Destination dining in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains

Whether restaurants are the focus of your trip or you’re hungry after a day filled with adventure, Sevierville, Tennessee offers an array of options ready to satisfy your cravings. From familiar favorites to culinary innovations, treat your taste buds to delicious variety at your pick among the city’s dozens of restaurants. The downtown area alone is home to four crave-worthy dining destinations that rank high with visitors and locals.

The Appalachian , which opened in January 2021 in Sevierville’s historic downtown, is the hottest new restaurant in the Smoky Mountains. Chef/Partner David Rule, who opened The Walnut Kitchen and worked stints at Aubrey’s Restaurant Group, Dancing Bear Lodge, and the renowned Blackberry Farm, helms the kitchen at the new upscale restaurant. “Our hope is to create a contemporary experience that highlights the food of Appalachia,” says Rule. “There’s so much diversity in Appalachia it gives us a license to do a bit of anything. We’ll be highlighting some traditional things—like beans, cornbread, apple stack cake, pickling and preserving vegetables—but it won’t necessarily always be the same traditional approach as the original. We’re looking to offer a more refined dining experience.” The menu, which will be printed daily, boasts mouthwatering seasonal fare, from starters like blue crab spoon fritters, butterbean hummus, and fried chicken skins drizzled with local sourwood honey to mains such as glazed duck with grits, hangar steak with sweet potato gnocchi, Gulf grouper with Carolina gold rice, plus a variety of dry-aged steaks. The beverage menu highlights local ingredients in cocktails made with the same culinary approach employed in the kitchen, including house-made syrups, tinctures, and more concoctions. Located on Bruce Street behind the historic Sevierville Courthouse, one side of the building is painted with a mural of a young blonde child enjoying a burger at Red’s Café, a former Sevierville eatery that was a favorite of young Dolly Parton. The Appalachian is open Tuesdays through Saturdays for dinner service only; reservations are recommended whether you prefer a table indoors or out. Carry-out services are also available.

Graze Burgers, also on Bruce Street, is best-known for its grass-fed beef burgers, though its hot dogs, soups, salads, milkshakes, and other options are equally scrumptious. Favorite starters include charred wings with bourbon barbecue and crispy-fried local green tomatoes with house-made pimento cheese and bacon jam. Every burger has its fans, including the ‘Chili Chili Bang Bang’ topped with chili, cheddar, roasted peppers, Southern slaw, plus bean and corn salsa, ‘Bourbon Bleu’ with Cajun spices, bacon, blue cheese, bourbon-caramelized onions, and mushrooms, and ‘Hell Fire’ with ghost pepper cheese, habanero hot sauce, and roasted jalapeños. Bison, turkey, salmon, and veggie burgers are offered, too. Char-grilled beef hot dogs are presented multiple ways including ‘The Q’ topped with bourbon barbecue, Southern slaw, bacon jam, and aged cheddar. Favorites on the drink menu include craft beers, spiked shakes, creative cocktails, and an array of spirits. The casual eatery occupies a building that served as Sevierville’s post office in the 1920s and 1930s. Graze Burgers is open daily for lunch and dinner with indoor and outdoor seating plus to-go options; live musical performances on Fridays and Saturdays add to its lively atmosphere.

Hickory Cabin , located on Court Avenue, is a casual place hailed for its award-winning barbecue. “The restaurant is small, quaint, and feels like home,” says new owner Travis Helton, who purchased the business in May 2020 during the pandemic after deciding “to put faith over fear.” The Sevierville native’s goal is to offer diners “good food in good portions at good prices with a great experience,” he says. “Most people will tell you that we treat them like family.” Pork and brisket are smoked for 16 hours on site to yield flavorful, tender meat. Rubs and sauces run the gamut from sweet to spicy, ensuring something for every palate. Dishes consistently earn raves, including the pork-loaded potato, barbecue nachos, pulled pork platter, and smoked chicken wings that are fried for extra crunch. Daily specials like Wednesday prime rib sandwiches, Friday smoked brisket, and Saturday catfish impress, too. Lunch and dinner are served Mondays through Saturdays in the dining room that seats up to 28 guests; outdoor seating and carry-out services are also available.

Healthy Balance is where good-for-you food also tastes great. Every menu item has zero trans-fat and no refined carbohydrates plus all meats are lean, cheese low fat, and produce organic. “We care about nutrition, we care about health,” says co-owner Luke Michaluk. Among the range of available soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, paninis and burgers, the top seller is the strawberry spinach salad. Served in a satisfying portion, fresh spinach leaves are topped with fresh strawberries and mandarin oranges plus dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, fat-free feta cheese, and hormone-free chicken. While poppy-seed dressing is the recommended and most popular choice, other options include fat-free ranch, raspberry, and Italian, among others. The turkey chili, chicken pesto sandwich, burrito bowl, Mediterranean veggie panini, steakhouse burger with Swiss and sauteed onions, and homemade cookies offer proof that healthy eating doesn’t sacrifice flavor and variety. Monthly specials enhance the core menu. Located on Court Avenue near Carl Hatcher Furniture, the restaurant offers dine-in and take-out options that make healthy eating convenient. Stock up on frozen meals like lasagna, pulled barbecue chicken, and chipotle tamale pie to fill your rental cabin’s kitchen with guilt-free meal options or to tote home as a tasty continuation of your Sevierville getaway.

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