The Old Mill: An Honest Review of the Famous Tennessee Restaurant (2024)

old mill with fried chicken

The Old Mill Restaurant is one of the most historic places you can eat in Pigeon Forge (photos by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Smoky Mountain native reviews popular Pigeon Forge restaurant

I think The Old Mill Restaurant in Pigeon Forge is an experience unlike many of its neighboring eateries. As a Southerner, I appreciate that diners can get a home-cooked meal, all done without the commercialism of some national chains that claim to offer home cooking.

The Old Mill Restaurant is located in the historic Old Mill Square in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. It’s a popular restaurant with both tourists and locals with notoriously long wait times. One of the best things to order from The Old Mill restaurant is the Chicken and Dumplings. Their Southern Fried Chicken is also delicious and highly recommended. The restaurant does not take reservations, but free parking is available nearby.

I also enjoy the history of The Old Mill itself. It began nearly 200 years ago with local farmers and a gristmill along the Little Pigeon River. Early settlers to the area built the Lewis Mill in 1830 to grind corn. The historic Old Mill took its name in 1952, according to The Old Mill website. The restaurant began as the Cornflour Restaurant and got its name because they were using products ground at the mill. Today, additional eateries around Old Mill Square include the Pottery House Cafe, Old Mill Creamery, Old Mill Candy Kitchen and Old Forge Distillery.

fried chicken from the old mill restaurant with green beans in pigeon forge
The Southern Fried Chicken was seasoned and fried to perfection (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

What is the best thing to order at The Old Mill Restaurant?

I say you can never go wrong with breakfast, which is served until 11 am. I recommend The Old Mill Country Breakfast, which has everything you could hope for in a good morning feast: Eggs, pancakes, corn grits, biscuits, potatoes and sausage gravy. Of course, they also offer omelets, pancakes, French toast or lighter options that include oatmeal, fruit or vegetable quiche.

Most of the time though, I order The Old Mill Chicken and Dumplings for dinner, or the Southern Fried Chicken. While dishes like the Homemade Meatloaf, Deep South Chicken Pot Pie and BBQ Country Ribs are also note-worthy, the Chicken and Dumplings are the Beef Wellington of Southern Appalachian cooking. If you are meeting your in-laws, you serve this. Chicken and dumplings are typically made with small chunks of chicken cooked in broth with homemade bread, usually made from biscuit dough. Most cooks roll the biscuit dough into small flattened balls. The Old Mill is one of the few places that can do this dish right. I’m not ready to say The Old Mill has topped my grandma’s recipe, but it’s close. And the good news is, generous portions are offered with the dinner entrees. You can view the full menu here.

old mill chicken and dumplings
The Chicken and Dumplings are some of the most authentic Southern meals we’ve had in the area (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Most dinner entrees include a cup of the signature corn chowder, corn fritters, a house side salad, mashed potatoes, green beans and a bakery fresh dessert. Of course, a children’s menu is also available so junior can eat the usual hamburger or chicken tenders. If you have room left in your belly, definitely opt for the homemade dessert. Selections will vary, but the pecan pie is one of the most popular options at the restaurant.

bread basket and sweet tea from the old mill restaurant
Meals at The Old Mill are served with a bread basket (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Is The Old Mill Restaurant worth it?

Are you in the mood for traditional Southern cuisine, an authentic experience and great service? Yes, The Old Mill Restaurant is “worth it”. And honestly, it’s some of the best food I’ve ever had at a Pigeon Forge restaurant. It might just be the best restaurant in Pigeon Forge.

old mill restaurant in pigeon forge with parking in front
The Old Mill Restaurant is one of the more historic places to eat in the area (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Do you need reservations for The Old Mill?

No. In fact, The Old Mill Restaurant does not take reservations. Both The Old Mill Restaurant and the nearby Pottery House are first come, first served. Because of this, I’ve seen some long wait times for either restaurant. But even with the long wait times, I find that both tourists and locals absolutely love it. If you plan to come in the busy season, which can be between mid-summer around May through August, or around the holidays in November or December, brace yourself for a wait. I took some out-of-town visitors to the restaurant at noon on a Saturday recently, and we waited for nearly an hour. Arriving at a more off-peak time whenever possible can help keep the kids calm and avoid unnecessary hanger.

patriot park transit center in pigeon forge
The hub for the trolley system is within walking distance to The Old Mill Restaurant (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Does The Old Mill Restaurant have parking?

