Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dining in the Smokies: Pottery House Cafe #TravelTuesday

One of the things our family loves most about visiting Pigeon Forge is the dining options. For southerners who somehow ended up living in the midwest, getting "back home" for the southern style cooking is something we look forward to every year. The Pigeon Forge area has some of the best dining options in any area or region of the country I've ever visited. Of course there is a wealth of southern cooking restaurants, but that's not all they offer. One of our family's favorite restaurants in the Smokies is the Pottery House Cafe, located in the Old Mill neighborhood of Pigeon Forge. The first time we dined at this cafe, it was on a friend's recommendation. We were very thankful he mentioned Pottery House to us because it immediately became one of our favorites as well, and we visit every year.

Pottery House Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and also offer brunch on the weekends. This year, we made our plans to visit on a Sunday evening, after most of the dinner crowd was gone. Every time we visit, the place is packed with people waiting outside for a table to open up. Thankfully, Pottery House Cafe has a great system in place: walk in, add your name to the waiting list, then walk and enjoy the shops nearby and they will text your phone as soon as your table is ready. I love that we're not stuck sitting on a bench in the restaurant just waiting for the opportunity to eat. There's a lovely waiting area set up outside, or, as I mentioned, there are many shops right there to visit. We walked down to the Old Mill Farmhouse Kitchen to browse while waiting. This little gem of a store gives you the opportunity to buy everything you need to make an Old Mill meal in your own home. The perfect souvenirs to take home so you can enjoy a taste of the Smokies no matter how far away you live!

Within about 15 minutes, my phone buzzed with a text from the Pottery House Cafe letting me know our table was ready. We walked down and were quickly seated and offered beverages and menus. It took a few minutes for us to decide what we wanted to eat. There are so many options from soups and salads, sandwiches, burgers, teaks, seafood, chicken, and BBQ. Two of us opted for the Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ sandwich, which is served on a kaiser roll with cole slaw and fries. Because I don't eat cole slaw, I asked about substituting the fresh fruit cup and our waiter was quick to note the change. M was in the mood for soup (it was a brisk fall day) and opted for tomato basil soup served in a bread bowl. While waiting for our food, our waiter brought a dish of freshly-made bread and butter, which we quickly devoured. I'm known as the bread snob in our family, and let me tell you-Pottery House Cafe's bread passes the test! In fact, even though I'm supposed to be cutting back on carbs, I ate three pieces of this bread!

Our food was served in a good amount of time-not so fast we didn't have time to enjoy our bread (obviously) but not so long that we were sitting there bored and hungry, either. As he delivered the food to our table, our server made sure we had everything we needed; refills, condiments, etc. We promptly asked a blessing on our food and then proceeded to "dig in"! The Carolina Pork BBQ sandwich had that perfect balance of bbq sauce. I don't like a whole lot of sauce on my bbq, just enough to enhance the flavor, not drown it. This was bbq-sauce-to-meat rationing perfection! The meat was tender and very flavorful. Honestly, my the only part of the bbq I didn't care for quite as much was the sauce. I prefer the sweet sauces, and this was made with a vinegar base that was a little more tangy than I normally eat. Still very good, just not my personal preference. The meal was delicious though, and yes,  I ate every bite. The fries and fruit cup were the perfect sides (in my opinion). I loved the fresh pineapple and grapes, especially. Most of the time when you order a "fresh" fruit cup at a restaurant, you end up with a few soft, mushy grapes and if there's pineapple anywhere in the cup, it's generally one little piece of sour fruit. Not at the Pottery House! This was really fresh fruit, and every piece was delicious!

M thoroughly enjoyed her tomato basil soup, almost as much as she enjoyed eating her bowl! She even offered me a taste, and it was certainly the perfect choice for the cool October evening. Again, the bread bowl was freshly baked, and passed my bread deliciousness meter with flying colors.

When we were finished eating, our waiter asked if we wanted dessert. We were absolutely stuffed-no way were we getting even a bite of pie down, although we knew from the past just how good the pies are at Pottery House. Our experience at the Pottery House was just what we expected-southern service and delicious food. The staff were all super friendly, and our waiter was observant and provided everything we needed without us feeling like he was hovering. He checked back multiple times through our meal to make sure we had refills, more bread, etc, but wasn't that annoying server that is constantly appearing over your shoulder. We left the Pottery House Cafe satisfied and definitely full! The prices are definitely fair, especially for the amount and quality of food you get. This is one restaurant you have to visit whenever you're in the Pigeon Forge area!

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