I know that when I travel to Gatlinburg one food that I have to get is a burger. I do not know why, but the hamburgers in Gatlinburg always seem to taste better than what I buy at home. I am sure you are the same way, but the major issue I have and others have is finding the best hamburger restaurant in Gatlinburg. That is why I decided to rank what I feel are the 5 best hamburger restaurants in Gatlinburg.
It is important to note that I am not a food critic nor am I what people would consider a foodie. With that being the case, this is based off of my own personal taste and just like everything the taste of my family. My husband is not that picky about burgers, but my kids if they are not done right will let you know. So they definitely helped me in getting the list of the 5 best hamburger restaurants in Gatlinburg narrowed down.
How Did I Narrow Down My List Of Hamburger Restaurants in Gatlinburg
As I said I did use my family for their opinions on the restaurants, but I used other factors as well. No the way that I narrowed it down is not limited to the same as the Kentucky Fried Chicken recipe. Instead, I am going to share them with you here so you can find out for yourself if you like my methods or not.
The selection of hamburgers that are on the menu was one of the top things I used. If you are running a hamburger restaurant and only serve a plain hamburger obviously that would not make it on my list. I definitely want to have a choice in hamburgers and types when I am eating a hamburger on vacation.
In addition to the selection of the burgers I want to find a burger that is of decent size. I mean if I wanted a little hamburger to eat I would buy my own ground beef and cook my burger at home and let it shrink. So I want a burger that holds its size and is enough to fill me up so I do not want to order everything off the dessert menu.
Cooking a hamburger is important, but I want to get my hamburger cooked the way I want to have it cooked. For example, if the restaurant does not ask I would expect the burger to be well done. However, if you are at a higher class restaurant than fast food they typically ask how you want the burger cooked. This makes it easier for you to get the burger you and have it cooked like you would at home.
The side dishes may not be the main focus of this article covering the best hamburger restaurants in Gatlinburg, but I like knowing what side dishes are available. Yes, it is not the main focal point, but if I can get fries with the burger or if the restaurant only serves a side salad it can sway where I want to eat depending on what my taste are that day.
Finally, I know this part is kind of limited currently because of the COVID pandemic, but I like to gauge the atmosphere of the restaurant. This means the music that is playing, the seating, and even the way the wait staff treats everyone. If a restaurant feels like a funeral parlor it is a downer compared to a restaurant that is lively and upbeat.
Smoky Mountain Brewery
The Smoky Mountain Brewery in Gatlinburg is definitely a must stop location if you want a good burger and beer in Gatlinburg. Yes, it is a microbrewery, but honestly you are going to struggle to find a better hamburger in Gatlinburg. Not to mention, the location is very easy for you to find when you are in town and this makes it easier to get the food you want to eat.
When it comes to the selection of the burgers I found the selection is wide ranging here. They have everything from a basic hamburger, which my daughter enjoys to a cheeseburger for my youngest son. Those are the basic hamburgers , but if you want a unique hamburger the menu selection has roughly 12 different choices.
In the different choices for the hamburgers you can find a chicken burger. Yes, ground chicken can be made into a hamburger. I know the selection of the chicken burgers is limited, but it will provide you with a couple of different options you can enjoy.
As far as my favorite hamburger from Smoky Mountain Brewery I tend to go to the Thunder Road Burger. The burger has plenty of flavor and the combination of blue cheese, bacon, and the sauce is a perfect blend. Now, the best part is this is how I got my husband to start to eat Blue Cheese and I have to admit, I now use it as a blue cheese butter to put on my steaks that I cook at home.
The selection of sides is not that varied as what you can find at most restaurants. However, I did find it interesting, not that I ordered it, that braised spinach is available as a side. For me, though, when I am eating here and want to get my stomach full I tend to opt to the basket of fries.
Timbers Log Cabin Restaurant
Timbers Log Cabin Restaurant is not in Gatlinburg proper, but it is near Gatlinburg off of Glades Road. This does mean you have to drive out 321 to reach the restaurant. You will not be disappointed, though, as the drive is a nice one and it is not that far of a drive even.
As a word of warning do not make the same mistake I have made and think you can go to the restaurant for dinner. No, it closes early to mid-afternoon in most cases and typically is not open after 4. I found out the hard way about that one day and did have to come back out, but trust me I was not disappointed when I did come back.
I am going to touch on the burgers, but really quick wanted to let you know about the atmosphere. With the location being in the area towards the Gatlinburg Arts & Crafts community the building has a rustic feel to it. Timber Log as the name implies is set up like a cabin. The best part is the food is along the homemade style which gives me the homey type of feel that I do tend to miss when I am on vacation.
Now, at Timbers the selection of burgers is not as large as Smoky Mountain Brewery, but the quality of the food is just as good. Just like most places when you order a burger from Timbers you can find the normal regular and cheeseburger. Now, if you have picky kids you may have to customize the order as lettuce and tomato is included. I know for me I have to customize the order to hold those for my kids.
As for my taste, I tend to gravitate to the Grateful Dead Burger. Yes, Timbers does have a blue cheese, bacon burger, but I like this burger. I would actually have to say this burger is more like a mushroom bacon cheeseburger. However, the size is a third of a pound and that tends to be a fairly large burger and can fill me up.
When you do order a burger you get one side included. I know most people tend to go towards fries, but they are not available under the fry name. Instead, you have to get what is called house potato’s. These are really good and are hand sliced, but instead of being fried in vegetable oil they are fried in olive oil to help keep the health factor up.
Landshark Bar & Grill
If the name does not give it away this is the restaurant that is located near the Margaritaville resort. Well, as a lot of people have commented with the location and it is purely based off of the name of the restaurant is the view of the beach. Now, if you are looking for a beach in Gatlinburg with the ocean, though, you are going to be disappointed in what you can see.
