Wherever we travel it is our goal to help showcase some of the local eateries. In most cities, we try to feature a cross-section of cuisines to allow our readers plenty of options. Most of the meal decisions are made long before our trip, so we can narrow down our destinations. Once in a while, we will happen upon a city that offers what can only be described as an excess of one particular food item. Our visit to the Smoky Mountains allowed us an opportunity for a pancake tour of Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
Stacks of Flapjacks
We are sure most of you have enjoyed plenty of these fluffy cakes, as much as we have. While we will usually change things up from one day to the next, some foods are enjoyable enough to sample on consecutive days. When we saw the unusually large number of pancake houses, we felt the need to test out as many as possible. Our days were to be filled with plenty of activities, so we were confident a sweet start would be burned off fairly quickly. We made sure to add some protein to each meal so that hunger wouldn’t return before our regular lunch time.
Variety of Options
The names of the pancake restaurants certainly hint at being in a country setting. We dined on flapjacks in an atrium, as well as a pantry. Many restaurants give a nod to their building with names involving houses or cabins. There was one that we visited that took it a step further and named their place the Log Cabin Pancake House. We guess that they wanted to make sure their customers knew that a cabin can double as a house. Since our lodging was located right off the main strip, we focused our choices to be as close by, as possible. Fortunately, this still left more restaurant options than we had mornings for our pancake tour of Gatlinburg.
Powdered Sugar Overload
While each cake house had its own recipes, one common theme was the excessive number of choices available. Sure the base flapjacks are very similar, although some offered buckwheat or other special grains. It was the toppings that brought out the dizzying array of decisions. We had our choices of all types of berries, compotes, jams, jellies, and fresh fruits. Another common theme of Gatlinburg pancake houses is the use of powdered sugar. Many of the options arrive covered with a fresh dusting of the snow-white, sugary substance. Our pancake tour of Gatlinburg opened our taste buds to some wonderful flavors.
Going Nuts for Pancakes
Each morning we looked forward to the sampling of a new pancake restaurant. The choices became increasingly interesting with each new destination. Crystal stuck with her fruit-flavored cakes. Some places brought this with toppings that arrived on the plate, while others would bring a side of flavored syrups. One of her favorites is blueberry, so I wasn’t surprised to see that appear more than once. I wanted to spread my flavor-sampling wings, so I looked for some of the more unusual topping combinations. At one stop, I sampled a tropical version that included coconut and banana. Another choice was a nutty and sweet Pecan pancake pictured above. These paired well with the real maple syrup that was a standard feature at every restaurant.
There was one morning that we had planned to forego our pancake tour of Gatlinburg. A visit to Crockett’s Breakfast Camp looked so intriguing, that we were willing to give up one spot to test it out. It was a wise decision, as this place represented Appalachian dining perfectly. During our visit, we learned a valuable lesson about social media. The manager of Crockett’s had been following our Instastory and seen our various pancake photos. When we stopped in, he recognized us and decided to send over one of their signature “Aretha Frankenstein” pancakes. This was certainly a departure from your standard flapjack and so delightful. (Read more about our Crockett’s visit here.)
When the final morning of our Gatlinburg visit arrived, we decided to take our pancake tour on the road. Heading away from the strip was leading us to Pigeon Forge. Just as we entered the city, we spotted another pancake cabin. There was time to enjoy one more “carbalicious” breakfast, before hitting the road for home. Since we were sure we had blown our diets completely, why not just cap it with an over-the-top meal. This place offered a chance to get sweetness overload, which required ample amounts of coffee to wash down. My Lemon Berry Pancakes had a delicious sweet-tart combination of flavors that made me stuff myself. There was plenty of sugar in this final pancake stop to keep our motors running all morning.
Our Pancake Tour of Gatlinburg
In the end, our pancake tour of Gatlinburg introduced us to more than just a variety of topping options. At each stop, we met some wonderful, welcoming people who share a common interest in food. We all must eat to survive, so why not make refueling our bodies a pleasant experience? This was a vacation, so we were satisfied in knowing that we could return to normal eating when we returned to our daily lives. For now, we are celebrating an opportunity to sample the flavors of the Appalachian Mountains in a beautiful setting. Perhaps you have planned or even made this same trip. If you have visited Gatlinburg, it’s safe to assume that you dined in at least one of the numerous pancake restaurants that dot the landscape. What was your favorite flavor combination?