From hiking to fishing to whitewater rafting, there is no shortage of ways to work up an appetite in the Great Smoky Mountains. Thousands of visitors flock to the area every year to take advantage of the scenic mountain views and invigorating outdoor activities. And there is plenty of food to fuel you up for your next adventure. All throughout the Smokies – and especially around Maggie Valley – there are restaurants serving up incredible classic mountain cuisine that showcases the region’s Appalachian heritage. Taste and see what the foodie fuss is all about with these delectable Smoky Mountain dishes.
Hickory Smoked BBQ
Satisfy your cravings for the best hickory-smoked meats in the WNC Smoky Mountains at Pop’s Butts on the Creek. Dive into award-winning homemade sauces at Maggie Valley’s oldest BBQ restaurant. Order a sandwich plate or a large picnic-style meal and grab a table on the outdoor deck. Soak up scenic views and mountain breezes as you pig out beside the burbling Jonathan Creek. And don’t skimp on the sides. You’ll get fresh seasonal vegetables, and the mind-blowing desserts – like all the other items on the menu – are always homemade. Hungry for more BBQ? Check out a few of our other local favorites here.
Homemade Buttermilk Pancakes
Stack your breakfast high and tall with a helping of golden flapjacks from Joey’s Pancake House, right down the road from the Meadowlark! A Maggie Valley breakfast staple since 1966, you can have your fill of old-fashioned pancakes with a choice of delicious syrups and classic southern sides. Enjoy endless rounds of coffee while you chat with the locals or swap stories with your fellow travelers. All you have to do is come hungry – owners Joey and Brenda and their team will take care of the rest.
Fresh Mountain Trout
The Maggie Valley area is home to some of the best trout fishing in the Smoky Mountains. But if you’d rather not fry up your own catch, then head to J. Arthur’s Restaurant on Soco Road. People rave about their fresh North Carolina Rainbow Trout. It’s served with a house-made sweet tomato jam that adds the perfect flavors to the delicate texture of the fish. For the non-fish lovers in your party, they also offer delicious steak and chicken dishes as well as a great kids’ menu. And each special entree is served with warm rolls, side salad, and potato or vegetables.
Cherokee Fry Bread
The Smoky Mountains are home to the Cherokee tribe, whose influence is felt across the mountains far and wide. From ancient times until now, food has been a way to bring their community together. Frybread is a local favorite and so simple you can even try to whip up your own. To make fry bread, press sections of dough flat with a deep indented hole in the middle. Fry it in hot oil or shortening on each side until golden brown. Top it with cheese, chili, lettuce, tomato, or onion (or really, whatever you’d like) for an unforgettable savory meal. Or try it with powdered sugar, honey, or fresh berries for a delicious dessert!
You can’t leave Maggie Valley without trying some homemade fudge from Maggie Mountaineer Crafts. This soft, creamy treat is found in a Smoky Mountain roadside attraction that is absolutely worth pulling over for. For over 60 years, this time-honored craft and fudge store has been treating both locals and tourists to some of the best where do i buy prednisone fudge in all of Western North Carolina. With over 35 flavors to choose from (like chocolate peanut butter, amaretto, chewy praline, and of course chocolate), there’s something for everyone – and it’s made fresh daily! Once you’ve procured your tasty treat, browse through their hand-made Smoky Mountain crafts for a unique souvenir like soap, candles, jewelry, knives, and quilts.
Smoky Mountain Moonshine
Now that your belly is full, wash it all down with a dram of that good ol’ mountain dew – if you’re over 21 that is. Pop into Elevated Mountain Distilling Company in Maggie Valley. With a nod to Haywood County’s median elevation of 3,600 feet (the highest of any county in the eastern US), Elevated is run by third generation whiskey makers, Dave and Sue Angel. For decades, moonshiners have taken advantage of the high-altitude pristine mountain springs to produce some of the purest moonshine in the Smoky Mountains. And now you can tour the corn-to-whiskey process at Elevated to learn how it’s made. Their custom pot and towering 23-foot column still take the process to the next level. In addition to tours and tastings of whiskey and moonshine, take the stage for karaoke on Thursday evenings or enjoy live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
Take a listen to the Gateway to the Smokies Podcast, where host (and owner of the Meadowlark Motel) Joseph McElroy talks about the popular foods of the Smoky Mountains and some of his favorite places to eat.