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“Dirty and cold.” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Jim Oliver's Smoke House Restaurant and Old General Store

Jim Oliver's Smoke House Restaurant and Old General Store
850 West Main, Monteagle, TN 37356
931-924-2091
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Ranked #3 of 23 Restaurants in Monteagle
Price range: $4 - $16
Cuisines: American, Barbecue, Dessert, Family Fare
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Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Large groups, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions, Entertaining clients, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Reservations, Takeout, Buffet, Late Night, Dessert
Description: Since 1960,Jim Oliver’s Smoke House has been serving up delicious and fun Southern Hospitality at the _Restaurant and _shopping at the Old General Store. _Live Music every weekend by a special Nashville Music Artist guest, No Cover Charge, Bring the Family, food and beverages served during show. Regional Southern cookin’ offering three generations of family recipes on the menu and the daily buffet & Salad Bar, Homemade everyday! The Old General Store has Vintage and Nostalgic merchandise_old fashioned _candies_antiques_homemade fudge_Ice Cream_ Moonshine Museum Attraction, and the_Louvin Brothers _Country Music _Museum. /live music/shopping/lodging/cabins/Sewanee/Winchester/ Cowan/Manchester/South Pittsburg/Tullahoma/AEDC/Nissan/Chattanooga/ Lookout Mountain/McMinville/Murfreesboro/Desserts/Coffee/Full Service_Childrens Menu_Family_Regional_BBQ_Breakfast_Lunch_Dinner
Chattanooga, TN.
Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Dirty and cold.”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed November 20, 2012

Checked tripadvisor on the road and saw this restaurant had an average of 4 out of 5. Tripadvisor is usually right so we stopped for lunch. It was Tuesday afternoon about 230pm. When we walked through the door my wife noticed a lot of dust on the merchandise. RED FLAG HERE. We walked into the restaurant section and were seated. Maybe half a dozen other customers in the restaurant. I went to look at the food bar before we ordered. Lettuce had brown spots on it so opted out of a salad. Other food looked ok. Ordered food bar for four people. BarBQue was cold, mashed potatoes were cold, squash casserole tasted terrible, waited 6+ minutes for fried chicken, and the apple cobbler was terrible. Wasted over 44 dollars on this way below par food. There are 6 different BBQ flavors on the tables in large bottles. Bottles had dried and sticky sauce all over them which made using them very unappetizing. Lesson learned I guess. Cannot always trust tripadvisor ratings. Afterthought: Parking lot was getting asphalt sealer applied and worker was blowing dust and debris off of parking lot. (All over customers cars, including mine)

  • Visited November 2012
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hamper1960, Owner at Jim Oliver's Smoke House Restaurant and Old General Store, responded to this review, November 26, 2012
We apologize for your experience with our food and dust in the gift shop.
I suppose that the cleaning of the parking lot caused alot of dust to drift into our gift shop, over customer cars, and into some of the lodge rooms. We apologize for this, but unfortunately it happens when the parking lot sealer crew is preparing an area for sealing, it has to have the dirt and dust blown off befor the application of the sealer. We have to have this done at least once per year, and you came along when this happened. Sorry for the inconvenience.

The food is another issue. As far as chicken cooking, it takes about 10 minutes to deep fry chicken, sorry, but that is as fast as we can cook it, at least it is fresh, and hasn't been in the warmer for a while; food served out of the kitchen is cooked to order, not in advance.

Food Bar food is always hotter if dipped off the bottom of the pans, any food toward the top of th pans can be cold and dryer, just remember to dip from the bottom of the pan, at a food bar for the hottest food. When a food bar is not busy with alot of customers, food will appear to be dry, when it's just crusty on top. Food bars are for customers who want to browse their food, and in a hurry; it's faster than kitchen orders, for those in a hurry. Good news, it's faster to get in and out, bad news is that it's not quite as good as food fresh off the grill or deep fryer direct from the kitchen.
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
MI
Top Contributor
53 reviews 53 reviews
30 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Probably better when crowded”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2012

Ate around 7pm on a non-busy weekday. Opted for the buffet. Food would probably have been good, if there was more business. Food had been simmering for several hours; and, was overcooked and/or dried out. Staff very friendly, though. And, the gift store looks like it could have been the prototype for Cracker Barrel.

Visited November 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hamper1960, Owner at Jim Oliver's Smoke House Restaurant and Old General Store, responded to this review, November 26, 2012
Sorry for your inconvenience.

