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The Lazy Bear REVIEWS

Our favorite (and not so favorite)

places in and near Gatlinburg

Chicken and Vegetables


Five Oaks Farm Kitchen

1638 Parkway • Sevierville

Our family loves this place! The food is beyond delicious, the gift shop is absolutely amazing, and the atmosphere is authentic farm-style! We highly recommend this place to anyone. It's quite popular, so there will most likely be a wait to get in. But it's totally worth it.

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Alamo Steakhouse

705 East Parkway • Gatlinburg

Best steakhouse ever. Check out their website to view the awards---others agree! And best part? They're literally right down the road. You could walk from our cabin if you want! We have ordered food to go and enjoyed it back at the cabin many times. Their handcut, aged steaks are all grilled over an oak fire. Juicy, tender, delicious. And don't forget dessert. Their Key Lime pie is one of the best we've ever had! Amazing! (Don't plan on eating here on a Wednesday, they're closed.) 


Flapjacks Pancake Cabin

478 E. Parkway, Hwy 321 • Gatlinburg

Just recently tried this place for breakfast with our daughter. We sat at a table near the window that overlooked a beautiful creek with surrounding trees--just gorgeous. The veggie omelet, hash browns and bacon were delicious. Way too much food for us to finish! Very close to The Lazy Bear Escape, as it sits at the entrance to Gatlinburg. 


Best Italian

710 Parkway • Gatlinburg

**updated Nov 2, 2022

We have been in search for pizza in Gatlinburg that tastes most like New York pizza. Best Italian's pizza is really delicious-- but as of November 1, 2022, it slid into the #2 spot after having tasted the pizza at the Space Needle. Oh my. (See our review for Slice Pizza Bakery.)

We tried both the cheese pizza and the combo, which we loved. Our daughter had the fettuccini alfredo with broccoli and chicken, and though it wasn't her top fave for this dish, it was still good. Nice ambience, as well.


Mayfield Dairy Bar

738 Parkway # 1 • Gatlinburg

Some dear friends treated us to the most delicious funnel cakes on the strip. We were delighted to see they actually made them while we waited, which didn't take long. We tried the strawberry, cinnamon, and the apple. Apple was by far the crowd favorite. Looking forward to having these again soon!

But I must mention that we would not recommend their smoothies. On a recent trip, our daughter tried the strawberry, and it had no fresh fruit of any kind in it-- just syrup stuff that tasted fake and sugary.

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Crockett's Breakfast Camp

1103 Parkway • Gatlinburg

We randomly stumbled upon this place due to the massive line outside the restaurant. Always a good sign when there's a line. We've learned to call ahead to find the better times to go, and we've even been shocked to find parking right in the front. Crockett's has the most amazing authentic ambience. Our favorite detail are the menus designed to look like newspapers, which then gives the appearance of customers sitting around reading the news. Genius. But what draws the crowd is the food. Just delicious. Highly recommend. 


Mad Dog's Creamery
& Donuts

731 East Parkway • Gatlinburg

We absolutely had to try the closest ice cream place to The Lazy Bear. Located just adjacent to Alamo Steakhouse, it's really just about a 45 second car ride down the road. We tried strawberry, peach, and espresso ice cream and loved them all. They have inside and outside seating, and also serve doughnuts, soft serve, funnel cake, cotton candy, shaved ice, milk shakes, and even dog treats. We do recommend the ice cream, and plan on trying their other selections in the future. Nice place!


Kilwin's Chocolates

645 Parkway • Gatlinburg

If you're in the mood for something sweet, we would recommend grabbing a caramel apple at Kilwins. Wow. Their delicious caramel is made right there in the store, and they pair it only with Granny Smith apples—so tart and juicy. Their 'Original Recipe Caramel' was developed by Don Kilwin and is still cooked in traditional copper kettles—a three hour process! We tried one with milk chocolate and sea salt, and they were kind to cut it up into slices for us. Amazing. We'll be going back, for sure.


Slice Pizza Bakery

115 Historic Nature Trail • Gatlinburg

Most Authentic NY Pizza Award

As of 11/1/22, Slice Pizza Bakery has our TOP  VOTE for most authentic NY Pizza in Gatlinburg. (On 11/5, we brought our friends from NY who know their pizza. They said it's the best they've tried so far in TN, so the award stays... but the search will continue.)  

The Slice Pizza Bakery can be found just inside the Gatlinburg Space Needle arcade building. What a find. OH MAN. SO Delicious!

We split ONE PIECE of their pepperoni pizza ($7 a slice) and instantly died and went to heaven. Both of us couldn't even finish it! Amazing! Highly recommend!


