Log Cabin Pancake House in Gatlinburg: 8 best things to order

wagon decoration with log cabin pancake house sign

Log Cabin Pancake House is a great option for a good breakfast in Gatlinburg (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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When I was kid, we’d go down to Florida and Papaw would take us out on the Homosassa River to go fishing.

Usually, there’d be three of us in the boat. Pap sat up in the bow and my stepdad Joe and I would work the other sides or the back. We’d try to anchor down so we could all cast in a decent spot without running the risk of tangling our lines.

But, occasionally, I’d be casting my line over and over without a nibble while Pap or Joe found a good spot.

The etiquette – even on a small boat – is you don’t cast into the other fisherman’s spot. I like etiquette. But I also liked catching fish.

I’d find the lure of the catch too appealing, casting my radius wider and wider each time until I was knocking on the door of the fishing hole.

They didn’t mind. Both of them wanted me to catch fish at least as much as they caught fish.

I think a lot of business owners in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee must have fished in a small boat because they seem to like encroaching on each other’s business.

Log Cabin Pancakes Exterior
Log Cabin Pancake House is a favorite in Gatlinburg. The line often moves quickly (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Why are pancakes so popular in Gatlinburg?

Many businesspeople have come to the Smokies with a vision and worked their butt off to make it succeed.

But with innovation there is a risk. Many of those visionaries have found their ideas met with a tepid reception or maybe it wasn’t the right time or place and so the efforts of their toil go for naught. They end in closed doors and crushed dreams.

But there are others, unburdened by vision, who see no need to reinvent the wheel.

They find what is successful and they replicate one after the other, testing the limits of how much the market will bear.

There are several moonshine distilleries, go-kart tracks, mountain coasters and putt-putt courses.

And pancake houses. They spring up across Sevier County like mushrooms in the dark.  

One of them is Log Cabin Pancake House – which opened in the 1970s on Historic Nature Trail in Gatlinburg.

In 1960, a pair of Hoosiers on a Smoky Mountain vacation in Gatlinburg saw an opportunity. Gatlinburg was in desperate need of a mildly European-themed flap jackery and thus the Pancake Pantry – the first pancake specialty restaurant in the whole state – was born.

Well, sir, the pancakes sold like hot cakes – which makes sense if you think about it.

Soon the pancake business was booming. Pancake houses, like Log Cabin Pancake House, were showing up all over the region. There are a few reasons pancake houses are so popular:

Read Also: Is the Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg worth it? Best 5 things to order

The Loaded Club Sandwich at Log Cabin Pancake House
You can find reasonably priced lunches, such as the Log Cabin’s Loaded Club, at the Log Cabin Pancake House (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

The prices

Breakfast food at a pancake house is typically low-overhead fare. How much does it cost to make an omelet, a stack of buttermilk pancakes and bacon?

Even the finest breakfast buffet in the world wouldn’t have the same expenses as a dinner place. That’s not to say it isn’t excellent food, but have you seen the recipe for biscuits n’ gravy? It’s not got any filet or lobster in it.

You can even do a nice lunch/brunch with a few burgers, sandwiches or maybe even a delicious lunch buffet without breaking the bank.

The preparation

There’s an art to the perfect French toast, the perfectly prepared egg. But I also think it’s easier to find people who can serve up a nice piece of country ham than it might be to find someone to make a more complicated dinner meal.

I want to be clear here, I’m not implying that making breakfast food is easy. On the contrary, it’s hard work that takes skill. I just think dinner preparation can be harder.

Relaxing in Rockers Log Cabin Pancake House
Breakfast with the family is a time-honored tradition (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

The hours of operation

While it stinks getting up with the chickens so you can cook their eggs, there’s something to be said for a place that closes for the day at 2 pm, does clean up and prep and has everybody home by 4 or 5 pm.

Typically restaurant work is hard on home life. It involves strange hours. You’re working while the spouse and kids are home from school or work. It’s stressful for the family.

Breakfast venues can offer somewhat family-friendly hours. I’m a night owl, but I can see the appeal of not having to work until midnight six days a week to provide for your family.

The tradition

When people think of the culinary traditions of the mountains, they think of breakfast restaurants. For farmers and others who worked hard in physical labor, breakfast was the meal that powered them through the day.

Biscuits, sausage, gravy and steaming black coffee were staples for which mountain folk – and rural folk in general – were known.

The taste

Who doesn’t like a pancake? Seriously, pancakes are delicious.

