So you say you like the sauce?
No, not that kind…we’re talking about the hot stuff!
If you are a hot sauce or barbecue sauce connoisseur, then we know a place you MUST check out the next time you come into Gatlinburg – Pepper Palace! Pepper Palace is a specialty shop that sells a premium line of hot sauces, barbecue sauces, salsas, seasoning and rubs.
Pepper Palace was founded by Craig and Tanya Migawa in Wisconsin in 1989. What started as a simple mall kiosk soon expanded into two inline retail locations. In the 1990’s the family fell in love with Gatlinburg and moved their whole operation here. They now operate the largest spicy-themed retail store in the world, with four locations in Gatlinburg. The one visited for this article is located in Mountain Mall.
The Migawas opened their second location in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2008, and the company now operates over 90 retail locations in the U.S. and Canada! But all of that success has not changed the way they make their sauce. These are premium sauces made in Tennessee, prepared in small batches from fresh, natural ingredients. You can definitely taste the quality.
Pepper Palace has ALL KINDS of sauces made from any type of pepper you can think of (and other ingredients, obviously). There is even a flavor ONLY available in Gatlinburg. The great thing about this store is that you don’t have to guess what you will like. They supply you with a little spoon with which you can walk around the store and sample the sauces. But be forewarned…your tongue is going to get burned up! Even a sauce hound like your reviewer suffered a little bit. The location I visited was the one in Mountain Mall, so luckily there is a shop next door that sells drinks. I was very thankful for a pint of milk to put out the fire in my mouth.
There is much more to the store than hot sauce, however. You will find fresh salsas, relishes, dry rubs and seasonings – everything you need to spice up your palate. I went with a smoked apple habanero sauce. It had the fire, but also some sweetness. It is a REALLY great tasting sauce. I’ll be putting it on everything.
The guys running the shop were very nice and helpful. They will tell you all about the company, how the sauces are made, and give recommendations based on what you like. They also give you the spoon. I had a great time walking around the store testing sauces…until I could take no more. Then it was time to check out and head next door for that pint of milk!
A big part of the fun of coming to Gatlinburg is checking out the shops. If you’re into sauce, then this is a must-stop. There are four locations in Gatlinburg, so it’s not hard to find. The Reagan Mall location even has its own hot sauce museum that is free to visit.
Pepper Palace Mountain Mall
611 Parkway Suite D-10
Pepper Palace the Village
634 Parkway Suite 11
Pepper Palace Reagan Terrace
716 Parkway Unit 107
Pepper Palace Ober Gatinburg
1001 Parkway Suite 6
As you can see, they are all on Parkway, so whichever way you walk from our front porch, you’ll find one. Enjoy the sauce!