The Peddler Steakhouse

820 River Road • Gatlinburg

When we tried to review this place a few weeks back, but left 'cuz the wait was THREE HOURS long, we knew we had to try it out at some point. For people to wait THAT long for a steakhouse, it must be good. Fast forward to last night. We called just before they opened and put our name in for a 7pm reservation. We arrived early, and they seated us around 7:20pm at a table for two along the back window overlooking a beautiful stream. We enjoyed their amazing salad bar (included with each entree), then split the prime rib, and it was way more food than we could eat. The prime rib was one of the best I've ever had—slow-roasted and full of flavor. Some friends of ours ate here a few weeks ago and enjoyed it, as well. The Peddler is on the pricey side, but for a special occasion, we would recommend it!

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Gigi's Cupcakes

1170 Tanger Outlets •  Sevierville

While walking around the Tanger Outlets trying to get our daily 10,000 steps in, we stumbled upon Gigi's cupcakes and had to check it out. Ended up getting four little minis in a sample box, and asked for their best selling one in a normal size. (Pic disclaimer: the sample ones got turned over in the car, so they're not looking very pretty, ha).

While everything was completely delicious and moist, here are some thoughts and rankings. Our least favorite, though still very good, was the wedding cake cupcake. Just a little too boring for our tastes. The Strawberry shortcake was good, though the frosting was a little grainy.  The Red Velvet was delicious—had great flavor. Our top two came in a tie: the Pumpkin Swirl, and Midnight Magic. If pressed, we both would probably choose Midnight. Overall, we were pleased with our visit.

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The Crazy Mason

812 Parkway #106 • Gatlinburg

Some dear friends of ours just visited The Crazy Mason on the strip this past weekend and sent these pics to me along with raving reviews. We can't wait to try it based on what they said. Oh my! Not a place to visit if you're on a diet or are diabetic, ha. They had trouble finishing them, even with two people working on each one (all except for the donut/coffee one, which was eaten by ONE person who shall remain nameless, ha). Located on same side of the street as the Gatlinburg Space Needle, it's perfect (in our opinion) if you pair it with pizza from Slice Pizza Bakery. :)

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The Park Grill

1110 Parkway • Gatlinburg

It's hard for me to write a bad review, especially when a restaurant scores in the ambience category and has its own parking. But I have to be honest. We will not be going back to The Park Grill due to some issues we had at a recent visit. Let me explain.

Walking into The Park Grill, you can't help but be impressed by the beautiful surroundings. Very rustic, but high-end. Their building was created from reclaimed stone, dead-standing spruce trees, reclaimed metals, exposed logs, cathedral ceilings, and is the handiwork of artisans. Just beautiful. But we felt the prices didn't justify what we were served, and the service was very poor. I'm pretty patient, but this was really bad. Our waiter sat around talking to other staff while we waited for drink refills, more sauce for the pork sandwich (which hardly had any), and the bill at the end. Believe me, I've waited a long time for things before, but this was beyond ridiculous. And the price for the salad bar ($18) was atrocious, as it didn't include much protein. 

With all of the other options available to Gatlinburg visitors, this wouldn't be one we would recommend. 


Log Cabin
Pancake House

Authentic rustic vibe, great prices and they have free parking! What's not to love? We enjoyed a great breakfast, with no wait, on a Tuesday morning. Weekends, I hear, are harder to get in, so come early. The food was delicious, especially for the price. Overall, we liked it. Heard the locals do, too.

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Smoky Mountain Brewery Restaurant

1004 Parkway #501 • Gatlinburg

Though we can't vouch for the beer (we don't drink), the food was amazing! We shared the quesadillas, some onion rings, and the Ale Steak Skewer Platter (so tender!!!). Oh man, everything was delicious! Our favorite has to be the ONION RINGS. These babies are cooked to order, hand-dipped and hand-made, and we will definitely be going back for them! 

Tucked just off the strip with free parking (just have to spend $10 and you're good), the Smoky Mountain Brewery did not disappoint. Loved the relaxing and fun ambience, and enjoyed great service with very reasonable prices. A winner in our books.


The Local Goat

This sweet find sits about fifteen minutes from The Lazy Bear Escape. Well worth the drive. We had no idea what this place was about, but thought we'd give it a try since it seemed pretty popular by the looks of the parking lot. Wow, wow, wow. We LOVED it. Both of us got the Teriyaki Kabobs (teriyaki marinated tenderloin, fried rice with steamed broccoli) and were so impressed with how tender and flavorful the meat was. Definitely going back to this place. Excellent service. Friendly family atmosphere. Great find. 