Read Also: Flapjacks Pancake Cabin review: Great pancakes, strange origin story

Log Cabin Menu and Table
The Log Cabin Pancake House menu offers a wide selection of breakfast favorites (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

Is the Log Cabin Pancake House worth it? 

Yeah. It is. The food is great, offering the taste of a traditional mountain breakfast or a variety of more mildly exotic breakfast fare. 

Although, I don’t reckon anybody’s great granny was out here making Parisienne pancakes or messing about with coconut, bananas and chocolate chips to keep the farm hands happy.

The restaurant is open daily from 7 am to 2 pm.

The parking is free beside and behind the building – which is a bigger deal in Gatlinburg than most guests might realize.

They don’t take reservations but don’t get scared off by a line. These are professionals. They get the people in, feed ‘em well and move them out.

Log Cabin's Pigs in a Blanket
Log Cabin’s Pigs in a Blanket has fluffy pancakes rolled around sausage, served with whipped margarine and hot syrup (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

What should I get at the Log Cabin Pancake House?

Pancakes are great, but I will allow the pancake’s close cousins – the waffle and the crepe – to be included in the larger answer.

I like a good bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich for breakfast and the Log Cabin Pancake House has a good one.

But let’s break this down with a quick ranking of the best items on the menu.

8. Hamburger Deluxe

Just when you thought you had all the answers, I went and changed the question. The thing is, I find a lot of the best burgers come from breakfast places. The cooks just know their way around the griddle.

Pure ground beef patty, lettuce, tomato, onion, melted cheese served on a buttered toasted bun with French fries?

Yes, sir. The deluxe comes with mayo on the burger – I will hold the mayo and add a pickle, but it’s your call.

7. Biscuits n’ Gravy

I don’t typically eat biscuits and gravy at restaurants. If I do, it’s usually as a side item.

To explain, I grew up spoiled in this particular area by my Nanny, who made perfect biscuits and gravy. There’s no real profit for restaurants to try to meet that standard.

It isn’t to say biscuits at the Log Cabin aren’t good. They’re fine. But there are other options on the menu that I like better.   

Biscuits, Bacon and Egg at Log Cabin Pancake House
Try a No Pancake Special if you are not in the mood for a pancake (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

6. No Pancakes Special

I love this. To illustrate, it reminds me of the Monty Python spam sketch where the restaurant serves Spam a hundred different ways and the “lady” keeps screaming “I don’t like SPAM.” I just picture Graham Chapman in a dress wandering around Gatlinburg trying to get breakfast without a single pancake in it.

The No Pancake Special comes with two eggs any style, sausage or strips of bacon, with gravy, grits or hash browns and toast or biscuits.

It’s perfect for when you go to a pancake cabin and absolutely, positively DO NOT want a pancake.

5. Waffles

It’s a strange world in which we live that we could be ranking breakfast foods and waffles come in at No. 5. Yet, here we are. Waffles are essentially crispier pancakes with little square traps for the butter and hot syrup.

The Log Cabin Pancake House offers a wide variety of waffles with various toppings including blackberries, blueberries, pecans, peaches, butterscotch and strawberries.

Log Cabin's Pancake Royale with Bananas
Pancake Royale is a delightful way to start any morning (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. Pancake Royale

Hot pancakes arrive with banana wedges and the house special “Royale Sauce” served with whipped margarine and hot syrup.

It’s delicious.

Peach Filled Crepes at Log Cabin Pancake House
Fruit filled crepes served with whipped topping make a hearty breakfast (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

3. Fruit Filled Crepes

I prefer my crepes savory. However, a good sweet crepe can be a thing of beauty as well.

Hot crepes are filled and topped with blueberries, peaches, cherries or orange pineapple and finished with powdered sugar and whipped topping. So good.

Log Cabin's French Toast Royale
The French Toast Royale is sweet and savory at Log Cabin Pancake House in Gatlinburg (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

2. French Toast

I like toast and I like France.

Choose from French Toast Royale, Spicy Apple or Continental. Are they good? Mais oui.

1. Caribbean Pancakes

Sliced bananas are cooked into the pancakes and topped with more banana wedges, nuts, coconut and powdered sugar. And they are also served with whipped margarine and hot syrup.

I’ve never been to the Caribbean. So I can’t vouch for the authenticity of these pancakes. I can, however, vouch for them being delicious.

Do you have a favorite menu item from Log Cabin Pancake House? Let us know in the comments.

Disclaimer: While we do our best to bring you the most up-to-date information, attractions or prices mentioned in this article may vary by season and are subject to change. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any mentioned business, and have not been reviewed or endorsed these entities. Contact us at [email protected] for questions or comments.

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