Breakfast

8 absolute best breakfast restaurants in Gatlinburg, ranked

Rise and shine! It’s breakfast time in East Tennessee.

As you may have noticed, there are a ton of brunch and breakfast options in Gatlinburg. In fact, there are so many that it can be hard to choose between them all.

But never fear, we’re here to save the day – or at least your morning – with some made-from-scratch pancakes and other delicious breakfast treats.

We’ve taken on the difficult task of sampling all of the savory donuts, old-fashioned buttermilk pancakes and biscuits in the area – on your behalf of course – and used our findings to create this ranked list of breakfast restaurants in Gatlinburg.

It’s not an easy task to rank the best places to eat breakfast in Gatlinburg. Plus, the game is often changing competitors. For example, Ruby Sunshine, which once offered a modern take on New Orleans breakfast, has sadly closed its doors.

Fortunately, there are plenty of places left to get a delicious morning meal in the area. Here are some of our absolute favorite places to get breakfast in Gatlinburg:

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8. Timbers Log Cabin Restaurant

A cozy, quaint restaurant located on Glades Road in Gatlinburg, Timbers Log Cabin offers a welcoming atmosphere and delicious homecooked-style meals like your grandparents would make.

Coming in at number 8 is not a slight to the quality of food. The only downside is that the restaurant can be a little hard to visit with limited hours and a location that is a bit out of the way.

Currently, the restaurant is open Friday through Sunday. But if you are able to visit for breakfast, you won’t regret it.

The Atrium exterior in Gatlinburg
Make sure to try one of the Atrium pancakes, like their famous baked apple pancake (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

7. The Atrium Restaurant

The Atrium is a breakfast and lunch restaurant, open from 7:30 am to 2 pm Wednesday through Sunday in Gatlinburg.

Breakfast offers the usual variety with options like pancakes, bacon and French toast. You won’t go wrong with one of their classic Southern breakfast dishes, like the Mountain Man Platter with two eggs, two pancakes, homefries and ribeye.

But they are most well known for the Famous Apple Pancake, which has fresh baked apples and brown sugar served over apple syrup.

Of course, here you can also find grits, biscuits and gravy, country ham, omelets, benedict and more.

storefront of the smoky mountains creperie
The Smoky Mountain Creperie has a variety of sweet and savory crepes (photo by Bill Burris/TheSmokies.com)

6. Smoky Mountains Creperie

The Smoky Mountain Creperie is the perfect spot to satisfy your sweet breakfast craving.

They have an array of savory selections that feature items like a Nutella & Oreo, Hershey’s & Marshmallows and Peanut Butter & Jelly crepe.

But if you prefer a more hearty selection, they also offer a Ham, Cheese & Bacon crepe as well as one that has beef, cheese, peppers and onions.

It’s a great little spot located near the Space Needle in Gatlinburg near the main strip.

The Donut Friar with an eclair in front of the sign
The Donut Friar is a Gatlinburg institution specializing in donuts, pastries and delicious coffee (photo by Alaina O’Neal/TheSmokies.com)

5. The Donut Friar

We would be amiss to exclude the Donut Friar from this breakfast list. 

The place is Gatlinburg institution – punny name, coffee, éclairés and all.

The Donut Friar has been around since 1967 and is the last standing original shop in the entire Village Shops area.

This isn’t a sit-down kind of breakfast joint – it’s more like a grab-and-go glorified coffee and donut shop. But if you haven’t been to the Donut Friar at least once on your Smokies vacation to sample their world-famous cinnamon bread, did you really vacation in the Smokies?

But do be warned, this is a cash-only establishment so come prepared.

Read Also: Donut Friar Gatlinburg: How the punny donut shop became Smokies famous 

flapjack's pancake cabin on the strip in gatlinburg
Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin has six locations in Sevier County, serving up delicious breakfast classics (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

4. Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin

Flapjack’s has six locations in the Smokies – three of which are in Gatlinburg. The others are in Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Kodak.

They are known for their pancakes but also offer other standard-fare breakfast items like skillets, omelets, bacon, sausage and eggs.

We highly recommend trying the Spanish Skillet, the Sticky Bun Pancakes, the Chocolate Chip Pancakes or the Reese’s Peanut Butter Pancakes.

Does anyone in your family have gluten sensitivities? No problem, just ask your server about the gluten-free options. Actually, in our experience, they are very allergen-friendly.

