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Blog > Pigeon Forge News 2015
No matter your size, age or gender—we all eat!  Do you like Mexican, Italian or good ole’ American home cooking? 

Regardless of what you are craving, Pigeon Forge has some great restaurants that are affordable but showcase the diversity of the Smokies!

Here is a list of the top budget-friendly restaurants in Pigeon Forge:

  • Smokies Cuban Café
  • Mel’s Diner
  • Blue Moose Burgers and Wings
  • Fusion Cafe
  • Log Cabin Pancake House
  • Poynor’s Pommes Frites
  • Mellow Mushroom
  • Smoky Mountain Brewery
  • Red Rooster Pancake House
  • Huck Finn’s Catfish & Chicken
  • Mam’s Farmhouse
No matter where you choose to eat, you will find that the Great Smoky Mountains has some great eats at an even better price!  If you haven’t caught up on our budget-friendly Smokies series, check out Part 1: Planning Vacation on Budget with Kids and Part 2: Planning a Vacation on Budget with a Large Group.

Posted: 5/27/2015 7:23:03 PM by Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt | with 0 comments

At Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina, they are building a dynamic and authentically inspired fast yet casual Mexican brand, offering scrumptious food that is made the way you want it and prepared every day in-house.

From addictive chips guests truly rave about, to queso, customizable burritos, tacos, salads, bowls, quesadillas, nachos, signature salsas and fresh-made guacamole, Salsarita’s Fresh Cantina thrives on making great Mexican fare fresh daily.

Since humble beginnings in Charlotte, NC in 2000, Salsarita’s ha worked to perfect the notion that a restaurant should be fast and friendly but also casual and delicious like no other. Today, there are locations in 19 states with many more to come!

Casual. Creative. Quick. Comfortable. Guests return time and again for the bright and colorful atmosphere, fresh recipes prepared daily in-store, and the great people who serve with a smile.

If you’re craving fresh Mexican during your next trip to Pigeon Forge, Salsarita’s has it covered. Taste the Fresh Cantina difference!
Posted: 5/26/2015 7:22:15 PM by Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt | with 0 comments

All the kids are home and you've got a full house-- yep, it's summer break! The pool is opening and everyone is in and out all the time doing fun, summer activities.  With all the running around you're going to be doing, you're going to need some refreshments and cool you off to keep energized.

Here are our top favorite recipes for summer:

Southern Sweet Iced Tea
  • Ingredients:
    • 6 regular tea bags
    • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
    • 2 cups boiling water
    • 1 ½- 2 cups sugar
    • 6 cups cold water
  • Directions:
    • In a large glass measuring cup place the tea bags and add the baking soda.
    • Pour the boiling water over the tea bags.
    • Cover and steep for 15 minutes.
    • Take out the tea bags and do not squeeze them.
    • Pour the tea mixture into a 2-quart pitcher; add sugar.
    • Stir Until the sugar is disolved.
    • Add in the cold water.
    • Let cool; chill in refrigerator and serve over ice.
Summer Corn and Bean Dip
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. veg. oil
  • 1/4 c. white vinegar
  • Heat til sugar dissolves (just beyond boiling)
  • Set aside and let cool.
  • 2 cans Blackeyed Peas (drain and rinse)
  • 1 can white Shoepeg Corn (drained)
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 purple onion
  • (All cut up very small. ) (Don't do in food processor it makes it runny.
  • Mix all and pour the liquid mixture over it.

Classic Deviled Eggs
  • Ingredients:
    • 6 eggs
    • ¼ cup mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • Smoked Spanish paprika OR our personal favorite, bacon bits, for garnish
  • Directions:    
    • Place eggs in a single layer in a saucepan and cover with enough water that there are 1 ½ inches of water above the eggs.  Heat on high until water begins to boil, then cover, turn the heat on low, and cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat and leave covered for 14 minutes, then rinse under cold water continuously for 1 minute.
    • Crack eggs shells and carefully peel under cool running water.  Gently dry with paper towels. Slice the egg in half lengthwise, removing yolks to a medium bowl, and placing the whites on a serving platter.  Mash the yolks into a fine crumble using a fork.  Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well.
    • Evenly disperse heaping teaspoons of the yolk mixture into the egg whites.  Sprinkle paprika or bacon bits and serve.
  • Recipe from Mary Nolan.

