We didn’t set out to go to Tennessee Jed’s for a late lunch on our latest Gatlinburg trip.
As we walked around Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies, we discussed our dining options. The Pancake Pantry was mentioned as was the Hofbrauhaus Restaurant in The Village.
And then – because I can never resist the siren song of a great sandwich – we settled on Tennessee Jed’s.
And it was nice because I spent the rest of the time in the aquarium with one of my favorite songs running through my head, including – possibly – my favorite couplet in rock history.
“I dropped four flights and cracked my spine. Honey come quick with the iodine.”
And then the world’s greatest chorus penned by Robert Hunter.
“Tennessee, Tennessee. There ain’t no place I’d rather be.”
Where is Tennessee Jed’s?
Located in Baskin Square right in the heart of Gatlinburg, Tennessee Jed’s is a breakfast, coffee and craft sandwich joint that offers some of the best eating that Gatlinburg has to offer from 8 am to 3:30 pm. Remember, hours may vary.
Want some more good news? Soon there will be two Tennessee Jed’s locations.
A second Tennessee Jed’s location in Gatlinburg
While we were there, we learned Tennessee Jed’s is opening a new location, set to open later this month.
According to the people we spoke with, it will be the same concept, same menu and will feature more outdoor seating and less indoor seating – which the current location doesn’t exactly have a lot of.
It will be on Highway 321 in Winery Square – across from the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum.
It’s good news, because Tennessee Jed’s might just be my new favorite restaurant.
Located on the second floor, the outdoor dining offers a decent view of the main drag for some people watching.
While we ate, the music was soft reggae, but it still fits with the overall vibe of the place.
The menu is on a giant, colorful chalkboard as you walk in and there aren’t more than two dozen seats available inside the place. I wouldn’t say it’s a great atmosphere, but it’s chill. And all in all, it was a wonderful experience.
What is on the breakfast menu?
Coffee. Beautiful, fresh-brewed coffee.
The breakfast sandwiches – Sausage, Egg and Cheese; Bacon, Egg and Cheese; Ham, Egg and Cheese – sound like pretty basic American breakfast staples. However, when you know how to cook them – and they do at Tennessee Jed’s – those staples transcend to a higher plane.
They also have a quiche of the day as well as blueberry muffins and cinnamon walnut streusel muffins that pair well with the coffee. If you want to indulge yourself, try the Brown Butter Mini Cake – sprinkled with powdered sugar. It’s divine.
On Fridays and Saturdays, they also offer a Biscuit and Gravy, featuring sausage gravy.
The “Platinum Label” sandwiches include a breakfast BLT, a Ham-N-Swiss and the Big Meat Breakfast, which includes a sausage patty, ham, bacon, egg and cheese on a toasted bun. It may be the perfect breakfast sandwich.
Sounds good. What’s for lunch?
I went with the Cubano, which has pulled Cuban pork, Virginia ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on a toasted bun.
It’s a classically great sandwich. The pulled pork was done perfectly. I ordered the Creamy Potato Salad as a side and it was among the best I’ve ever had.
What’s the best thing to order?
I believe the Rueben to be the best sandwich on the menu.
It’s a fact confirmed by the staff when a lady came in to pick up her order and received compliments on her exquisite choice. I’m a Rueben guy, braised corn beef, Swiss cheese, kraut and Thousand Island dressing on toasted marble rye. It’s a work of art.
I was tempted by the BLT. The Classic BBQ is also a popular choice. There’s a Turkey Bacon Ranch sandwich and a Smoked Chicken Salad that each sounds inviting.
The Ham-N-Swiss sounds simple, but when it’s perfectly prepared, it is delicious.
I’ve never had the Spicy Tofu, but it is available as a vegetarian option.
The menu also has a variety of hot dogs.
My wife has had the Classic Chili Dog and I’ve had the Kraut Dog in the past. Important note, these are Nathan’s all-beef dogs. Great for any occasion unless your son is allergic to beef – which mine is. I do wish they had a pork variety available, but alas, most restaurants only do the all-beef.
My teenager, Sofia, ordered the Chef Salad with turkey and her choice of dressing. She said it was great.
The kid’s menu includes an expertly made Grilled Cheese – which if you’ve watched the Jon Favreau movie “Chef” you know is quite a thing. There are also kid’s dogs and a BBQ sandwich.
My son, who has multiple food allergies that cause him to break out in hives and a very cautious palette, struggled to find something he’d eat on the menu. So we stopped by the snack stand at the aquarium and let him eat before we headed to our late lunch.
There’s no reason he couldn’t have had something like the BBQ sandwich or a salad, but he’s picky – I think it’s a bit of a defense mechanism.
What else can you get on Tennessee Jed’s menu?
You can also get a Classic Frito Pie, which I grew up calling a Grand Slam. Basically, it’s chili over Fritos. It’s fantastic.
They have seasonal soups – when we were there it was tomato bisque. Other side options include fresh fruit, slaw and baked beans.
For desserts, you’ve got the muffins, the butter cake and whatever pie specials they might have that day.
Tennessee Jed’s roasts all of its meats daily and makes those meats available by the pound.
The prices – when we were there – included $22 per pound for the corned beef, $14 per pound for the turkey and $12 each per pound of the ham and the pulled pork. It’s all delicious and completely worth it.
Look, there are a lot of great places to eat in Gatlinburg. In fact, I could throw a football from Tennessee Jed’s balcony and hit a couple of them. But Jed’s stands out from the crowd. For what they do, they’re among the best restaurants around.
I know you don’t want a sandwich or a hot dog every meal. But when you do, I don’t think you’ll find a better place in Gatlinburg than Tennessee Jed’s.
Honestly? There ain’t no place I’d rather be.
Have you eaten at Tennessee Jed’s? What did you think? Let us know in the comments.