Read Also: Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin review: Great pancakes, strange origin story

fruity crepes with whipped topping and sugar
Fruit-filled crepes served with a whipped topping make a hearty breakfast (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

3. Log Cabin Pancake House

It’s not uncommon to see a line when you pull up to the Log Cabin Pancake House.

But don’t let it deter you. The line moves quickly and the wait will be worth it.

The Log Cabin Pancake House serves breakfast in downtown Gatlinburg.

Their menu features a variety of dishes including specialty pancakes (we recommend the butterscotch chip), French crepes, waffles, omelets, breakfast platters (like country ham and biscuits) as well as standard lunch fare (like hamburgers and corndogs).

They also know how to make a delicious breakfast sandwich.

As an added bonus, the parking is free – which is a bigger deal in Gatlinburg than most guests might realize.

The service has been consistently good, and the food is always delicious and hearty.

The restaurant is open every day from 7 am until 2 pm.

The Elk Mountain grande burrito
Crockett’s is known for their thick pancakes, but they have a wide selection of breakfast items like The Elk Mountain Grande Burrito (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

2. Crockett’s Breakfast Camp

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is famous for its cabin-chic atmosphere, hearty breakfasts, ultra-thick griddle cakes and fried cinnamon rolls.

But really, you can’t go wrong at Crockett’s. Everything is excellent.

If you like a little spice with your meal, we recommend the Elk Mountain Grande Burrito featuring three eggs, chorizo, machaca, pico de gallo and jalapeño peppers or the Huevos Rancheros with a side of hot sauce.

Fun fact: Crockett’s is owned by the KBS Restaurant family who also owns and operates other local hot spots including The Greenbrier Restaurant, Holston’s and J.T. Hannah’s.

pancakes at the pancake pantry
Pictured above are the Caribbean Pancakes, Chocolate Chip Pancakes and a side of bacon (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

1. The Pancake Pantry

And then we have Tennessee’s first pancake house – The Pancake Pantry – adored by locals and visitors alike.

The Pancake Pantry is housed in the Village Shops near the aforementioned Donut Friar.

The pancakes of this pancake house are a big business in Sevier County.

You can hardly sling an animatronic chicken without hitting a place that serves pancakes. But the Pancake Pantry is not only the best, but it’s also the first.

It’s not at all unusual to see people lined up outside around the block waiting to get into this popular pancake palace.

The menu includes a wide assortment of pancakes, crepes, waffles, blintzes and French toast served with whipped butter and maple syrup.

The traditional breakfast foods, eggs, sausage, bacon and omelets are all prepared with the skill and knowledge acquired from over 60 years in the business. This ain’t no fly-by-night operation, this is pancake royalty.

Not sure what to try first? We strongly suggest trying the Wild Blueberry Pancakes or the Caribbean Pancakes. 

Their pancake plates are served with real butter and freshly whipped cream.

And you’ll never have to worry about leaving the Pancake Pantry hungry – each pancake dish arrives with five full-sized cakes per plate. 

Read Also: Tennessee’s first: Pancake Pantry holds the key to local hotcake obsession

What is your vote for the best breakfast places in the area? Let us know in the comments!

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp in Gatlinburg review: Is it worth it?

We are here, friends, to discuss the art of a finely prepared mountain breakfast. 

But before we can discuss hen fruit and catheads (more on that later), there’s a bit of chicanery afoot that must be addressed.

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is a magnificent mecca of mountain breakfast.

But it is playing a bit fast and loose with one of East Tennessee’s folk heroes, attracting the attention of the tourist trade with a famous name.

But the fact is that the Crockett in question is not folklore legend Davy Crockett, king of the wild frontier. It’s not even one of his cousins.

In fact, we have no evidence that Davy ever even enjoyed signature corned beef hash breakfast or fried cinnamon rolls. 

David Crockett Maples, a Tennessean who fought for the Union in the Civil War, opened a supply store when he returned from the war. It was located at the base of Mt. LeConte, where he and his wife, Mary (Ogle) Crockett earned a reputation for serving a hearty breakfast.

The interior of Crockett's Breakfast Camp
The interior of Crockett’s Breakfast Camp has many references to the area’s history (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Mr. Maples eventually lost his legs to frostbite while serving as a guide – no word on what happened to the guy he was guiding.

Undeterred, Maples created wooden feet to put in his boots, strapped them to his legs and went on walking around with the help of a pair of canes until 1928 when he passed away at the age of 88. 

Maples is more than deserving of having a Gatlinburg breakfast establishment named after him. But Maples Breakfast Camp apparently doesn’t have the same ring. 

