The historic Old Mill District in Pigeon Forge is a relaxing change of pace that can take several hours to explore all the many things to see, do and browse. Keep your strength up by planning on breakfast, lunch or dinner at one (or both) of the two fine restaurants a few steps away from each other: the Old Mill Restaurant and the Old Mill Pottery House Cafe & Grille. Read on for the scoop on each place.
To see the many treats lying in wait around both these restaurants, see our feature guide to the Old Mill District & Square. And note that you can shop online for some of the great products available at both these restaurants (the artisan bread is shipped nationwide).
Old Mill Restaurant
The oldest restaurant in Pigeon Forge serves family style food that will satisfy any hunger – large portions of country food are the standard here (and you can split an entrée).
Breakfast, until 11 am, offers farm eggs backed up with stone-ground corn grits, biscuits, muffins, breads and pancakes, all ground at the Mill. There are lots of meat choices, including pork loin, country fried steak, bacon, ham and sausage.
Lunch (11am-4pm) includes many Southern dishes such as pot roast, barbeque, chicken & dumplings, spiced liver & onions, as well as a gourmet meatloaf, ground round, and country fried steak. Several chicken meals (including pot pie) contend with roast turkey and boneless pork chops for your attention.
Shrimp, trout and catfish also feature, with burgers and many different sandwiches, along with tasty vegetables, quiche and salads, soups (including corn chowder), and selected desserts (but see our guide to the Old Mill District to know about The Creamery before you settle on dessert).
Dinner, from 4 pm to close, features many southern and country fried, high quality meats, shrimp, catfish and trout, as well as fine grilled meats, vegetables, salads and quiche, and fruits. All foods are fresh, and hand-cut or ground. Plus, real mashed potatoes!
The restaurant offers a children’s menu, and takeout is available. The Old Mill Restaurant doesn’t take reservations, and there’s no virtual wait-list, so you may get lucky or you may have to wait some time to get in. Staff move tables very efficiently.
This place is hugely popular, for good reason, and the wait is actually not a hardship because there are so many other things immediately around just a few steps away, from going to inspect the water wheel, to checking out one of the shops, to feeding the ducks on the river, or taking the selfies that the Old Mill is famous for. And once you’re seated at an up[stairs table, the view of the river is charming.
There is no beer or wine at this venue (see below for that) but it sits across from a distillery so maybe that’s a consolation!
Old Mill Restaurant
164 Old Mill Ave, Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Hours: 8 am – 9 pm (9:30 pm Fri-Sat)
No reservations, takeout available
Old Mill Pottery House Café & Grille
Just across the road is the Pottery House Cafe, with substantial but less gigantic servings, and flavors slightly sharper. This is a lunch and dinner venue, with weekend brunch. In nice weather the outside garden patio area is a lovely place to eat, and the indoor great stone fireplace can warm up any cold weather.
As with the Restaurant above, many items here come from the grist mill, including the grains that go into the artisanal breads available here. The breading on the fried entrees also comes from the Old Mill’s own ground flour. Breads are baked on-site daily, and include mouth-watering tastes such as sourdough, onion-rye, green olive and raisin pecan – and more.
Both places use plates, bowls and bakeware made by the Old Mill Pigeon River Pottery, even to the ceramic sinks in the bathrooms. And both share the same policy of fresh ingredients prepared daily, and quality meats, with local sourcing wherever possible.
The full menu is served all day, but lunch here especially highlights salmon, shrimp and catfish along with steak and roast beef, pork chop and chicken and turkey in various styles including great sandwiches and soups.
The menu is extensive and includes an Alfredo and Florentine as well as stir-fry, and tasty sauces and seasonings on quality meats. The Cafe has several hearty soups, and lots of enticing, flavorful salads, as well as various quiches. A large variety of side dishes can accompany most any meal you’re in the mood for, and appetizers include salmon cakes, dips and spring rolls.
From choice Black Angus hand-cut steaks and hand-ground burgers to a range of sandwiches, soups, salads and dozens more specialties, anyone can get happy eating here. This includes the children, with a Kid’s Menu that adds a corn dog, mac & cheese and grilled cheese to the mix, as well as burgers of course, for the complete American cuisine!
Homemade desserts include many pie and cake concoctions – but visitors may also want to know about the Old Mill Creamery for some of the best ice cream in town, including flavors from the Old Mill Candy Kitchen and the Old Forge Distillery. See our guide to the Old Mill District for details).
The Weekend Brunch finally breaks out the eggs, with Benedicts, Steak, omelet, sausage, cheeses, with a knowledgeable use of pecans, pralines and raisins. Breads, biscuits and waffles are all home made of course, and Mimosas and Bellinis can quench the thirst.
The Cafe serves a selection of wines and beer including some local craft beers.Chef specials are always worth asking about. This place is hugely popular also, and takes no reservations. There is a virtual wait list online to help with any wait, and as with the Restaurant, the area is endlessly fascinating to explore during any wait time. Takeout is available here also.
Pottery House Cafe
3341 Old Mill Street, Pigeon Forge, Tn 37863
Hours: 11am – 9pm Daily
(Sat-Sun Brunch menu until 2pm, open at 10am)