Unfortunately food bars are best when busy; the empting of the food pans quickly by hungry customers keeps the food turned over, hotter, and looking better for the most part; sometimes customers will make a mess too causing unsightly appearence until someone cleans it up. Food is always hottest when dipped from the bottom of the pans too; food on top will get crusty, which doesn't make it bad, just looks dried out; so, go to the bottom of the pan when you are dipping for yourself. Food bars are for fast service, as well as all you want to eat, and after an hour or so, the quality of the food is not quite as good as coming directly off the grill from the kitchen; no way it can be done with hot food; cold food is more forgiving in the appearance and longevity.
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Winchester, TN
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Drowed and very noisy.”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 13, 2012

Very expensive bland food. Doesn't come up to even Waffle House for food or servic. We will not be going back.

Visited November 2012
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hamper1960, Owner at Jim Oliver's Smoke House Restaurant and Old General Store, responded to this review, November 15, 2012
Not enough info here to adequately respond. Obviously, our prices are not the problem, because we know our prices vs their prices very well, and we are competitive and in line on all areas of quantity, quality, selection, freshness, and most certainly genuine all around good country cooking. We don't deserve to be compared to a fast food restaurant, although I myself enjoy WH, the overall concept, approach, style, atmosophere, and selectiion is not compareable. We've been here since 1960, and must be doing something coinsistently right. I'll admit, we do have our off days, but who doesn't. Please come back and see us on your next tirp over Monteagle Mountain.
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Kennesaw, GA
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
43 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
“Unfortunately not a good experience”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed November 12, 2012

I really hate to write this review because I visited The Smokehouse a year ago and absolutely loved this place. However, my wife and I went back again this year and it was not the same. Granted, we visited on a Sunday afternoon when patronage may not be as busy, but does that really matter? The buffet food should at least be fresh or refreshed in a timely fashion. However, it looked like it had been sitting under the heat lamps for quite a long time drying up to the point of having a dried crusty "skin" on top. The bin with the fried chicken only had a few pieces left (only thighs and wings) and they did not refresh it with more. I had to ask for bisquits because there were none to be found and what was brought out were these dried up dark brown things that had obviously been sitting in the oven for a long time. To make it worse, the service was absolutely lethargic. They all seemed like they were tired and just didn't care about promptness or attending to empty tea glasses (which didn't get refilled until we were getting ready to leave). The only saving grace was the fried pies. All in all, I was VERY disappointed after having the most wonderful experience the previous time I ate here.

  • Visited November 2012
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hamper1960, Owner at Jim Oliver's Smoke House Restaurant and Old General Store, responded to this review, November 15, 2012
So sorry for this experience, we dropped the ball and apologize. Our business is just like any other small buisiness, we're made up of people who unfortunately cannot all have a good day everyday; people's attitudes make the experience, and obviously our employees were having a bad day that day. I know that none of us give 100% "everyday" at your jobs, this happens in our business too. Can anyone totally say that if they were reviewed everyday about their job performance that they'd recieve a positive review each time? Well we all know the answer to this. Keep us in mind and please stop in again and give us another visit; obvioulsly your last visit was great, we want to show you that we are still great. But, we do apologize for having a bad day and having customers suffer for it. We'd like to make it up to you.
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Nashville, Tennessee
Top Contributor
126 reviews 126 reviews
80 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 47 cities Reviews in 47 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“After all these years!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 30, 2012

I finally went to this restaurant after driving by on my way along Interstate 24 at Monteagle. After you walk through the door, prepare to go through a long maze to get to the actual restaurant. They change the spot you stand at on the weekends, so watch out for the lecturn rather than the sign hanging overhead. All the food is made from scratch and I was impressed with the great flavors on the meats. The cornbread is very bacon flavored, and I like it a great deal. Squash casserole incredibly cheesy and creamy - how do they do it? Wonderful turnip greens and they bring you the hot pepper vinegar. The soup in the giant lodge cauldron on the stove was so full bodies and chunky in a broth. Hearty and warming.
Salads were very fresh with a good variety.
My only drawback is the layout. It took lots of effort to get into the restaurant and I did not readily see the exits, so I wondered about what would happen in an emergency situation. Staff pointed out doors near the accomodation next door, and through the back of the kitchen.
In the general store I found a coon tail hat for my cat to play with. There was only one person working the cash register for the whole place, and they also had to serve the fudge (very yummy prailine in vanila fudge - get some!) so that slowed things down considerable at departure time.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
hamper1960, Owner at Jim Oliver's Smoke House Restaurant and Old General Store, responded to this review, November 15, 2012
Thank you so much! We appreciate your comments. This makes us want to go on and on forever. We are not your usual fare, there's only one Jim Oliver's Smoke House, and it is definately unique, fun, delicious, generational, and a step back in time. Hope you will make the Smoke House your regular stop whenever you are passing over Monteagle Mountain Tennessee. Come see us again!
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