It’s like opening a huge restaurant in Pigeon Forge called Dolly’s and having it dedicated to former Dolly Pentreath, the last known native speaker of the Cornish language who passed away in 1777.

Editor’s Note: I was going with Dolley Madison here, but she spelled it funky and ruined the joke. 

The Eggs Benedict at Crockett's Breakfast Camp
The White Oak Flats Eggs Benedict at Crockett’s Breakfast Camp has a toasted English muffin with ham, homemade hollandaise and two over-easy eggs (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

When did Crockett’s Breakfast Camp open?

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp has been one of the area’s top breakfast spots since 2014, where it continues to honor the lesser-known, yet impressive Crockett.

Still, if you can get past the name thing, Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is a place of wonder.

Who owns Crockett’s Breakfast Camp?

Part of the KBS Restaurant family, which also owns The Greenbrier, Holston’s, J.T. Hannah’s and more, Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is a holy place for those who believe – in their soul – that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. 

If aliens came to Earth and asked what breakfast is, bring them here.

First of all, because it is so good, but secondly because once they eat it, they’ll be so sluggish they will immediately need a nap and we can apprehend them before they have a chance to start messing with major cities. 

Pancakes at Crockett's
Crockett’s is well-known for its delicious, thick griddle cakes. Pictured: Aretha Frankenstein’s Pancakes with chocolate chips, strawberries and whipped cream (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Crockett’s Breakfast Camp menu

I love everything about Crockett’s Breakfast Camp.

They call the eggs “hen fruit.” The griddle cakes, French toast and waffles are enticing. I love that their cathead biscuits live up to the billing.

The Elk Mountain Grande Burrito features 3 eggs, chorizo, machaca, pico de gallo and jalapeños, just like old David Crockett Maples and his wife Mary Ogle made back in 1875. 

In fact, they serve thick Aretha Frankenstein’s Pancakes with no explanation whatsoever. Just here ya go, Aretha Frankenstein! As if everybody knows about the “famous” pancake mix from the restaurant on Tremont Street in Chattanooga. 

Also on the menu is the Signature Corned Beef Hash Benedict with diced onions, peppers and herbs.

Try the pan-fried pork chops. Or perhaps the Huevos Rancheros served with refried beans and rice. Build your own biscuit with the Cathead Stacker. There is something for everyone.

The Elk Mountain grande burrito
The Elk Mountain Grande Burrito comes with Hunt Camp Potatoes (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

For those with a big appetite, try the Black Bear Camp Skillet featuring country or sugar-cured ham and pecan smoked bacon. It is served with Cherokee sweet corn pone and more. Or try the Postmasters Favorite featuring country fried steak and homestyle sausage gravy.

Huge portions and the best breakfast can be found at Crocketts.

In addition, the location right at the top of the strip before you get out of Gatlinburg into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, can’t be beat.

Going hiking? Great. Stop off for a hearty breakfast then turn around and go back to your hotel for a nice nap while you recover.

For the full menu, click here.

Read Also: Frizzle Chicken Review: Go for the pancakes, stay for the singing chickens

Does Crockett’s Breakfast Camp have parking?

We should note that with a location on the strip, parking can be an issue.

The restaurant does have a few free parking spots on-site, but there’s a paid lot nearby which is good because you’re not going to feel like walking very far. 

Read Also: Parking in Gatlinburg: Prices, maps and free parking tips

David Crockett Maples statue
There’s a wooden statue of David Crockett Maples outside the restaurant (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

Is Crockett’s Breakfast Camp worth it?

Ultimately, there are a lot of places in the Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge area vying for your breakfast dollar. And of course, many of them are very, very good.

So, how many of them should you drive past to try Crockett’s?

It’s hard to say. I’m not sure I’d make the trek from Sevierville or Pigeon Forge only to eat at Crockett’s.

In fact, if I had my choice in Gatlinburg I’d go to the Pancake Pantry first. But neither of those things are a slight to Crockett’s in any way.

Read Also: Who has the best pancakes in Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg?

It’s a fantastic place to get breakfast and start your day in Gatlinburg.

It’s certainly worth your time and money. And, hey, they’ve got a wooden statue of the namesake, which given his feet is somehow extremely appropriate but also a little disrespectful at the same time. 

Where is Crockett’s Breakfast Camp?

Open seven days a week from 7 am-1 pm, Crockett’s Breakfast Camp is located at 1103 Parkway in Gatlinburg.

Hours are subject to change, so always double-check ahead of time before you make your plans.

Do you have a favorite breakfast restaurant in Gatlinburg? Let us know in the comments.