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“Refuge in the Smokies” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Buckhorn Inn

Buckhorn Inn
2140 Tudor Mountain Rd., Off U.S. 321, Gatlinburg, TN
865 436 4668
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Ranked #12 of 172 Restaurants in Gatlinburg
Price range: $12 - $32
Cuisines: American
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Special occasions, Entertaining clients
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations
Greensboro, Georgia
2 reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Refuge in the Smokies”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

My wife, Sheila and I have been visiting the Buckhorn Inn nearly every year in the Fall since 1996 and in the Summer season a few times as well. John and Lee Mellor have created the perfect sanctuary for us hikers after a vigorous day on the trails of the adjacent Smoky Mountains, or those who simply want to "get away from it all" far from the big city. Tastefully decorated and spacious guest rooms, as well as an extensive library, large sitting rooms, and a lengthy patio with a sweeping view of nearby Mount LeConte (elev. 6,800 ft.) in the main building, adjacent cottages with fireplaces, kitchenettes and ample living rooms and porches for those who want a bit more seclusion and quietude away from the main building, and three houses (Webb Mountain, Bebb and Lindsay) with multiple bedrooms and full kitchens for larger groups or families should satisfy any traveler's special housing needs. Then there are the meals! Fabulous filling and tasty breakfasts (specialty omelets, pancakes, french toast, cereals, fresh fruit and home-baked breads, bisquits and pastries fortify even the most dedicated trecherman who must face the day (or trail) ahead. Fresh-baked cookies, brownies or pastries await returning guests in the afternnoon, along with coffee, tea selections and soft drinks. In the evening, the best dinner in Sevier County is served at the Inn. A four-course repast of soup, salad, entree and dessert rewards guests at the end of their day. Each soup selection sets the tone for the excellent courses ahead: tasty, imaginative and tantalizing. Entrees such as tenderloin of beef with bordelaise sauce, tandoori salmon with tsatsiki sauce, chicken breast with fontina and proscuitto, Smoky Mountain trout with pecan brown butter, Gulf flounder with Provencal sauce and leg of lamb with garlic lemon and fresh herbs demonstrate the range of cooking skills and imaginative touches that make Chefs Bob and Frank long-time favorites of Inn guests. After the meal's crowning glory, a sinful dessert such as tiramisu toffe trifle pie (a verbal as well as a calorific mouthful!), one is ready for a good night's sleep on one of the Inn's delightfully restful beds. Of course, there are plenty of diversions other than hiking and shopping in nearby Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. The Inn has its own pond and resident swans who love to be photographed; there is a labrynth to help clear the mind; and a nature walk through the extensive grounds is educational (many plants and trees are labeled) as well as a visual cascade of colors during Fall foliage season and good physical exercise along the ups and downs of the trail's terrain. More sedentary pursuits await in the Inn's extensive library and film file. Holding this experience together is the warm, sincere and caring hospitality of John and Lee. They may greet and serve you when you check in, pour your coffee at breakfast or your wine at dinner (bring your own, no corkage fee, or select from their own list) , cook some meals on occasion, or honor your special request, whatever it may be. These two lovely people (both formerly university professors) could write the book on hospitality. All in all, the Inn is the quintessential role model for a country inn, and it is a true value, given the quality of accommodations, meals, setting and service (the excellent staff are agents of Lee and John's warmth, sincerity and thoughtfulness; you are treated, without pretense, the way a guest wants to be treated). You will end your visit, surely, by making advance reservations (an excellent idea since they are often booked a year in advance) for the NEXT TIME . . . which nev er comes soon enough for my wife and me!

Visited October 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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128 reviews from our community

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    103
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Russel Corner, KY
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“Fine Dining in the Smokies”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 29, 2012

An excellent five course gourmet each night. Served by a competent, courteous staff. A different menu each night. Wine available or BYO.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Marietta, Ohio, United States
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Life's Great Experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2012

