Hallejulah!A real restaurant among all the C&W, Bear spouting, Chinese Acrobat whirling, Dolly Parton related, race car themed, dead Elvis returnin, cholesterol laden fare that passes for food in Pigeon Forge. That sanctuary would be Foothill Mining Company on Wears Valley Rd.
The place is small and the flavors big. Family owned, the focus is definitely southern quality. On previous trips to the Gatlinburg area had heard whispers about this place, but could never find. Thank goodness this trip I took the time to travel couple miles down the road.
We started our meal with Ceaser and Strawberry Blue Cheese salads. The Ceaser was entirely hearts of romaine (I hate those flimsy outer leaves), the parmesan grated at the table. The croutons-OMG-I could have existed on a side of their croutons, made from their wonderful cornbread. Foothills has their own corn mill they had made in Europe, so all corn products are ground fresh a couple times a week.My salad had just the right mixture of sweet, sweet strawberries and blue cheese.As a northern girl who loves REAL grits, but never eats what passes for grits up north, I was a cravin Shrimp & Grits, which unfortunately was not on the menu that night. However, my doleful imploring led the chef to take sympathy with me, and he made me the most wonderful S&G I have had since Jimmy Sneed made them for me about 20 years ago. Creamy and slightly crunchy at the same time, made with stock. God I'm salivating now!Hubby had a Flat Iron steak, which, based on prior experience, always reminded me of a tougher cut that had the crap pounded out of it with a flat iron. This one was melt in your mouth delicious. Not even a morsel left for the dog.Dessert was an incredible Chocolate Pecan Tart made with I believe I was told Valhrona chocolate. It was so rich, even splitting it we couldn't finish.
Foothills is located about 8 or so miles outside Pigeon Forge. They have a really nice view of the hillside, but not enough to detract from the food. The place is small, and reservations are a must on weekends. We were there on a normally slow weekday, and were told they were almost totally booked for many weekends to come. No alcohol is served, but you can bring your own wine, 3 dollars corkage fee (my only complaint woud be corkage fees).
So if you find yourself in the chicken fried area around Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Foothills is a true oasis.