Culinary — 28 January 2014
Taste the peaceful side of the Smoky Mountains in and around Maryville, Tennessee.

By Hope S. Philbrick

In this particular case, I can blame the government for the weight I gained on a press trip.

The original itinerary included hiking in the United States’ No. 1 most popular National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We didn’t do it. Blame Congress, not laziness. The timing of this trip just so happened to coincide with the government shutdown, thus the park and all roads into it were closed.

So while you may Eat & Burn—and I do recommend you visit the park to enjoy its natural beauty and burn calories—all I did was eat.

I’m not complaining.

The food was scrumptious. Among the tasty discoveries…

The Chocolate B’ar
This cozy shop serves candy, pastries, cookies, ice cream, coffee and chocolate drinks. Chocolatier Bill Kraft’s signature creation is a dark chocolate cup filled with dark chocolate ganache and topped with marshmallow crème. Hand-dipped nut clusters are another popular items on the menu, but it’s not like you could go wrong with any treat. Coffee beans are from local roaster Vienna Coffee House.
The Chocolate Bar on Urbanspoon

Dancing Bear Lodge & Restaurant
Gorgeous space, superb dining and top-notch service—delivered by everyone from the server to the sommelier to the adorable, talented Chef David Rule. In a word: Fantastic. Read the full review.

Firefly Café
Firefly Cafe Owned by Deborah Lee, a restaurateur for more than 25 years, this locals’ favorite serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lee says that she believes “in lighting up people’s lives” and “it is just as important to feed the soul as it is the body.” The café is named for that philosophy as well as the famed Synchronous Fireflies found in the Smokies (a species found only here and in Asia). Servings are generous, so arrive hungry and ready to focus on flavor, but forget your calorie-counter.
Firefly Cafe on Urbanspoon

Full Service BBQ
This former gas station has been converted and now fills stomachs with some of the best barbecue to be found in Tennessee. Read the full review.

KupKatie’s KupKakes
KupKatie'sWhether you favor a high frosting-to-cake ratio or prefer the balance tilt in the other direction, something on this menu will satisfy: Most menu items tower with frosting but some classic flavors have more modest tops. Owner Katie McKinney Rayburn is as sweet as her treats and is the “exclusive baker of MoonPie cupcakes.” The menu boasts 80 flavor combinations; the best-seller is peanut butter cup. KupKakes are available in three sizes: mini, household and the large KupKaties.
KupKatie's KupKakes on Urbanspoon

The Market
The Market in Maryville TNModeled after European grocers, “the concept, which launched in September 2008, is to bring a number of experts from different fields together under one roof,” says general manager Mike Adams. “We stock as many locally-driven products as we can,” including meats, produce, bakery goods, dairy products, packaged foods and more than 300 craft beers. Open seven days a week, this is where to stop and shop before leaving the area to fill that cooler in your trunk with tasty goodies to savor at home.
The Market on Urbanspoon

Smoky Mountain Brewery
Smoky Mountain BreweryThe concept first launched in 1996 in Gatlinburg and is a community mainstay in Maryville after just three years in this location. Brew master Marty Velas trained in Germany and has 35 years of experience, skill that comes through each sip of beer. “Drinkability is my main objective,” he says. Menu items like soft pretzels, Philly cheesesteak, cheeseburger sliders, Buffalo chicken pizza and ale steak skewers are all beer-friendly.
Smoky Mountain Brewery on Urbanspoon

Vienna Coffee House
Vienna Coffee House & RoasterOpen since 2010, this is Maryville’s neighborhood coffee house—and you may well wish they’d open a branch near you. The menu features espresso drinks and freshly roasted specialty coffees from the adjacent Vienna Coffee Company Roastery as well as a variety of teas and yummy fresh baked goods.
Vienna Coffee House on Urbanspoon

More Food-Related Fun…

Bush Beans Visitor Center
Bush's BeansLocated in Chestnut Hill, you can see the original A.J. Bush & Company general store (circa 1897), watch two films to learn about the company history and brand marketing strategies, stroll through a museum, eat in the café, and shop in the extensive general store (which is like Cracker Barrel, but bigger; and not everything in it is emblazoned with the Bush’s Beans logo). Download Bush’s Pinto Bean Pie recipe.

Oven Art
Oven Art 100% edible designer cakesThese gorgeous designer cakes in downtown Maryville will make you want to get married or throw some sort of party just for an excuse to get one. Every detail on every cake is 100 percent edible, insists owner and cake artist Lisa S. Cunningham. Incredible.

Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine
At the distillery in Gatlinburg, you can push through the crowds for a tour and tasting at Tennessee’s first legal moonshine producer. Located in the heart of a very busy tourism center, “The Holler” is America’s most visited distillery.

Ole Smoky TN Moonshine"The Holler"Odds of Encountering Children are extremely high; we even saw some kids at the bar, though they weren’t being served.

More Information…

The Peaceful Side of the Smokies

- Photos  © HSP Media LLC

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. She’s reviewed restaurants for several Atlanta-based newspapers and magazines for more than 10 years. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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