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Food & Wine cites Old Mill Restaurant in Pigeon Forge among America’s ‘Best Classic Restaurants’
By Tom Adkinson

List includes Galatoire’s in New Orleans, Inn at
Little Washington in Virginia

PIGEON FORGE, TN – The Old Mill Restaurant, specifically its fill-you-up breakfasts, earned a shout-out in Food & Wine Magazine in a 2020 roundup headlined “The Best Classic Restaurants in Every State.”

Senior editor David Landsel crisscrossed the nation for three years researching the 17,000-word guide to approximately 250 notable restaurants of all types that he deems American classics. Beneath that specific research project is Landsel’s 20-year foundation of traveling the country on food writing assignments.

the old mill pigeon forge
The Old Mill on a sunny day; image by Jeaneane Payne

  the dirty guv'nahs
Grand entrance to the historic Old Mill Restaurant; image by Jeaneane Payne

Landsel previously included The Old Mill Restaurant in Food & Wine’s 2018 “Best Breakfasts in Every State” guide, calling it “a piece of living history, at one time the town’s power supply, and today still milling the grains that go into the restaurant’s corn grits and pancakes. Biscuits with smoky bacon and country ham, seasonal preserves, cinnamon raisin pecan French toast – the menu isn’t extensive, but it’s enough to keep the crowds coming back, year after year.”

In the January article’s introduction focusing on classic restaurants, Landsel notes that much food writing and interest in the culinary arts dwells on hot chefs, new restaurants and the latest trends. The “Classic Restaurants” article, he says, is like hitting the pause button, looking back and appreciating America’s enduring food experiences.

“This article puts the Old Mill Restaurant in some great company,” said Laurie Faulkner, marketing director.

the old mill pigeon forge - winter scene
The Old Mill in winter; image by Jeaneane Payne

“Just look at some of the other classic dining destinations mentioned – Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room in Savannah, Georgia, the Columbia in Tampa, the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia and even Antoine’s and Galatoire’s in New Orleans. We are so proud,” Faulkner said.

the old mill pigeon forge - winter scene
The Old Mill general store; image by Jeaneane Payne

Landsel says he wants his state-by-state survey to be “a road map, if a little rough, like it were drawn on the back of a napkin, designed to jog your memory, or to push you toward a greater appreciate of our shared culinary heritage.”

the old mill pigeon forge - winter scene
Pigeon Forge Pottery; image by Jeaneane Payne

Traveling west to east, the other Tennessee restaurants Food & Wine labeled as classics are Charlie Vergo’s Rendezvous in Memphis, Scott’s BBQ in Lexington, Arnold’s Country Kitchen and Prince’s Hot Chicken in Nashville and Bea’s in Chattanooga.

the old mill pigeon forge - winter scene
Old Mill Pottery House Cafe; image by Jeaneane Payne

The Old Mill Restaurant’s heritage dates to 1830, when the Old Mill itself was built. The restaurant opened in 1995 and has been a family-run business throughout its existence. The Old Mill continues to grind corn and other grains, and other related businesses include Pigeon River Pottery, the Pottery House Cafe and Grille and the Old Forge Distillery.

Published February 7, 2020

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