The Peddler: An Honest Review of Gatlinburg’s Famous Steakhouse (2024)

the peddler restaurant with a steak

Our biggest tip for dining at The Peddler? Make a reservation (photos by Daniel Munson & Greg Akens/TheSmokies.com)

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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a table in the back of the restaurant overlooking a stream with large windows
The tables in the back of the restaurant overlook a stream (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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.

a steak and baked potato at the peddler
This restaurant knows how to prepare a quality steak (photo by Greg Akens/TheSmokies.com)

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 salad bar at the peddler
Peddler pro-tip: Every entree comes with a free salad bar (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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.

shrimp and rice
The Peddler also features chicken and seafood entrees. Pictured: Shrimp and rice (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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!

kristi's chocolate cake
Kristi’s Chocolate Cake at The Peddler is my favorite dessert in all the Smokies (photo by Morgan Overholt/TheSmokies.com)

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!

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

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7 thoughts on “The Peddler: An Honest Review of Gatlinburg’s Famous Steakhouse (2024)”

  1. We came to the Peddler for our wedding night dinner. It was the most amazing experience we have ever had out eating. Service was beyond any of our expectations, quality of food was excellent. I have never given a 50% tip but your service deserved it, they were that good. Jeremiah Joyce, Rachel Perry, and Kristan Coggins were the only names I received but, I can sum it up in one word, AMAZING, we will see you next year for our anniversary. That meal make the perfect end to our wedding. Thank you again, Jim & Cindy Frasure.

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  2. We have been going to the Peddler in Gatlinburg since our 25th anniversary and we were there this anniversary on the 24 of September 2021. The young man where we were to sign in for some reason placed us way down the line . We were wanting to eat dinner and then travel back home 3 hours away. We had been on vacation over a week. We were there at 3:45 and waited to sign in and so we were 3rd to sign in. We were not called so my husband told the man we were 3rd in line He very rudely said “no you weren’t”. He needs to be taken off the front desk. He never looked at a customer just kept his head down and then was reuse to people in my opinion. I guess somebody licked all the red off his candy.

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  3. We had the pleasure to visit The Peddler of Gatlinburg last year on vacation. By far the best meal of our vacation. The food, the service were impectable.

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  4. My husband and I had our first date at the Peddler over 25 years ago. It made that occasion as wonderful as I could have ever ask for. The Peddler has always been my favorite place in Gatlinburg to eat as a local resident. Over the last year I have to say I have been disappointed at the ability to even be able to get a reservation. No matter when you call it is always at least a four hour wait to be able to get a reservation. Living here year-round, it is causing locals to chose just other as wonderful places to dine. They are losing local customers but their loss is others gain.

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  5. When I was growing up in Knoxville in the 70’s 80’s, The Peddler along with the Open Hearth or Burning Bush were considered top notch. We began a family tradition in the early 2000’s of taking our children to Gatlinburg at Christmas each year for the winter light festival. The kids absolutely loved the Park Grill with its abundant salad bar, lady coming around with long stem roses, festive decor and the beautiful baby grand piano with Christmas music flowing freely. Through the years, the baby grand went away, the holiday decor diminished, and the food quality followed. Looking for a change, we took them to The Peddler one year after recounting some great experiences there from the 80’s. It was overpriced and underwhelming. Then we discovered the newly renovated Greenbrier and haven’t looked back. If you want fine dining in the Smokies, it’s either Greenbrier or Dancing Bear in Townsend. Period. One other lovely option was the restaurant at the Inn at Buckberry Creek which sadly met its demise in the wildfires of 2016.

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