Parents, can we just be honest? Even when we treat our kids to a fun-filled day at Dollywood, oftentimes, there’s still whining involved, isn’t there? Allow me to help you out with food options that will (hopefully) save you some family strife.
Miss Lillian’s Smokehouse and Fried Chicken (located in Craftsman’s Valley) – There’s something REALLY appealing about freedom of choice when it comes to young kids—and that, my friend, is the beauty of a buffet. Miss Lillian’s offers Southern cooking AND entertainment. Find Miss Lillian tossing guests some fresh, hot biscuits just out of the oven (yes, that happens). Or, you may be pulled into her improv-song-writing where she’ll ask you to dance as a chicken as she serenades you. Kids eat it up. Pun intended.
Aunt Granny’s Buffet (located in Rivertown Junction) – This favorite park eatery has been a staple at Dollywood since it first opened. I’ve heard adults say it’s the kind of place you save room for when you know you’re coming. Kids love it because you can find mini corndogs, a taco bar, and self-serve soft-serve ice cream.
Red’s Drive-In (located in Jukebox Junction) – While this spot may serve some of the traditional-theme-park- food (i.e., burgers, chili cheese fries, milkshakes), it also has salad options for moms and Uncrustables® for your younger, pickier eaters. The reason I put it on my list, though, is because of the atmosphere. It’s just a fun place to eat a good burger—kids enjoy the 50’s diner theming—and if you time your meal just right, you can enjoy a few A Capella doo-wop tunes from the Gem Tones!
Grandstand Café (located in Country Fair) – You’ll bump right into Grandstand Café as it’s in the midway of Country Fair—in the heart of an area that captures kids’ hearts with games and rides. Here, you’ll find the best of fair food. And, to keep up with changing taste buds, the menu also changes. Thank you, Dollywood Food Team! This year, the chicken bites have been quite popular among the youngsters.
Frannie’s Food Truck (located in Jukebox Junction) – Got hungry kids? You can’t go wrong with a fried chicken sandwich and crinkle-cut fries. To boot, food trucks are non-traditional fun. Children get a kick out of ordering from someone inside a big truck and then finding a spot to eat their food. I always look for room on the patio outside of Red’s!
While the above list is my favorite recommendations for young families, I want to be thorough and mention a few other things–
-If your family has food allergies, you need to check out Front Porch Café. Their team is awesome at accommodating your dietary needs.
-I’ve talked about a lot of Southern satisfiers, but know that there’s also healthy options like fresh fruit and vegetables. Look for these menu items at some of the quick stop locations, like Sky View Snacks.
-Also remember, cups of water are free anywhere there’s a soda machine.
-And, what’s a trip to Dollywood without a visit to the Grist Mill for the famous cinnamon bread? This may not constitute a meal, but it’s worth your time! And/or, make the last stop of the day the Sweet Shoppe for some homemade confections or an ice cream cone to go. Just walk inside and you’ll see why it’s the kind of place kids dream of.
-With all that I did include, it doesn’t even scratch the surface of the MANY dining options you have at Dollywood. Happy grubbing!