Awhile back, a friend of mine posted about his meal at Mama’s Farmhouse in Pigeon Forge. The report was overwhelmingly positive. On a recent trip to Sevier County, The Grub Spouse and I decided to start our day off there with a hearty breakfast at the eatery, which also serves lunch and dinner. The restaurant sits a block off the Parkway, on Pickel Street, and although we’re still well ensconced in summer, Pigeon Forge traffic that morning was eerily (but pleasantly) sparse.
We arrived just a few minutes after they opened and found ourselves among just a handful of morning patrons. A hostess showed us to a table in one of the many farmhouse-themed dining rooms. We had to wait for our server to deliver food to a neighboring party of eight, but eventually, she came around and took our drink order.
Ordering food at Mama’s Farmhouse is simple, because all meals are served family style. Everything listed on the menu is part of the meal, and they bring you portions based on the number in your party. It’s also an all-you-can-eat format, so if you run out of anything, they’ll fetch you more. It’s similar to the way they do things at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen. The price for breakfast at Mama’s Farmhouse: $14.99 per person.
Here’s what’s currently on the breakfast menu: pinwheels (sweet pastries), chicken tenders, chocolate gravy, buttermilk biscuits, peach butter, blueberry muffins, hash brown casserole, applewood bacon, scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, sausage patties, sausage gravy and cheese grits. Within just a few minutes of taking our order, our server was back with all of the above items. It took us a moment to get all the dishes and platters arranged the way we wanted, but it wasn’t long before we were sampling everything.
• Pinwheels: These were completely forgettable.
• Chicken tenders: The chicken was OK, but the breading was mealy.
• Chocolate gravy: My grandmother made chocolate gravy, and what I put on my biscuit was not that. The Spouse makes it too, and Mama’s version seemed too runny in comparison.
• Biscuits: This was one of the high points of the meal. Our biscuits were cooked just right — not too dense, not too light. It was the one item we asked for seconds of.
• Peach butter: We didn’t even try it.
• Blueberry muffins: They must have been out of them that morning. We never saw any on our table.
• Hash brown casserole: Excessively laden with sodium, and the consistency was gloppy.
• Bacon: Another highlight, because how can you screw up bacon? These slices were cooked to a good consistency — not too crispy, not too chewy.
• Scrambled eggs: They were served hot and were sufficiently cooked. There’s nothing worse than runny eggs.
• Fruit: In this case, it was cantaloupe, pineapple and grapes. Again, fruit is fruit. It’s hard to mess it up.
• Sausage: These patties were on the dry and dense side. This porky experience wasn’t nearly as satisfying as the bacon.
• Sausage gravy: This was well executed, probably the best item we tried all morning. The biscuit-and-gravy combo was a meal highlight for both of us.
• Cheese grits: The grits were way too runny. I could barely contain a bite on my fork without them dripping between the tines.
At least the staff took care of us. Both the server and hostess checked in on us often, although our server spoke very loudly for some undiscernible reason.
Mama’s Farmhouse is part of the same restaurant group that includes Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que, Alamo Steakhouse, Mama’s Chicken Kitchen and Big Daddy’s Pizzeria, all of which cater to Smoky Mountains tourists. I have previous experience only with Bennett’s, where I was never particularly impressed by the barbecue.
In short, I’ve learned two things from my experience at Mama’s Farmhouse: 1. Don’t ever take restaurant advice from that particular friend again. 2. Mama could use some help in the kitchen.
Address: 208 Pickel St., Pigeon Forge
No alcohol service
Hours: 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Tuesdays
This Pigeon Forge restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner in a family-style, all-you-can-eat format.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Pigeon Forge restaurant review: Mama’s Farmhouse targets tourists