A Smoky Mountain native offers her opinion on local restaurant darling: The Peddler
The Peddler in Gatlinburg is a local favorite. And there’s no doubt it has delicious food and a unique ambiance. Plus, its location in downtown Gatlinburg couldn’t be more convenient. Ok, I guess it could be more convenient if the parking lot was larger, but I digress (more on that later). But is The Peddler the best restaurant in Gatlinburg? Here’s my analysis.
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The Peddler ambiance
Parking is available, but the lot is small and it fills up fast (this is my biggest complaint about the location). Arrive early or consider parking in one of the nearby pay lots.
If you’re looking for a unique ambiance, few restaurants in town deliver quite like The Peddler. It’s steeped in history. It was originally 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 part of the main dining room.
It’s also serene and might I say, even a bit romantic. Some tables (both inside and outside) look out over a stream. The relaxing sounds of the water gently gliding over the stones mask any Gatlinburg Parkway noise. The service is extraordinary with waiters and waitresses who will go out of their way to make a birthday or an engagement memorable.
The Peddler food & menu
The Peddler, is of course, best known for its steaks. Steaks here are cooked to perfection, from rare to well done. Yes, even well done is done well here. I have a friend who 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 but I normally stick to the steaks. For the sides, I recommend the baked stuffed potato or the fresh button mushrooms.
But the real unsung hero of the meal is the salad bar which is included with the purchase of every entree (or for a $19 fee if ordered al la carte). Very few restaurants do salad bars justice. But the Peddler does. The salad ingredients are varied and fresh. Create your own Cobb salad or just load up your plate with your favorites. My favorite dessert is Kristi’s Chocolate Cake, made of hot cake, vanilla ice cream and fudge. They also make a solid cheesecake and cobbler. You can view the full menu here.
The Peddler pros
The pros are obvious. The aforementioned unique (and historical) ambiance, convenient location and romantic atmosphere. The food is also solid and, in my opinion, affordably priced for a higher-end steakhouse. Steaks range between $34-$57 depending on the cut and size. Fish and chicken entrees range between $29-$34. Desserts start at $8. And don’t forget – entree prices include a free salad bar – a rarity for this breed of restaurant.
The Peddler cons
Alas, no restaurant is perfect. My only complaint about The Peddler is their lack of parking. To be clear, there is a parking lot on site (unlike many other downtown restaurants) but it’s a tiny lot, so you can’t count on a spot being available. I recommend arriving very early or just walking from downtown. Also, you’ll want to plan ahead. Walk-ins are first come, first served and based on availability. So as always, make a reservation through Resy or the website, up to two weeks in advance. The Peddler didn’t use to accept reservations but added them this year as an option to help mitigate crowd issues. Thanks Peddler!
My final verdict on The Peddler
Overall, I love The Peddler. But I will admit, and others will disagree with me on this, I think it’s the second-best steak in Gatlinburg. Who has the best steak in town? That accolade, in my opinion, belongs to The Greenbrier. But I do think The Peddler has the best steaks in downtown Gatlinburg. And here’s a pro tip if you’re having trouble getting into this incredibly popular restaurant – just call The Park Grill a few blocks away. It’s The Peddler’s sister restaurant. The Park Grill features a very similar menu including the salad bar and that delectable aforementioned chocolate cake (one of my favorite desserts in all of the Smokies). It’s usually less crowded, has a larger dining area, and has a larger parking lot to accommodate hungry guests.
The Peddler Steakhouse is located at 820 River Road, Gatlinburg TN near downtown Gatlinburg.
Have you been to The Peddler? Where’s your favorite place for a romantic meal near the Great Smoky Mountains? Let us know in the comments!