Vacation Dining Reviews for Pigeon Forge TN

During our recent vacation to the Pigeon Forge Tennessee area we dined at some of the local restaurants as well as some chains. While the chains were about what we would expect, the local restaurants were where we were looking for something different, something with a local flair. We ate at The Old Mill and Mama’s Farmhouse to see how they handled southern cuisine and had two, very different, experiences. We also ordered carry out from Capelli’s Pizza & Subs one night which was a dreadful mistake. Let’s see how these restaurants fared…

Reviews Continued Below…

The Old Mill Restaurant Review

The Old Mill Restaurant is situated in the Old Mill Square area of Pigeon Forge. This area is built around, as you might guess, an old mill. The restaurant itself sits right on the river. Parking might be a bit of a challenge during busy times but we arrived early, about 6:00 PM, and didn’t have a problem. Parking is free though, which is nice for the area. The restaurant was a busy, active, place and you might get the feeling that you’ll be run over as you’re led to your table. The dessert and main kitchens are visible and, if you’re a fan of cooking reality shows like Hell’s Kitchen like we are, you’ll probably appreciate the view inside of what appears to be a well run kitchen. The staff was friendly and attentive. The atmosphere is a bit noisy and cramped while also being rustic.

The food at Old Mill Restaurant is quite good. I ordered the fried trout, my wife ordered turkey and dressing and my son ordered fried chicken. Veggies were served family style and consisted of mashed potatoes, green beans and macaroni and cheese. The meals also came with a garden salad and cornbread. The portion sizes were huge. I’ve seen other restaurants charge about the same price for portions that were about half the size. You won’t leave here hungry. The trout was excellent and the chicken and turkey were good as well. My son loved their macaroni and cheese and the green beans I’d rate above average. The mashed potatoes, unfortunately, were rather mediocre and had a grainy texture that might indicate instant, rather than fresh, potatoes were used. The pecan pie we had for dessert was good, but not great. I’m sorry, but it just can’t compete against my Grandmother’s pies. Also, we found the sweet tea to be lacking. I expect sweet tea at at a southern style restaurant to be almost syrupy sweet. Theirs, unfortunately, was barely sweetened at all.

Our bill for the three of us, including tip, was just over $80. This isn’t a particularly cheap place to eat but it’s worth the money. 

All in all, eating at the Old Mill Restaurant was a good experience and I recommend it if you’re visiting the Pigeon Forge Tennessee area.

Mama’s Farmhouse Review

Mama’s Farmhouse was our other foray into southern cooking during our stay in Pigeon Forge. Unfortunately, this family style southern cuisine restaurant failed to deliver. 

The atmosphere they strive for is a southern farmhouse and they do a good job at this from the tractor and silo out front to the white interior and wood floors with family pictures on the wall and slowly turning ceiling fans above. The friendly wait staff is dressed in overalls and pushes the food around in carts, something I find a bit questionable. The meals here are served as a family style buffet, meaning that large dishes are brought to your table and you serve your individual plate from them.

The full menu is brought to the table. The meal begins with vegetable soup. I found the soup to be good although my wife and son found it to be too peppery for their taste. The main entrées were fried chicken, country fried steak and roasted pork loin. The chicken was seasoned well and cooked right, retaining a juicy interior with a crisp exterior. The pork loin was kind of dry and bland with a brown gravy that reminded me of a grocery store jar gravy. The country fried steak was awful. It was burned and tough and covered with an awful gravy that had too much fat and celery. As for the veggies, the corn tasted like it had come out of a can and then popped in the microwave. The green beans were good. The mashed potatoes and pinto beans were, surprisingly, excellent. The macaroni and cheese had a vaguely institutional taste to it. And, to top it off, their sweet tea was terrible, not sweet with a funny tang to it. We had to order soft drinks to replace it.

