5 Reasons to Eat at Locally Owned Restaurants in the Smoky Mountains


What are your taste buds craving while you are enjoying log cabin life?

That’s a question you may be asking when staying at My Bearfoot Cabins in the Smoky Mountains.

If you decide to eat out and not wanting the same chain restaurants here’s a great alternative…




The Sevierville, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg areas are full of chain restaurants, but if you are looking for locally owned restaurants, there’s only one that comes to mind. The Johnson Family of Restaurants, with several outstanding locations in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, and roots going back to Cades Cove. To find food as rich as the history, and a personal comment from Jonathan Wimmer, co-owner, please read on.




Our culinary journey begins with Alamo Steak House. As

Don & Our Server
Don & Our Server

the name indicates, steaks are the specialty, but I suggest you not overlook the best pork chops imaginable, grouper and salmon. The salads are second to none and the homemade poppy seed dressing is outstanding. For dessert, don’t pass on the key lime pie or bread pudding. 



mamas 2



In the lobby of this barn style restaurant is the complete family tree including photos of the Johnson family dating back to their settling in the Smoky Mountains. It’s a walk down memory lane all the way to present day.

The down to earth cooking is true southern style all the way, and is served family style. Choose your meat and side dishes from every favorite southern dish you can imagine and get ready to dig in.





Whether your favorite is beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs or chicken, you will be at the right spot, or try one of Bennett’s Pit Bar-b-que combination plates. Choose from 5 types of home made barbeque sauce and then add all the traditional sides. Everything cooked up fresh and hot and finger lickin’ good.  Some of the best baked beans I’ve ever eaten.

Last but not least is the prettiest salad bar I’ve ever seen.

Don & Our Server

The colors and presentation is perfect. Soup included and numerous garnishments make this fresh, fresh salad bar a perfect compliment to your bar-be-que meal.




big daddys 2



Can you say, Italian, Italian, Italian pizza pie? Well, the Johnson Family just did. They didn’t overlook a thing starting with their hand crafted crust. I have never experienced the selection of different pizza toppings available anywhere to beat Big Daddy’s Pizza. The seasonings are in true Italian style and the sauce and cheeses are the perfect blend atop your pie.



mad dog 2


Need dozens of ways to satisfy your sweet tooth? Sundaes, shakes, malts, banana splits, cones of every size and type and let’s not forget the funnel cakes. Take their challenge and come up with the most complicated shake you can think of and test their expertise!!

My family has found the service and quality of the food offered at all the Johnson Family Restaurants to be excellent, and all in a casual atmosphere.

Personal Comment by Jonathan Wimmer, Co/Onwer:

Thank you for the nice write-ups on your blog and, while I’m at it, thanks for dining with us. We really appreciate it!

You said it all (on your blog). We are a small, local, family-owned business that takes pride in what we do and in being a non-chain alternative for people who want to try something different. Whether it’s the hand-cut, specially seasoned steaks at The Alamo, the slow-smoked deliciousness of the bar-b-que at Bennett’s, the unique I’m-having-supper-at-Grandma’s (not to mention the delicious fried chicken and other Southern fare) ambience of Mama’s Farmhouse, the hand-tossed deliciousness of Big Daddy’s crust coupled with the fresh ingredients (no freezer on the premises) cooked in a 550-degree wood-fired brick oven pizza. Then there’s Maddog’s Creamery with everything a sweet tooth could want: ice cream, sundaes, malts, shakes, funnel cakes and more. We will be opening another Maddog’s in Gatlinburg this coming March and it will feature (in addition to ice cream) hand made doughnuts. We’re busy testing doughnuts right now! It’s a rough job…but somebody’s got to do it.

Again, thanks for the nice write-ups and for dining with us. All the best to you and yours in travel and dining!


Jonathan Wimmer
Johnson Family of Restaurants
Alamo Steakhouse
Bennett’s Pit Bar-b-Que
Mama’s Farmhouse
Big Daddy’s Pizzeria
Maddog’s Creamery