Cliff Top (Anakeesta)

576 Parkway • Gatlinburg



This mouth-watering gourmet "Smoky Burger with Bacon Jam" was juicy and full of flavor. Bacon Jam. Who knew? Best burger we've had in a very long time. Highly recommend!

Cliff Top is located in Anakeesta’s Black Bear Village, and during daylight hours, offers breathtaking views. Would recommend eating at sunset, if possible. (A ticket up the mountain on their "chondola" is required, and we ended up purchasing the season tickets, as they were the same price as a single ticket! Totally worth it---please read my review on Anakeesta below!)

Wait staff is so friendly, and we even had the opportunity to talk with Alex, the manager, who was very knowledgeable and accommodating. Great experience! Amazing place!

LeConte Tapas & Grill

Woohooo! A wonderful restaurant just opened down the street from The Lazy Bear Escape! So far we have only tried their basic hamburger, but WOW, it was fabulous!! High quality meat perfectly seasoned... so delicious! The burger is huge, so that's another plus! Split it with my daughter and we were both stuffed! And did I mention that their place is gorgeous? Yeah, we highly recommend LeConte Tapas & Grill. Will be trying more dishes here in the future, especially since it's a 30 second drive, ha!  

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2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd • Pigeon Forge

We were thrilled to visit Dollywood yesterday after hearing/reading such amazing  reviews from friends and online. What a breath of fresh air for us former Californians who grew up going to Disneyland and Magic Mountain. This theme park wowed us with both family friendly rides, music, shows, while also having the biggest baddest rollercoasters we've tried—keeping the guys very content!  Voted the #1 Theme Park in the United States by Tripadvisor, Dollywood offers more than 50 world-class rides, high-energy entertainment, award-winning dining and the friendliest park atmosphere in the world! The 160 acre park sits about fifteen minutes from The Lazy Bear Escape, which makes it the perfect place to visit while staying at our cabin. Easy to get there. Highly recommend!


Davy Crockett's Mini Golf

188 Parkway • Gatlinburg

Our son is obsessed with Davy Crockett, so it made sense to try out the mini golf course at the entrance to Gatlinburg. We ended up golfing all 36 holes, and really enjoyed it. 

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576 Parkway • Gatlinburg

Anakeesta is a must when visiting Gatlinburg. We really enjoyed riding on the "Chondola" up to this beautiful mountaintop park in the heart of downtown. Once up top, we walked on the fourteen bridges of their "Treetop Skywalk" which hangs 50-60' in the air, and then climbed up to see the views on their "AnaVista Tower," the highest point in downtown Gatlinburg. The quaint little "Firefly" village boasts cute little shops and dining amidst a whimsical mountain atmosphere. Highly recommend.


Gatlin's Escape Games

716 Parkway Unit 214 • Gatlinburg

When our older daughter and her friend came out to visit us in Tennessee, we took them to Gatlin's Escape Games 'cuz we knew they love this type of entertainment. They weren't disappointed. Both exclaimed it was the best one they had tried. We chose the two-story one called "MASTERS OF MAGIC." Loads of fun, great puzzles, attention to detail is amazing. We escaped! You should, too!

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Hollywood Star
Cars Museum

914 Parkway • Gatlinburg

For any car enthusiast visiting Gatlinburg, the Hollywood Star Cars Museum should probably be one of the top go-to places to visit. They feature the best Hollywood movie & TV cars in recreated settings, with the most famous being the car from the 1966 TV Show Batmobile. Other cars include Fast & Furious vehicles, Back to the Future DeLorean, Herbie, Sir Paul McCartney's Cadillac, and many more. You can save a little by purchasing tickets online. Our car-crazed friend who came with us recommends it!


Gatlinburg Sky Lift Park

765 Parkway • Gatlinburg

You can't visit Gatlinburg without a gondola ride up to the United State's longest pedestrian suspension bridge! We enjoyed the smooth ride up to the top of the mountain where we took in some breathtaking views of the city. The staff was very courteous and helpful. The suspension bridge was not as scary as we thought it would be, thankfully... though there was one spot where you had to walk over glass panels and could see through to the ground way below. 😳 But we did it! There was another bridge to walk across, not as long, but definitely crazy for us since our friend was swaying the bridge behind us as we tried to walk. Hilarious. Great memories. Fun attraction not to miss!


Cades Cove

5686 Cades Cove Loop Rd • Townsend

If you're searching for beautiful fall foliage, you must plan a trip to Cades Cove. Located only 33 miles from Gatlinburg, this day trip will be one of your top memories when visiting our cabin. But even year round, we highly recommend a trip to visit this unique valley brimming with fascinating history giving you a glimpse into the lives of the first settlers. If you want to learn more, check out my blog post here, entitled "Fall for Cades Cove." Also, we have a book on Cades Cove at the cabin for you to read. 