Yes! One of the added bonuses of dining at The Old Mill is that you have free parking available. Guests can park in front of either restaurant. There’s additional parking near The Old Mill in Patriot Park. And if you’re riding the trolley, the main hub for the Pigeon Forge Trolley System is right down the sidewalk nearby. The Old Mill Restaurant is located at Red Light 7. If you’re coming from Sevierville, you’ll turn left. If you’re coming from Gatlinburg, you’ll turn right. For your GPS, the address is 3341 Old Mill Street, Pigeon Forge TN. 

Have you been to The Old Mill Restaurant? Where do you like to eat in the Smoky Mountains? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a question or comment about something in this article? Contact our staff here. You may also contact our editorial team at info@thesmokies.com.

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25 thoughts on “The Old Mill: An Honest Review of the Famous Tennessee Restaurant (2024)”

  1. The Old Mill is a must every trip! Love the food and atmosphere just beautiful. Love the pecan pie always a to go a such a wonderful meal. Corn chowder and corn fritters and maple butter start your fantastic meal.

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    • We love the old mill restaurant and we go there quite often when we are able. We live down here and usually know when things aren’t as busy. My husband loves the steak and I like the angus chopped steak.

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  2. A great way to kill an hour while waiting is trying the Moonshine tasting next door. It’s free and better than standing next to a bunch of people cranky about waiting for a table.

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  3. We eat at the old mill every trip which is twice a year in October and February, also like ve the soup and sandwich shop across the street

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  4. We eat at the old mill everytime we are in pigeon forge the food is great yes sometimes you have to wait but it’s worth it

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  5. We love it! That place is outrageous. I am vegetarian but the rest of the family is not. We always leave with doggie bags cause we cant finish it all! I understand they offer Thanksgiving dinner on the Holiday. Whoo hoo!

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  6. We have gone to Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge every year for over 15 years – The Old Mill is a great place to go but (over the years) during peak season it is definitely not worth the wait for lunch/dinner – have been disappointed the last 2 years after waiting 45 minutes to 1 hour – definitely do NOT recommend their fish plate!! Only a tourist stop for certain- will no longer go back in the future

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  7. The best restaurant in this area in my opinion. They have such a wonderful variety of foods, all cooked to perfection! The wait staff is absolutely incredible; spoiling you rotten! I am a local and eat here every chance I get!

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  8. We ate there in October and both got sick. I had the roast beef and my husband had the pork Chops. Was very disappointed 😞 wouldn’t go again.

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  9. We live in Kodak.we moved here 15 years ago and it is still a favorite and one I always recommend to anyone who ask.always need doggie bags.we always leave happy.100% in both food and service.

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  10. Although service was fast, I found that the corn chowder, green beans, and mashed potatoes were so full of black pepper they were not good. Those items don’t need black pepper. I left so disappointed.

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  11. We always eat breakfast there, as far as we are concerned it is the best place for breakfast. We haven’t tried lunch or dinner, we keep saying we are going to!!

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    • We’ve eaten at the Old Meal for many years, many times a year. Love all the food and always plenty.
      Corn chowder is so good.
      Service has also always been good.
      This year we also ate breakfast and were thrilled. So it will be a part of our visits.

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  12. It’s a family tradition,We love it .Every time we are in Tennessee that’s were we eat , have family in middle Tennessee drives 2 hour to meet and eat together. The food is fantastic. Try to eat there at least 2 times per year
    Spring and Christmas.
    .

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  13. We love to eat here! Hospitality is first rate as well as the food. We have changed our route from North Carolina to Indiana to stop for the night in Pigeon Forge just to get a bite at The Old Mill.

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  14. We are locals. We eat here once or twice a year. There are just so many options. It’s GOOD, but as a local, we like to eat everywhere LOL. There are so many that are really good. Old Mill is Good though.

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  15. I’ve been to The Old Mill several times and I was not impressed at all. The food is decent but not that great. It seems like an imitation of southern cooking instead of being authentic. The flavors are close but not quite the real thing.
    Every visit they seemed to rush through the meal and it gave us the feeling they wanted us in and out fast. It was very cold outside and no warm waiting area. While we waited we were not allowed to enter the areas that were heated.
    Three strikes and you’re out so we won’t go back

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  16. Absolutely our must do for the first morning we are here! We come several times a year and Old Mill is our favorite! We always buy the best jelly ever, the Triple Berry! When we run out it is our excuse to come back!! Lol!!

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  17. If you leave the Old Mill Restaurant hungry, something is wrong. Best breakfast anywhere. My family has being going for years. I shall return.

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