mels diner
October 17, 2022

Most people who visit the area want to grab a quick bite for lunch because it’s in between plans for the day. But where should you go to get delicious food that doesn’t cost a pretty penny? There are plenty of mouth-watering places to visit that are great for this meal of the day! Check out these 6 best restaurants in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge for lunch:

1. Tennessee Jed’s

tennessee jed's restaurant in gatlinburg

Tennessee Jed’s is a popular spot to grab a bite to eat in the middle of the day. They have all kinds of sandwiches, like a classic pulled pork, a reuben, and a spicy tofu for vegetarians and vegans! You’ll also find frito pie, which is frito chips covered in beef chili, and cheese, and you can also get it fully loaded with tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and sour cream. Their menu is simple, but the food is incredible!

2. Tom & Earl’s Back Alley Grill

One of the hidden best restaurants in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge you’ll want to try for lunch is Tom & Earl’s Back Alley Grill. You can share fried green tomatoes, chips and salsa, or chili cheese fries as an appetizer. As your main meal, you can’t go wrong with the chicken tenders, quesadillas, or a chicken or turkey wrap. There’s also burgers, barbecue sandwiches, bologna sandwiches, and more. Want a cocktail with your meal? Tom & Earl’s has a huge signature drink menu you don’t want to pass up!

3. New Orleans Sandwich Company


Do you love true cajun cookin’? Then you need to visit the New Orleans Sandwich Company. The owner is from Louisiana and all of the food at this restaurant is authentic. The house favorites include red beans and rice, gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish étouffée. There’s also every po’ boy you can think of, a cajun burger, and muffulettas. You’ll also find a kids menu with grilled cheese, hot dog, shrimp plate, and more.

4. Mel’s Diner

Another one of the best restaurants in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge you don’t want to miss out on for lunch is Mel’s Diner. This is a great place to go if you love themed restaurants, because it’s designed after a 1950s diner. The exterior and interior are covered in chrome, and there’s the classic red booths and stools, as well as a real working jukebox! The food at Mel’s is classic diner food, like meatloaf, liver and onions, chicken and dumplings, and much more. You also have to get a milkshake or a banana split while you’re here!

5. Blue Moose

blue moose restaurant in pigeon forge

Looking for a casual place to get lunch with a great burger? Then you have to go to Blue Moose. This eatery specializes in burgers and chicken wings, and there’s a huge selection of beer to pair with your meal. If you’re in the mood for a burger, you can always get a classic cheeseburger, but don’t miss out on trying a burger with grilled cheeses as the buns or topped with mac and cheese. Rather have chicken wings? Choose from sauces like sweet Thai garlic, sriracha ranch, or honey BBQ.

6. The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe

The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe is a fantastic option for lunch when you want southern food with a twist. The menu at this restaurant is inspired by bistros, and you will find quiche, shrimp and grits, catfish, praline pork chops, and a variety of sandwiches served on bread baked fresh every day in the bakery. You can even choose to sit outside on the patio for a unique experience!

Any of these best restaurants in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge are great for lunch. There’s a wide variety when it comes to types of cuisine, and you might just want to try all of them before you head home! So you have an idea of where you should eat, but do you know what you will do when you stay with us? Look through our Freedom Fun Pass to see what kinds of free attraction tickets you’ll receive when you book one of our cabin rentals!