When I did look at the Landshark menu I will admit it is very limited in the choice of burgers and in the sides available. That is a definite knock on the restaurant if you are like me and want a variety of burgers to pick from. However, after looking over the menu I found out why it is limited in the types of burgers as each one is unique.
If you are looking for a plain hamburger it is hard to find on the menu and often will require some customization on your part. In fact, the Landshark burger comes with cheese, lettuce, and tomato along with the signature sauce. For me this is a limiting factor as it is a lot of customization and for my kids is a major turnoff because they do not like having to order food and then make changes to the menu to suit their needs.
Outside of the Landshark burger I only found 4 other burger options on the menu. Yes, 4 is all that I found on the menu. That is not that big of an issue, but once you start to think about the other places having 10-12 variations of a hamburger this is an extremely small selection.
As a way to address the limited selection, I would imagine anyways, the bar and grill offers the burgers in several different types of meat. I found you can get almost all of the burgers in chicken, turkey, or a veggie burger. For my own taste, I tend to go towards the reliable Angus burgers.
I found the burger that I enjoyed the most from Landshark Bar & Grill in Gatlinburg is the BBQ burger. I know BBQ sauce on a burger is odd and it definitely is different, but it is a decent burger. It is very important if you get this burger to make sure you get extra napkins to guarantee you can clean up your mess.
The sides menu is very limited and kind of disappointing to me. The side that is included is the restaurants signature lattice chips. Well, I do not mind lattice chips, but I can tell you that not everyone wants them. If you do not want to have the lattice chips, you ca substitute it for French fries or a Caeser or house side salad. If you are like me, though, those options may not seem like the best option on the menu.
Calhoun’s is a Gatlinburg main stay type of restaurant that has a wide variety of food options. Yes, I know this article is focusing on hamburger restaurants, I found the restaurant to be great all around location. Not to mention, I do love the fact that it is very easy to reach the restaurant and enjoy the food that you are looking for.
I know I wanted to include only places that have a large selection of burgers, but Calhoun’s won out on the list because of the quality of the burgers. The downside is the hamburger selection is limited to only 3 hamburgers to pick from.
Something else that helped push Calhoun’s into the list of the top hamburger restaurants in Gatlinburg is the size of the burgers. Before the hamburgers are cooked they are made with 8 ounces of fresh ground beef. Yes, the beef is ground fresh daily which helps with the quality as well and lets you know the burgers are not being made with ground beef that was bought a couple of months earlier.
The burgers at Calhoun’s are a lot of the KISS approach I would say and that actually suits my kids perfectly. My kids had exactly what they wanted to have as an option of a regular hamburger or a cheeseburger. As an added bonus and if they wanted they were able to add on bacon on their burger and it only cost an extra 99 cents.
With the limited selection of burgers I do have to say the choice is limited. At the same time, though, I have to say the burger that I love to eat here is the Calhoun’s Hickory Burger. The burger here is one that does have the same as a regular cheeseburger, but has the added bonus of bacon and BBQ sauce. Just like the BBQ burger from Landshark make sure you have plenty of napkins to help clean up your mess.
Now, with Calhoun’s you do have several different sides available. The choice for a single side is varied and if you want a change of pace from the typical French fries, then you have to try out the smoky mountain beans. The beans definitely provide a great change of pace and are tasty, but filling as well.
Johnny Rockets – Hamburger Restaurants In Gatlinburg
I tried to stay away from what I would consider to be a chain type of restaurant when looking for hamburger restaurants in Gatlinburg. Well, at times it is hard to avoid and that is what I found with Johnny Rockets. The restaurant is more of a retro chain type, but I have to admit Johnny Rockets does have some of the best milkshakes I have ever had. Yes, I know varying from the hamburger part again.
When it comes to the atmosphere here I have to say it is more along the lines of being a booth type of sit down restaurant, but it is not that bad of a place to go and enjoy a burger. I guess you could consider it more of a throwback diner style of restaurant to enjoy.
Now, I will let you know that if you want a plain burger you do have to do some customization and that makes it difficult for my kids as noted above. However, the burgers are worth the headache of having to get the customization completed for the kids to have a good burger. The only issue is I have to be the one who orders the food that way as my kids are too shy to order it with customizations.
With a total of 7 different burgers to pick from it makes it easier for me to find a burger that will suit my needs. The best part is the burgers make it easier for me to find the burger that really suits my needs and taste which I really like.
I have to say the burger I love from Johnny Rockets is the Spicy Houston. This burger may be too spicy for some so as a disclaimer if you suffer from any condition that is triggered by spicy food avoid this burger. However, the combination of jalapenos with the pepper jack cheese it is a great burger. Johnny Rockets, though, kicked it up a notch by putting an amazing Smokin’ Chipotle Ranch on the burger.
The burgers are all served on a Brioche Bun, which is a positive as well. However, at the same time the bun can be substituted if you want, for me I prefer the Brioche bun. With the burgers if you do not want to have a change of pace you can substitute it with chicken or turkey at an added cost. For me, though, I really like the traditional hamburgers.
The selection of sides is limited to fries and tater tots, but it will definitely be good. The downside is the sides do cost extra. That can lead to the cost of the burgers going up and potentially more than what you expected them to cost. However, the cost is worth it and the food is pretty good as well.
Pick The Best Hamburger Restaurants In Gatlinburg
As you can tell, I did quite a bit of research to find the best hamburger restaurant in Gatlinburg. The city has tons of great options, but I found what I feel are the best ones. With that being said, I am sure everyone who goes to Gatlinburg has their own opinion of which one of the restaurants sells the best hamburgers. No matter what, make sure you consider these great hamburger restaurants in Gatlinburg.