For dessert we selected banana pudding, thinking that it would be hard to screw that up but boy, did they manage to pull that off. My initial reaction to it was “where’s the pudding?”. There was no pudding in this mess of dry cookie crust, banana slices and marshmallow fluff. It was awful. I don’t know where they learned this recipe but they need to bury it in the backyard and try again.

Each meal was a whopping $16.99 for a total of over $70 for the three of us including drinks and tip. When we considered that we could have gotten a better southern style meal at the local Cracker Barrel chain restaurant for about half the price, we found  Mama’s Farmhouse very disappointing. I strongly recommend that you avoid this restaurant should you visit Pigeon Forge.

Capelli’s Pizza & Subs Review

One evening we didn’t want to go out so we decided to order delivery from a place called Capelli’s Pizza & Subs. This was a mistake. While the pizza and chicken wings were delivered quickly enough the driver would have probably done us a favor if he had lost his way. The pizza defined the term “a hot circle of garbage” and the wings were nearly raw. Awful, just awful. Fortunately, we had some snacks in the room to eat. Avoid this pizza delivery place when you vacation in Pigeon Forge.


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Comment by Mary Fellows
2009-06-07 21:26:24

Those prices are cheap compared to Australia! I am not a huge fan of southern cooking - I find it a bit heavy - but that’s maybe I haven’t been to the southern US - if I ever get to Pigeon Forge TN I will check out the restaraunts with your reviews in mind

Comment by Andi
2009-06-12 08:01:10

I have to agree with the previous reviewer totally. We tried Mama’s Farmhouse and were very disappointed. First of all, the price (which they don’t tell you until you ask)is way too high. You can get the same food (and more choices) at Golden Corral. The country fried steak was extremely tough and chewy which made it inedible. All of the food came out lukewarm. When we mentioned it to a manager, she said she would check with the kitchen and never returned to our table with an answer. I find that to be poor customer service, especially for a new establishment just getting started. Most of the food was tasty, but certainly not worth the exhorbitant price. There are too many other choices in Pigeon Forge where the food is quite good and very reasonable. Totally agree about Capelli’s! AWFUL!

Comment by JL Palmetto
2009-06-14 07:48:22

I’m ready to go to Old Mill and order the trout! Yum.


Comment by gas rebate cards
2009-06-17 18:57:31

Sounds like the old mill is a nice place to go. Sounds like you will be taking home enough to make another meal as well! It does sound quite pricey though, as $80 is quite a bit for a three person meal. The second restaurant sounds like it was a disaster though! As does the pizza place, ah well 1 for 2 I guess :D


Comment by dog c
2009-07-05 10:27:13

on the farmhouse -
While owners get credit for country style food cooking, they have been irresponsible in designing a system of over sell and profound food waste. They serve bowls of food at the table family style that includes everything on the menu- beans, corn, biscuits, corn bread, green beans, chicken, pork, country steak, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetable soup, gravy, etc. If you are a huge eater, and find $20 a person a reasonable charge, or if you are a family of 5 small children, you may enjoy the food which is very good. The difference from the restaurant and the real home, is that a good family would not throw away leftovers. Here, you pay for $20 worth of food, eat $10 and they throw away the rest. It is sinful. They do not care because you paid. If their market is to those who enjoy all you can eat, at least they could do is have it buffet style so you only take what you need or allow variations on the amount, type of food by more select ordering. They do this for the desserts allowing you one, and of course, if you aren’t ready for it, there is no take out. This all you can eat mentality is what contributes to our over weight population, and it is embarrassing to Americans that we could so easily be wasteful and unappreciative of our fortune. When I expressed to management that the waste was sinful, they said most people have no problem eating it all. They said if they allowed you to take leftovers, people would just order more. I hope that they find the niche they want, but be aware of your eating habits if you go there.

Comment by Jogos de Meninas
2009-07-15 14:35:09

Old Mill sounds interesting!

Comment by Michael
2009-08-24 06:11:33

I was not in these restaurants, but in the future intends to visit …. And the prices are very reasonable…

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