Dollywood has become a destination for foodies. This year alone we’ve attracted the attention of People Magazine, Food & Wine, Forbes.com, and BuzzFeed because of our culinary offerings. (Yes, you should click on each link to read about the yummy food throughout our properties!)
We also work with foodie influencers. I got to hang with a group last week and thought that the trek we took may be good insight to share if you, too, are a foodie at heart.
Spotlight Bakery and Sandwich Shop
This should be your first (or last!) stop of the day since it is right next to the turnstiles. If only to gawk at the 25 lb. apple pie, it’s worth a stroll through the bakery. But, eating is always better than looking. Grab a few friends and tackle this treat.
Sweet Shoppe and Candy Kitchen
Walk across the street if you want to polish off that apple pie with a scoop of ice cream.
I’m kidding. (Sort of.)
But seriously, it’s also fun to watch the master craftsmen make homemade candy in this shop. And, there’s always something new to try!
Front Porch Café
Walk a little further down Showstreet and I always like to point out Front Porch Cafe because it’s the best Dollywood eatery that’s able to accommodate food allergies. Plus, they make a mean meatloaf stacker! My other recs include the biscuits and Dolly’s Banana Pudding.
If you visit Dollywood during one of our amazing festivals, you will likely see specialty food in the booths around Market Square. Take the time to see what’s on the menu. During Festival of Nations, I fell in love with the bulgogi nachos and during our Barbecue & Bluegrass Festival I really liked the chicken legs and dirty rice. I think something about these items being available only for a limited time make them taste even better!
True foodies appreciate trying new flavors. Stop by Kettle Korn. They’re always trying something new! Plus, it’s a perfect Boomerang opportunity as they use the big paddle to stir the pot!
Unless you’re a Dollywood novice, you’ve probably heard (or at least seen) Aunt Granny’s. It’s been around since the beginning. I think of this as our flagship restaurant. If you want a buffet, look no further. This is southern food done well—everything you’d expect to find and more.
Dollywood has one heck of a chicken sandwich. Did you know that? The not-so-secret secret is that we marinate the chicken breasts in pickle juice! (Don’t knock it until you try it.) At Grandstand Café (in the Country Fair area of the park) it can be dressed as a club sandwich, or you can go simple. If you’re a chicken sandwich kind of person, this is sure to be a repeat meal on your next visit.
I enjoy walking foodies by our Bar-B-Q Corner. It’s such a great photo op! The turkey legs look good, smell good and taste even better.
I’m pretty sure I’d get fired if I failed to mention our Grist Mill. This is where you can find our world-famous cinnamon bread. Think I exaggerate when I tell you it’s the best thing you’ll eat on your trip? Try it for yourself. Several foodies have live-streamed their first experience eating Dollywood’s cinnamon bread and their followers *ate it up.* [Pun very much intended]
You can get apple butter or icing to dip it. I’m more of a purist. But arguments can be made either way…
Ham N Beans
Continue your trek up through the valley and you’ll need to stop at Granny Ogle’s Ham N Beans. I love that you can sit down for a good home-cooked meal like Grandma makes while you’re visiting Dollywood. Your first course here is always cornbread. May I suggest getting an appetizer of deviled eggs? (You get four for just $2!) Or, try the pork rinds and pimento cheese. It’s our take on chips and dip. The pot roast is my favorite entrée, though you can’t go wrong with just about anything. The cassoulet featuring BUSHS Beans is very good. Whatever you do, please save room for dessert—either the cobbler or the Lemon Blueberry Skillet Cake.
With the rise of the Keto Diet, I’ve seen an increased popularity in this park staple. Even if you don’t eat them, pause for 30 seconds to watch our hosts make a fresh, hot batch. It’s another golden opportunity for a social post!
Splinter’s Funnel Cakes
We are a theme park. You can’t forget the funnel cakes. But, remember, we’re Dollywood. We like to keep things interesting. Try the Fruity Pebbles Funnel Cake that’s new this year! The group of foodies I was with said they were pleasantly surprised with this item. They gave it two thumbs up and said they’d get it again.
Till & Harvest
Chances are you’ve heard of our new land—Wildwood Grove. Well, for foodies, there’s two new venues that you must check out. Till & Harvest boasts a menu of Smoky Mountain Mexican food. What is Smoky Mountain Mexican, you ask? It’s our take on some traditional entrees—perhaps throw in some grits…
Sweets and Treats
The second Wildwood Grove eating option is a walk-up window adjacent to Till & Harvest. There aren’t many items on the menu, but maybe that’s a good excuse to try one of everything. I’m particularly interested in the popcorn chicken and the churro sundaes.
What I shared above is not a complete list. It’s just the stops I highlighted during a recent foodie event. Though you may want to try, I don’t believe your stomach could handle stopping at every suggested location in one visit. But, I just gave you several reasons to return to Dollywood again and again especially if exploring food is in your list of things to do this fall. You’re welcome.