some of the best food I’ve ever had in the Smokies.
The fish was flavorful and juicy.
And the steak? The steak was cooked beautifully. Melt-in-your-mouth perfection.
We were too full for dessert, but I think that means we’ll have to make another trip soon.
The Greenbrier in Gatlinburg menu prices
Are the prices at The Greenbrier high? Perhaps a little for East Tennessee.
The main dishes range from $28-43. Steaks, bone-in ribeye and pork chops range from $29-54. It’s not the kind of place where you can decide to order a sandwich with water to keep the bill low.
That being said, the food is high quality. The prices, in my opinion, are well justified.
To view the full menu with prices, click here.
What to order at The Greenbrier restaurant
The Greenbrier is Gatlinburg’s premier steakhouse, so it offers some of the highest quality food and an unparalleled dining experience.
They use only fresh produce and fresh vegetables and the finest cut of meats.
The house specialties change because they are unique chef creations.
For the appetizers, they currently offer selections like the Baked Spinach Dip, Cheese Board and Crispy Brussel Sprouts. If you want to get out of your comfort zone, try the Duck Confit Egg Rolls.
For the main course, consider the Joyce Farms Natural Chicken, a hickory smoked half chicken with cornbread dressing, haricot vert and a mustard-whiskey glaze.
For the Filet of Beef, which we think is perhaps the best in Gatlinburg, you can select a petite 7 oz. or upgrade to a 10 oz. Oscar-lump crab cake with bearnaise is also an available add-on.
My favorite is the Salmon, which has a crispy skin and now comes with roasted beets and carrots and a miso broth.
I loved every bite of my salmon, which was broiled perfectly.
Side dishes include a variety of items including pommes frites, a twice-baked potato or smoked cheddar grits.
Entrees come with a choice of soups or house salad with a selection of homemade salad dressings and crisp salad greens.
Is The Greenbrier restaurant in Gatlinburg haunted?
If you’re into Tennessee folklore, you’ll probably enjoy a visit to The Greenbrier restaurant.
Legend has it that a young bride-to-be named Lydia hung herself from the rafters of the old lodge after being left at the altar.
The man who left her was said to be found within days following Lydia’s passing. He appeared to have been mauled by a mountain lion.
Some believe that Lydia’s spirit took revenge on him. Some even believe that she took the form of the mountain lion to do so.
If that’s the case, I suppose she returned to her human-like form when she came back to haunt the lodge-turned-restaurant.
The Murfreesboro Post provides the most detail on the legend. Some workers have noticed “food items being knocked off shelves” in the pantry.
Some diners have reported seeing the spirit as a “small, sad figure” lingering along the stairway, or around the upper floor landing.
Additionally, some employees claim to feel her “chilling presence”.
Ghost hunters at The Greenbrier restaurant
I can’t say that my family or I saw Lydia when we were there. However, there was something chilling about looking up toward the second floor.
Despite the alleged revenge on her ex, some reports say that Lydia is a “friendly ghost”. Some even speculate that she doesn’t know she has perished.
Ghost hunters once visited The Greenbrier restaurant to investigate.
The East Tennessee Paranormal Research Society found photographic anomalies and “cheeky responses” to questions via Electronic Voice Phenomena, or EVP.
The restaurant acknowledges the spirit by naming menu items after her. For example, the “Lydia” martini has vodka, freshly squeezed lemon and house-made lavender simple syrup.
Furthermore, she even has her own cellar reserves.
Does The Greenbrier restaurant take reservations?
Yes, visitors can reserve a table online here.
The Greenbrier is a popular restaurant. You might be able to find a spot at the bar seating area if you’re lucky. Still, I recommend you reserve a table in advance.
Plan your trip to The Greenbrier restaurant
The Greenbrier is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays from 4:30-9 pm and Fridays and Saturdays from 4:30-10 pm. On Sundays, it is open from 10 am-2 pm for brunch.
It’s closed on Mondays. Remember, hours may vary by season.
The Greenbrier is located at 370 Newman Road in Gatlinburg, Tenn.
Have you been to The Greenbrier restaurant? Have you seen Lydia? Let us know in the comments!
View the web story version of this article here.