Recently I had lunch at Ole Red, a restaurant and live music venue in Gatlinburg owned by country music superstar Blake Shelton. The place has a tremendous atmosphere, and it looks like Blake’s designers did a fantastic job blending high end with red neck (ala, a vintage International Harvester tractor suspended upside down from the main roof). It’s a little bit Hard Rock Café, a little bit HeeHaw.
As you would expect, music plays a prominent role in the restaurant’s atmosphere. The venue has live music seven days a week. When live performers are not on the stage, country music videos are played on the many screens around the place.
The day I was there, a very talented two piece band called the Nouveaux Honkies was playing (worth checking out!). According to my waiter/bartender, the intensity of the music tends to pick up throughout the day, with louder full bands entertaining the more lively night time crowds.
Everyone I encountered there was very nice, and service was good.
Now…onto the food. I would describe it in general as Southern comfort food with a twist.
I ordered a dish called Champagne of Chicken, which is described on the menu as Springer Mountain Farms chicken prepared with Miller High Life beer, sawmill gravy and buttermilk biscuits, served “Nashville Hot or Not.” I went with the Nashville Hot.
The meal is served in a metal pale, which is quite different, but definitely in keeping with the theme of the restaurant. And it was delicious!
The Nashville hot sauce tasted exactly right. The batter had a very nice crunch. The white sawmill gravy was excellent, and the biscuits perfect. This was some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had. Portions were very generous – these were HUGE pieces of chicken. The meal is available in a half chicken or whole chicken portion. I ordered the half chicken and was not able to eat it all (that last piece of chicken was awesome later that night).
This is definitely a Gatlinburg hot spot, so you might want to get there early. This place gets hopping late at night, so be strategic on when you go and what your intention is.
If you’re looking for a souvenir to take home, Ole Red has a gift shop with some of the nicer items you will find around town – from very cool, vintage style t-shirts to red harmonicas.
Blake Shelton has created an awesome place to eat a good meal and catch some fantastic live music – just one more reason to come on into Gatlinburg, Tennessee (and book your room at the Historic Gatlinburg Inn)!
We have you have enjoyed this Gatlinburg restaurant review of Ole Red. Look for more information about things to do in Gatlinburg here in this blog and on the Historic Gatlinburg Inn Facebook Page.