One of the really interesting aspects of Gatlinburg is that the history of the town and surrounding mountains permeates everything here. Several local restaurants have themes based on historical Smoky Mountain figures. The newest is Cumberland Jack’s LeConte Kitchen, a restaurant based on the life of, you guessed it, Cumberland Jack! What’s more – he was a dog!
So who was Cumberland Jack? He was a dog owned by a man named Paul Adams, who was the first caretaker of LeConte Lodge, which is located high up on Mount LeConte in the Great Smoky Mountains. Cumberland Jack was a smart and well-trained dog. Adams would send the dog down the mountain with a saddle strapped to his back, a grocery list and some money. The dog would go to the Ogle store in Gatlinburg, where the store owner would take the money, load the saddle with the supplies, and send the dog on his way back up the mountain.
Cumberland Jack’s has an amazing atmosphere. You will feel like you are in old time Gatlinburg when you hear the bluegrass music and walk beneath a canoe suspended from the ceiling (which serves as beautiful lighting). The decor reflects a rustic mountain lodge. Everything is top notch and well-done.
The restaurant also features a partial bar that serves beer but no other liquor. Like the rest of the restaurant, the bar is gorgeous. Okay, so you get the point – this place looks really cool and has an awesome story to go with it. But is the food any good? You better believe it!
The meal begins with a metal pail filled with warm, soft, buttery bread and a small tin of vegetable soup. The bread was delicious and the soup was hearty and brothy, just like you would want it to be.
For the main course, I selected the smoked chicken plate, which consists of a one-half smoked chicken stuffed with cornbread dressing. It comes served with mashed potatoes, chicken gravy, green beans, and a serving of barbecue sauce. As I tore through the chicken, the dressing fell all over the plate (just like I like it). The chicken was moist and perfectly cooked. The potatoes and gravy were fantastic. Everything was well-seasoned. The sauce was tangy and complimented the chicken perfectly. The meal was attractively plated and generous in proportions. Everything tasted great! Bring your appetite.
Customer service was super friendly, with multiple people stopping to ask if I needed anything. Full disclosure – when I was there, the restaurant was not all that busy, so maybe the staff would not have been quite so attentive during a busier time. I can only go by what I personally experienced. A very nice bartender named Krista provided excellent service. The restaurant is well-staffed and functions like a well-oiled machine. I’ve never seen tables cleared so fast.
Cumberland Jack’s LeConte Kitchen is located at 1019 Parkway, right on the main strip in Gatlinburg. It is an easy walk from the Historic Gatlinburg Inn and other downtown hotels. We can without a doubt say this is one of our top dining recommendations on your trip to Gatlinburg.