Dining In the Smokies Year 1 Of 2012

While my daughter is still 17 months old I figured I’ll start a small dining & probably a separate shopping post each year that we visit. So here we go…

The month of September we visited Pigeon Forge with Kaylee for the first time. It’s been YEARS, like 25?, since my wife and I have been here and never together. Our visit brought us here through her work and we had a extra day to venture out on our own and explore. As a side note I will say if you pass through Dayton TN do not stop and eat if you plan on being thirsty. We decided to grab lunch at Arby’s and it wasn’t very good. To make matters worse the Sweet tea tasted like sewage. We decided to stop off at McDonald’s just up the road and grab something different to drink but to our surprise it tasted just like sewage as well. Needless to say we didn’t stop again till arriving at Pigeon Forge.

While at Pigeon Forge we checked all the local guides for places to eat. We decided to stay in at the hotel, Music Road Inn, and order from somewhere that delivered. We chose The Cheese Steak Factory which delivers until 3am. For (1) 12in cheese steak sandwich, regular curly fries, 2 litter diet dr. pepper and a kids grilled cheese w. chips our total ran $22 and some change. A little much in my opinion. The Cheese Steak we ordered was The Sweet Pepper which consisted of sweet peppers, steak and cheese. I must say it didn’t “look” like I had hoped and instead reminded me of that BBQ you get out of a can. A friend had told me about this place and said the cheese was so thick you could really tell it was on there. For us I ordered extra cheese and never saw the first piece but you could tell it was somewhat melted in with the meat. The food was however tasty and I would order from there again if the option arrived. It just seemed weird to me but maybe that’s the way all cheese steaks are.

The next day we visited Carino’s Italian restaurant for lunch. There were only a handful of guests. The waitress who was very nice informed us about the soups and the all you can eat bar. My wife took a peek and said she wasn’t interested and that I wouldn’t be either so we both ordered off the menu. My wife had the Baked Cheese Tortellini which was outstanding. I had the Spicy Chicken & Shrimp Penni Pasta which I nearly made myself sick eating because of how tasty it was. Our little one had Pizza Dippers and seemed to enjoy it. While you wait they also bring out bread in a sack and a olive oil dipping plate consisting of dried roasted garlic it appeared. The bread was very tasty along with the 2 Caesar salads we ordered. All together our total including a $7 tip ran us $44 and some change. I would not hesitate to go back to Carino’s and eat on our next visit. Even though we blew almost $50 on lunch it was well worth it and that seems to be the normal here in Pigeon Forge unless you do fast food.

For dinner we decided on a place just across the street from the hotel called Wood Grill Buffet. Getting into the place made me feel like cattle being led to slaughter. You have to zigzag from one door to the next and around ropes, wood rails, until you finally make it to an attendant who in our case was no where to be found. Finally she showed up and started telling us about how well she knows math…. then another lady seated us. While walking through the restaurant it was quite and weird at the same time. The place was packed and about 90% of the customers were probably 70 years of age or more. After being seated they took our drink order and off we went to the buffet bar. Everything and I do mean EVERYTHING looks like it was cooked from frozen. We sampled a variety of food which consisted of squished rolls, stuffed crab that was cold, a crab cake which was also very cold, white fish pieces that are as expected, cold, a broccoli casserole that I about spit out, some kind of left over bones with very little meat, a potato that I can only assume was cooked 3 days before and shrimp with huge “crap” veins in them. Needless to say we ate and got the hell out of there. I hate to be rude but that place looks like a million bucks on the outside and the food was no where near the $38 it coast for 2 people with a $5 tip. We will not go back. To make matters worse they have a BOOTH setup with some guy at the exit doors trying to sell you time shares.

Our last day of eating out consisted of only dinner as for lunch we ordered Papa John’s and had it delivered to the room. We decided to try Huck Finn’s as it was very busy the night before when we wanted to eat there. We got a head start on the crowd and tour buses this go around. Coming in to the restaurant it looked as if the crowd from the Wood Grill Buffet had changed locations. Mainly elderly people spread all over the restaurant with bus loads arriving all the time. The waitress was very nice and took our drink order of 2 sweet teas and a lemonade for the little one. The tea’s arrived in HUGE mason jars which I loved. I never had to request a refill due to their size. I ordered the Sampler of frog legs, clams, shrimp, catfish and fries. My wife had grilled rainbow trout with fries and the little one had chicken strips with fries. To start with they bring you what the call “Vittles” which is an assortment of hushpuppies, white beans, cole slaw, a sweet onion and pickles. The waitress said it was free with any meal purchase or if that’s all you wanted it’s $6.99. After only a short time our food arrived and looked great. My wife’s plate arrived and the trout filled up the plate almost. She really liked it and offered me a taste but I didn’t care for it as I could taste the “fishy” in it more than anything. My shrimp were lukewarm and you could tell not fresh out of the fryer. The catfish was very tasty as was the clams. I gave my frog legs, which looked like chicken legs, to my wife and she almost got sick. She told me not to even try them as it tasted like garbage. She said it could just be her taste buds but she wouldn’t eat it again. I took her word for it! All in all we wouldn’t go back as nothing was “special” to us other than the over sized and tasty tea. Total bill $48 and some change, $6 of that being a tip. Like the Wood Fire Grill visit on our way out some guy acts like the manager asking you about the food and service. I checked his name tag real quick and noticed it was from a resort so when he started asking how long we were in town for I politely said we were only in town for work and leaving now. I am not going to stand round after eating and listen to a sales pitch. This adds another layer to why I will not eat at Huck Finn’s again.

That concludes our dining experience in Pigeon Forge for 2012. I would gladly take comments on places you recommend we try next year. As the little one gets older we plan on venturing over to Gatlinburg.

About Tommy White 166 Articles
Tommy White is a Graphic Designer, Web Designer / Developer, IT Director and more, including Foodie Fanatic. "I enjoy helping others in times of need and live steadfast to the motto of paying it forward".

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