Gatlinburg Space Needle

115 Historic Nature Trail • Gatlinburg

Just off the strip, you will find an arcade that offers entrance to the Gatlinburg Space Needle. (For those who are afraid of heights, I would pass.)  The 3-5 minute glass-elevator ride takes you to the top where you will experience a 360 degree panoramic view of our beautiful town and all the surrounding mountains. The free view-finders are an added bonus. Well worth the price. (I could have done without the swaying movement of the tower, ha, but that's just me.)

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Ripley's Mirror Maze

623 Parkway • Gatlinburg

While walking down Parkway tonight, we randomly stopped to see what the mirror maze was all about. Not something we would have picked to do, but we went with it. We were surprised to see how big it was inside compared to the mirror maze back home at the fair. The music, lights, and the brightly patterned carpet might be too much for those sensitive to things like this, but honestly, this is what made the magic happen. Our favorite part (and probably everybody else's) is the glass bottom walkway with twinkle lights everywhere. I imagine there are some walking out with bumps on their heads from guessing the wrong way. Pro tip. We walked with our hands out in front. Lots of fun.

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The Place of a
Thousand Drips

Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail • Gatlinburg

Rainbow Falls. The roundtrip distance to the waterfall is 5.4 miles, and considered moderate in difficulty. Beautiful hike, so close to The Lazy Bear Escape! Would recommend going in the morning, as it supposedly takes about 3-5 hours to hike to the waterfall and back. We made the mistake of going in the late afternoon, and we couldn't finish the hike because neither of us would have loved hiking in a dark forest at night where there are bears roaming around. My daughter and I love photography, and since this trail offered so many beautiful options for great shots, we enjoyed the walk but never made it to the top. We did make it a point of asking each person hiking back down if it was worth it, and most said that due to the drought, the waterfall at the top was more like a dribble, so we felt OK turning around after about an hour or so. I'm calling this review "part 1" because we plan on finishing it soon. Just gorgeous! 


Ripley's Aquarium

88 River Road • Gatlinburg

As a homeschool mom of over 25 years, I'm constantly searching for field-trip worthy experiences that I can take my kids to that will not only educate, but inspire them and create a desire to learn on their own. The Ripley's Aquarium offered just that type of experience for my son and his friend who came with us.

There are more fish in this aquarium than there are people living in the entire town of Gatlinburg—10,000 exotic sea creatures comprising more than 350 individual species! The boys enjoyed seeing the clownfish, pufferfish, stingrays, penguins, sharks, piranhas, and much more. Too many to list!

There is a City owned parking garage directly behind the Aquarium that charges $10. Worth the price of admission.

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Speedwerkz Exotic Car Experience

467 Parkway • Gatlinburg

Brand new! Speedwerkz Exotic Car Experience finally opened up in Gatlinburg, right next door to Ole Red! This amazing place features an impressive private collection of hyper cars, super cars, and exotic cars. The exhibits are beautifully displayed, with most of the cars on turntables, making for a visually stunning experience. The friendly staff are knowledgeable and passionate, offering interesting insights into the history and design of their cars. Another plus is their racing simulator, which gives you a hands-on experience in driving your favorite model car on a racing track. Overall, it's a must-visit for any car enthusiast or anyone looking for a fun and educational outing. And beside that, it doesn't break the bank. Highly recommend.


The Island in Pigeon Forge

131 The Island Drive • Pigeon Forge

After months of wanting to experience what everyone had been talking about, I took my son to see if all the hype was accurate. The Island proved to be an exciting adventure, and we were very pleased with our time there. This amusement park sits inside a wonderful shopping area complete with restaurants and an award winning hotel, Margaritaville.

My absolute favorite ride was SkyFly: Soar America, which is a Dynamic Attraction flying theater where you experience a feeling of flight as you soar over some of the most iconic locations in the United States in this fully immersive experience! Just amazing! My son had numerous favorites. Here are his top three: The Great Smoky Mountain Wheel (the Ferris wheel) -- it's one of the tallest in America (200 ft!), and he actually got me to go on it somehow; Dance Party 360-- a pendulum looping ride that spins and goes upside down; and last, he loved the Tree Fall Drop Tower, which falls from 65 feet, but keeps going after that first fall. 

Overall, the Island is a great place to visit. We plan on going once a year. I purchased a wrist band for my son, which was $39, and he got to go on whatever he wanted as many times as he wanted. There's no entrance fee, so you can go and just eat and watch others on the rides. 

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