This is my second epinion about Dollywood and I want to dedicate the whole thing to the food and concessions at the park. Reason being? I personally think some of the food and concessions are very unique only to Dollywood.
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Fact number one…Southerners love to eat:
When we go to the park, we usually pack a small cooler with sandwiches, snacks and drinks. We go so frequently, that we just don’t see spending all that money on food at the park. However, that doesn’t mean we haven’t tried some of the delicious eats at Dollywood.
Of course you can get your typical burgers and fries throughout the park, but I highly recommend trying some of the food “native” to the south. Native? Yeah native. If you have never visited the South, or if you grew up here and moved away, or even if you have lived here your whole life, you know there are a few foods Southerners make which label the south.
I am going to break it down just like the Dollywood park map does…
There are five Full Service restaurants in Dollywood, and I will introduce you to two of them…
Miss Lillian’s Chicken House and Granny Ogle’s Ham N’ Beans are both located in Craftsman’s Valley, Home to the Tennessee Tornado coaster. Miss Lillian’s Chicken House allows you to get a taste of just what it’s like to be in a southern kitchen, complete with Fried Chicken (baked chicken also, for the heath conscience) veggies (cooked to oblivion with lots of salt), salads, biscuits, taters and freshly baked desserts. Miss Lillian’s even offers Family Value Pack offers at four meals for one price.
Aunt Granny’s Buffet is a great place to visit for breakfast, but you better go with an empty stomach. Typical to the south is the All-you-can–eat buffet and this one can be located in Rivertown Junction. Just like it says...it is all-you-can-eat. Aunt Granny serves breakfast, lunch and dinner at her place. Breakfast being served till 11. Kids under 11 eat free with one adult purchase of the buffet. Don’t forget to try the chicken fried steak and fried bologna. The bar is full of biscuits, eggs, bacon, gravy, grits, cooked entrees, veggies (again cooked to oblivion), fruit, soup, salad and even a dessert bar. Drinks are not included and Aunt Granny’s opens up thirty minutes prior to park opening.
On to the Quick Service meals:
If you want a quick run-through-the-line-place-your-order-and-sit-down meal...these next restaurants would be the place to sit your water-ride soaked bottom.
Red’s Diner, DJ Platter’s, Apple Jack’s Sandwich Shop, Wistlestop Grill, Victoria’s Pizza and Hickory House BBQ are your options...and they are situated all through the park.
DJ Platter’s is 50’s style food which includes Pizza, Hamburgers and of course BBQ. It reminds me of Al’s from Happy Days and apparently DJ performs there daily. We have yet to see him.
The Whistlestop Grill and Victoria’s Pizza are located in The Village. The Grill has Hamburgers, steak and chicken sandwiches and of course piles of french fries. And if you like Italian food, Victoria’s is for you. The menu includes but is not limited to pizza made from scratch, spaghetti, salads and Italian sub sandwiches.
Now we move down to “walk-away” concessions. These actually are the ones, which fascinated me the most. I mean what theme park actually makes Fried Pork Rinds right in front of you! I am going to set the focus of this epinion to this area of the food and concessions, as this is where I have the most experience.
I know I mentioned the Pork Rinds in my previous epinion, but it just caught me by surprise. I rounded the corner and saw this open air log cabin-type of concession, and off to the side was this giant vat of boiling oil frying pieces of pork fat into crunchy puffs. I’d never tried pork rinds before, and lucky for me they had samples. I personally didn’t like them, but you can buy a bag of these artery clogging, nutrition lacking, southern delicacies for $2.50 a bag.
At Dollywood there is a part of the park called “County Fair”...and it is just that. You would have thought your entered a county fair with all the midway games and fair rides to keep you busy for a couple hours. But the “County Fair” atmosphere wouldn’t be complete without “fair food”. Not only can you get Homemade Ice but hand dipped corndogs, nachos, fries and hotdogs and even a pickle on a stick. Not to far down the road you will most likely smell the Funnel Cakes before you see them. I even saw someone with strawberries and whipped cream on theirs. Oh and by the way, they’re huge and about as big as your head. As you make your way around the park you will also find other walk-away concessions which offer sausage sandwiches with peppers and onions, oh and you can’t forget the curly fries, Eskimo Pies, a BBQ pit, complete with pit. Ever had a Smoked Turkey Leg? If not, you can try one at Miss Lillian’s BBQ Pit. They cook the food in an open-air concession on huge iron griddles and skillets. I found the way they made potatoes was kind of cool. They sliced up about 50 lbs. of red potatoes, a few onion and I am sure more grease than is necessary and then fried them on this huge open iron skillet…when I say huge, I mean 4 feet in diameter huge. The smell is incredible. Carbohydrate addicts beware. They also serve Roasted Corn in the Shuck and of course Hand-Pulled BBQ Pork.
If your sweet tooth is acting up, you can surely satisfy it in various establishments around the park. Berries ‘N Cream offers fruit and cream parfaits, floats and ice-cream cones. Hannah’s Ice Cream Parlor’s menu includes hand-dipped cones, soft serve cones, sundaes, milkshakes and floats. But you can also get sugar free ice cream too!
If you aren’t trying to watch your weight check out the Spotlight bakery and Sandwich Shop. They have cookies as big as dinner plates along with pastries, cinnamon rolls and all kinds of muffins and cakes. Oh and you can wash it all down with lemonade, sodas, bottled water and even ice cold juice boxes for the kids. Giant tin basins filled with ice and cold beverages are located all over the park. Oh and of course they have water fountains too.
Dollywood also has places where you can just get a beverage and some chips, popcorn, cotton-candy, cookies, candy bars and they even have a 50’s type convenience store where you can get moon pies and soda in a glass bottle, right out of a sliding top cooler. No screw on lids on those soda bottles. You actually have to use a bottle opener.
Obviously, Dollywood has some interesting eats, and even something for the pickiest eater. If you go away hungry it is your own fault. And actually, that is the motto of most Southern cooks. Southerners love to feed you to death (literally), and as you can see Dolly is no different…right down to her oil soaked pork rinds.
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