The Buckhorn Inn is one of the reasons I travel to Gatlinburg, TN. On this November evening, the early fine snowfall was sparkling in the headlight beams.
By the time I reached The Buckhorn Inn I was fairly transfixed. I turned onto the narrow, dark, wooded, winding road (hugging the hillside on one side and having no guard rail on the other) and paid close attention all the way to the parking area in front of the small, rustic, homey Inn. The low shrubs along the garden path entrance were covered with little white lights that twinkled through the snowdust.
Inside, I hung my coat on the crowded hall tree and entered the familiar and comfortable dining room. It is quite a large room, long and narrow, but has a very friendly feel. To the right is a full wall of bookcases and books. Centered among the books is the quiet doorway to the Inn accommodations. Tasteful, hand-carved, polished pieces of antique furniture scattered about the room stand out against the creamy white woodwork and the wide board, dark oak floors.
The far side of the room is lined with antique-white French doors which, in the daytime, open onto a covered, country stone patio with rustic furniture which invites one to sit and look over the mountain pond below… the home of the pair of graceful Swans which lives there.
The walls are filled with beautifully framed artwork from the nearby studios of the many talented artists who live in this awe-inspiring area.
Centered on the near side of the room is a majestic fireplace, complete with crane for cooking… speaking of an earlier time. In front of the fireplace are comfortable couches and chairs which beckon the visitor.
Thoughtfully placed around the cushioned core of the room are the white clothed covered tables illuminated with candlelight and set for 7:00 dinner.
The fieldstone fireplace crackled with a welcoming fire that sent a soft glow of light about the room. The low, rough hewn, beamed ceilings kept the sweet smelling Hickory heat about the body. People who had arrived early to fill the intimate number of small dinner tables gathered around the hearth to drink their aperitifs and trade pleasantries with other diners they’d just met.
The Buckhorn Inn serves a set menu and tonight it would be a butter-crumbed, baked white fish. When the wait staff began to place baskets of home-made crusty Parisian Bread on the tables, the diners knew it was time to leave the comfortable couches and wing-backed chairs and take their seats at their assigned private tables…. all in the same room, all within warming distance of the fireplace, all within the glow of the fire, yet all separate enough to offer their own special, private evening.
As soon as everyone was seated, the first course was served…. a lemon-chicken soup with deep, robust flavor, yet delicate. A balanced taste that I have never accomplished at home.
The soup was followed by a delightful salad of crisp greens and tasty fresh vegetables (magical at this time of year) with refined chunks of feta cheese and home-made buttermilk dressing.
The fish was amazing… baked just until the buttered crumb topping was golden and crunchy, but not dry… sweet, succulent, satisfying. The wild rice bedded beneath rested on a cream sauce of white wine and soft herbs. The steamed broccoli and cauliflower were brilliant…still bright and flavorful, but cooked through and tasteful.
Waiting for the tables to be cleared and the decadent dessert to be served, we had the pleasure of sipping our wine and listening to the background music of Natalie Cole singing songs that her father had made famous many years before. She does them justice.
The final course was a chocolate on chocolate torte in a crushed chocolate cookie crust. Served on a raspberry coulee and topped with freshly whipped cream, it was pure satin on the tongue. I was sure glad I had not sinned yet today.
After dinner, several of us took our coffee to the couches in front of the newly fed fire and finished the evening learning about the lives of those who also choose to come to this special secret place when they can. It soothes our souls and fortifies us to go forth from here and meet the world.
Yup. Here in the wistful world of The Smokies, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

Visited November 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
36 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 31 cities Reviews in 31 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
“Great views.....food standard”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

Six of us ate here a night before climbing to Mt LeConte. It is a "price fixed" menu - $35.+ tax. The BEST part of the meal besides the gorgeous view from the porch and our dinner companions was you can bring your own wine and no corkage fee. Amazing how much that saves you!

The dinner for that evening is set a couple weeks in advance and everyone dining gets the same dinner. Only other option is if you are vegetarian you MUST call ahead to arrange either a fish or veggie dinner. Our dinner was pork loin with an apple type glaze/sauce. The pork was very dry and somewhat tough. The soup was very good and the sides nothing special. The service was OK, but two in our party asked for items that were never delivered. NOT saying don't go here, but just know that it's an old established place - many repeat visitors in the "tradition" of fine dining in Gatlinburg. If you are looking for quiet, relaxing dinner away from the noise and commercialism of Gatlinburg, this is a great place for you. Go for the atmosphere and views, the food is secondary.

  • Visited October 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sevierville, Tennessee
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
41 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Great place to have dinner.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 13, 2012

It has great food and a very nice view. A must see when in town. Just call first and ask what they are serving. Everything they make is to die for. The chef know's his way around HIS kitchen.

Visited October 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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