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Treat your valentine with a trip to one of Tennessee’s most acclaimed upscale steakhouses. Delicious food, unique ambiance and its location make this the “go to” place for romance.
The Peddler building began in a cabin built by the Ogles, a legendary East Tennessee family whose name is attached to many meaningful locations in and around the Smokies. The original century-old walls and carefully placed stones set the stage for your dining experience. The façade of the original cabin is actually part of the main dining room. Some tables (inside and outside) look out over a stream. The relaxing sounds of the water gently gliding over the stones mask any Gatlinburg noise. The service is extraordinary with waiters and waitresses who will go out of their way to make a birthday or an engagement memorable. And any night becomes special with the purchase of a rose, or a violin serenade at your table.
Now, I’ll move to the real stars at the Peddler: the steaks. Steaks are cut tableside by the butcher and cooked to perfection, from rare to well done. Yes, even well done is done well here. My dining partner prefers his steaks this way. He only orders well-done at the Peddler, though, as most restaurants overcook theirs, his steaks arrive with no pink, yet still moist and tender. Chopped sirloin is not an option here, but you’ll find lean cuts – New York strip, rib eye, filet mignon and prime rib.
The Peddler also serves seafood and chicken. I once got a steak and shrimp combo, but I usually stick to the steak.
Very few restaurants do salad bars justice, but the Peddler does. People talk about the salad almost as much as the steak. Why? The ingredients are varied and fresh. Create your own Cobb salad or just load up your plate with your favorites. On this particular night, I topped a plate of fresh greens with baked oysters.
For the sides, I recommend the sweet potato casserole or the blackened button mushrooms. My favorite dessert is the peanut butter mud pie, made of peanut butter and chocolate ice cream covered by sauce. They also have chocolate cake, blondies, cheesecake and cobbler.
The Peddler does not have a bar but does have an excellent wine list. You can bring your own bottle for a $10 corkage fee. Honestly, I can think of no better place to break open that 1960 Bordeaux that you have been saving for a special occasion.
Alas, no restaurant is perfect and I wish some things could be changed about the Peddler. My biggest complaint is that this very popular restaurant does not take reservations. You can call an hour before the restaurant opens (at 5 p.m.) to be put on the waiting list. Generally speaking, the later you go, the longer you will have to wait. You can also cut your wait time (but also some of the romance), but request the first available table as opposed to a table with a view.
Finally, good steaks are not cheap. Plan on spending about $40 per adult for your dinner. Children under 12 can choose several options, such as chicken tenders, at $1/year of age.
The Peddler is located at 820 River Road, just a block from Gatlinburg’s downtown. Parking is available, but it fills up fast. Consider parking in one of the nearby pay lots. Download a menu including prices here. For call ahead seating, the phone number is 865-436-5795.
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