Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
628 Parkway Gatlinburg, TN
Review by Rosie, DancingQueen, PandaCat, GrandUgg
Pancake houses and other breakfast type eateries are Wookieehut-denizen favorites and this place is destined to join the pantheon. A couple of us had been to Gatlinburg many years ago on family vacations and one of the standout memories was breakfast at this amazing place. We couldn't quite remember the name, but we knew it would still be there so it was just a matter of walking around till we spotted it.|
Located right on the main drag of this kitschy southern tourist trap town, the Pancake Pantry is an institution. Local hotels even recommend it to their guests over their own complimentary continental breakfasts. We realized that it would be crowded so we knew we would need to get there early if we didn't want to wait all morning to be seated. Fortunately, even after our long day's drive the day before, we managed to wake up and get to the Pancake Pantry before the wait got to be too long.
The fašade of the place was built from logs to evoke the log cabins of the surrounding mountains, but the large curved picture window in the front reminded us more of an alpine lodge not entirely out of place really. More complementary.
A hostess in street clothes (a pretty summer dress) seated us within minutes of arrival. Because of its popularity, large parties must all be present before being seated. Many, many tables are squeezed into the space, but not to the point that it is painful for patrons or wait staff to move between them. Our waitress, in a traditional black uniform and white apron, appeared immediately offering us fruit cups for instant refreshment and inquiring about our drink requests. Coffee, chocolate milk, and apple juice appeared in a trice, then she left us to peruse the many pancake, waffle, crepe, and egg options on offer. These were presented in a proper menu, but the paper placemats highlighted the specialty pancakes for which the Pantry was justifiably famous.
PandaCat had been told about the chocolate chip pancakes and could not wait to sample them along with a side of bacon. She was not disappointed as we could see from the melted chocolate we had to tell her to wipe from her face. The rest of us decided on sweet potato pancakes, Parisienne pancakes, and wild berry pancakes. The Parisienne and wild berry were thinner than normal pancakes; more like crepes and filled with a delicious, sweet cream cheese mixture with strawberries and a compote of five different wild berries spooned over them. The sweet potato pancakes were spiced with cinnamon and reminded us of pumpkin pie. Smoky bacon done to just the right level of chewy crispness added exactly the right contrast to the sweetness of the pancakes.
The prices of the specialty pancakes were not inexpensive. They ranged from $6.25 to $11.00 and beverages, sides, and those fruit cups were extra, but breakfast for four of us came out to right around $50 well worth it and a promise to ourselves to go back for one more breakfast before leaving. We did return on our last morning to fortify ourselves for the long drive home.
One almost wishes that a place like the Pancake Pantry were part of a chain so these delicious treats would be available elsewhere around the country, but that would negate the uniqueness of this Gatlinburg treasure. Indeed we noticed that Gatlinburg had several other pancake houses. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but they will never match the original. Gatlinburg and the Pancake Pantry have not seen the last of us! (This makes the Pancake Pantry a bonafide tourism feature! Why else would we come here ...?)
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