Mediterranean Pasta Salad
  • Ingredients:
    • 1 pound of dried fusili/rotini pasta (or whichever pasta shape you like- bowties work well to)
    • 1 large cucumber, diced
    • 1 pint grape tomatoes, sliced in half
    • ½ red onion, diced
    • 1 cup kalamata olives, pitted and coarsely chopped
    • 1 ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
    • 5 ounces hard salami, sliced into ½ -inch thick rounds and then quartered
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
    • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Direction:
    • Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box then drain well and place in a large bowl.
    • Add the cucumber, tomatoes, red onion, olives, feta, and hard salami on top.
    • In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper.
    • Pour over pasta mixture and toss well to coat.
    • Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours (6 works best).
    • Serve chilled.

Pesto Grilled Shrimp:
  • Ingredients:
    • ½ cup basil, packed
    • 1 small clove garlic
    • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
    • 2 tablespoons parmesan, grated
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon lemon joice
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Directions:
    • Pulse the basil, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan, oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a food processor or blender until smooth.
    • Marinate shrimp in the pesto for at least 20 minutes, up to overnight, in the fridge.
    • Skewer the shrimp and grill over medium-high heat until cooked, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Heirloom Tomato Pie
  • Ingredients:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • ¾ cup yellow cornmeal
    • ¾ teaspoon fine salt
    • 1 stick cold, unsalted butter, cut into ½ – inch pieces
    • ¾ cup plus 3 tablespoons shredded manchego cheese
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 ¼ pounds mixed heirloom tomatoes Kosher slat
    • ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
    • ¼ cup mayonnaise
    • 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    • Freshly ground pepper
  • Directions:
    • Make the crust: Pulse the flour, cornmeal and fine salt in a food processor to combine. Add the butter and 3 tablespoons manchego; pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal with pea-size bits of butter. Drizzle in 4 tablespoons ice water and pulse until the dough comes together; add 1 more tablespoon ice water if necessary. Turn out onto a sheet of plastic wrap and pat into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 45 minutes.
    • Put the dough between 2 sheets of parchment paper and roll into a 13-inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie plate. Fold the overhang under itself and crimp the edges. Pierce the bottom of the crust all over with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Line the crust with foil, then fill with dried beans. Bake until the edges are golden, about 20 minutes. Remove the foil and beans and continue baking until golden all over, 10 to 15 more minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool.
    • Make the filling: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Meanwhile, thinly slice the tomatoes; toss with 1 teaspoon kosher salt in a colander. Let drain, gently tossing occasionally, about 30 minutes.
    • Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F. Combine the remaining 3/4 cup manchego, the mozzarella, mayonnaise, breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons each chives and parsley, the thyme, 1/4 teaspoon each kosher salt and pepper, and the sauteed onion in a bowl. Spread in the crust. Arrange the tomatoes on top. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with pepper. Bake until the tomatoes are browned, about 50 minutes. Top with the remaining 1 tablespoon each chives and parsley.
  • Recipe from Food Network Magazine.

Whether you're cooking from a long day poolside or getting ready for big family and friends cookout, all of these recipes are great for any summer occasion! These recipes and more can be found on our Pinterest page. If you have more summer recipes, please share with us!

Get outside and get to cooking to make the most of this summer!
Posted: 5/22/2015 1:37:22 PM by Jessica Bookstaff Doppelt | with 0 comments

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Laughing until we had tears. I’ve never seen anything like the look on my kids’ faces when we drove down the Parkway past Pigeon Forge attractions. Our hotel was so vibrant and the staff was upbeat and helpful. Pigeon Forge is the brightest spot in the Smoky Mountains. The high energy (and clean language) shows we saw in theaters had everyone in my family clapping their hands…even “sour” Uncle George.

Mary Parker - Mobile, AL

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