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BUN-JOUR Beautiful Burgers

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is gearing up for an aBUNdance of burger lovers visiting the city for it’s inaugural GatlinBURGER Week! It’s part of a large effort to continue to support local restaurants in the heart of Gatlinburg and bring out the burger lover in you.

For one week only, 16 restaurants are serving up a slice of heaven with “off-the-menu” burgers for only $7. Yes, you read that right, SEVEN BUCKS! It’s a steal and I got to sample nearly every burger from the participating restaurants competing for the title of “Burger Meister” during GatlinBURGER Week.


I had a blast in Gatlinburg for three days sampling these incredible burgers, and to top it all off, I didn’t gain any weight, so it’s a win in my book!

(DISCLAIMER: This is a recap of my experience filming in Gatlinburg, ahead of GatlinBURGER Week, as a Lifestyle Reporter for Living East Tennessee on WATE-TV).

Day 1

I kicked off the week from the Greenbrier kitchen. Chef Aaron Ward of the Greenbrier and Chef Glen Morris of Greenbrier’s sister restaurant, Smith & Son, presented their burgers affectionately known as the “Ghost Rider” and the “Italian Job,” respectively.

The “Ghost Rider” boasts two, dry-aged steak trimmed patties, Stilton and cheddar cheeses, house-cured brown sugar bacon, pickled heirloom tomato, grilled Spanish onion and ghost pepper aioli served on a house made roll.

The “Italian Job” contends with two brisket blend patties topped with creamy melted gruyere, caramelized onions, thin crispy pastrami wedges and mouthwatering dill pickles, finished off with a roasted red pepper garlic aioli, on a perfectly toasted brioche bun.

Competition was heating up in the Greenbrier kitchen between these two burger offerings. Whether you like brisket on your buns or bleu [Stilton] cheese, both of these burgers are sure to make any burger lover happy.

Next stop on the burger tail was Shoney’s, on the Parkway, with the “Sunrise Cheeseburger.” This breakfast burger puts a spin on the classic All-American burger with a Shoney’s breakfast specialty of fried eggs.

Now, if country fried steak is your go-to at Southern restaurants, this next one's for you! The “Country Fried Steak Burger” from Crystelle Creek features one country fried steak topped with fried potato wedges and onion gravy, garnished with a crisp onion ring.

Crystelle Creek offers live music every night, and this former trout house, sits on a beautiful creek that provides soothing ambient sounds as you enjoy your meal, with the water whistling by.

This concluded day one of the GatlinBURGER Week Tour. Woo!

Day 2

GatlinBURGER Week is September 13- September 19, but if you’re itching to channel those German Oktoberfest flavors, you can start a few weeks early at the Seasons of Ober Restaurant.

This “Schnitzel Burger” combines Angus Beef and pork, pressed thin and fried with a coating of assorted German breadcrumbs, topped with sweet and tangy sautéed onions, bacon and a dill-infused mayo, all served on a toasted pretzel bun.

This was the first burger I tried on day two, and it was kostlich. Translation? Delicious in German. Anything with caramelized onions awakens my palette!

Another burger competing in the realm of German food is on the menu at the Rampant Lion Pub. This ‘’Octoburger,’’ combines a beef patty and bratwurst for a hearty combination.

If you love brews, make sure to stop by the Smoky Mountain Brewery. The brewery’s “Hungry Hiker Burger” brings the heat to a half-pound beef patty, with jalapeño cream sauce, sliced avocado, pepper jack cheese and bacon to be enjoyed with an original brew.

The next three burger spots are three-for-one all under the Kennedy Concepts Restaurant Group, highlighting three of its restaurants: Loco Burro, Crawdaddy’s and Pucker’s.

Loco Burro’s “Go Loco Burger” channels all of the Latin American flavors with this half-pound, Black Angus Burger topped with green chile queso, guacamole, pico de gallo and crispy tortilla strips.

“Daddy’s Creole Burger” from Crawdaddy’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar is a half-pound Black Angus burger blackened and smothered in house made seafood gumbo.

Kisses anyone? Pucker up for this “Pucked Up BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger” featuring a half-pound Black Angus burger patty, topped with smoked cheddar cheese, Applewood-smoked bacon and a homemade barbecue sauce.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have an opportunity to sample these three burgers, so I will definitely have to make my way back during GatlinBURGER Week to try them out.

GatlinBURGER Week would not be complete without the scenic backdrop of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These mountain views, paired with golden booze makes for the perfect afternoon out while enjoying a $7 burger. Visitors can take a chondola up to Anakeesta to enjoy the “Deep South Burger” which flaunts a half-pound, ground Angus beef patty, topped with cheddar cheese, pulled pork, bacon, BBQ sauce, fried green pickles and sautéed onions. YUM!

Day 3

In 2018, Delauder’s BBQ was ranked No. 2 in the country by Travel and Leisure for best BBQ.

For GatlinBURGER Week, owner Denny Delauder and his family invented the “Spicy Southern Squealer,” which features a pork patty with spicy seasonings, housemade sweet jalapeno mustard, topped with pickles and onion served on a toasted potato bun.

My burger adventures continued at a location, where it’s ALWAYS Friday! After stepping inside of TGIFriday’s on the Gatlinburg Parkway, I was met with “The WINGman” burger, which combined this popular restaurant chain’s two most popular items: buffalo wings and burgers. Served up with a sweet sangria, this burger is sure to appease both burger and wing lovers alike!

Just across the way at Flapjack’s Pancake Cabin, it was time to treat myself to a waffle-y good breakfast with their “Rise and Shine” burger! This triple stack was a true breakfast sammy with two fried eggs, sausage, bacon and one mini Sticky Bun Pancake sandwiched between layers of junior waffles, drizzled with housemade cream cheese sauce.

And did I mention it was gluten-free? I was able to chow down on this one, with no guilt or shame about putting gluten in my system, and boy was it delicious! This burger can be eaten with either a drizzle of blueberry compote, sweet cream cheese sauce, or even both!

While that “Rise and Shine” burger fixed my sweet tooth for the day, the next stop put all of the salty cravings to rest.

The “Pickle Me Pimento" burger from Split Rail Eats combined two smashed beef burgers with pimento cheese, crispy southern fried pickles, Applewood Smoked bacon, ranch dressing, lettuce, tomato and red onion on a toasted potato roll. Definitely an incredible salty fix using the flavors from the pickles, ranch dressing and pimento cheese.

If you’re itching to have some fun, head on up to Ole Red Gatlinburg to savor the “Farm House” burger. This beef patty is topped with potato chip crusted bologna, mucky duck sauce and moonshine onions. Enjoy live music every day at Ole Red Gatlinburg, and if you just so happen to be there on a Wednesday night, jam out with “Battle of the Bands,” kicking off at 7 p.m.

Now, I know you’re trying to figure out which was my favorite burger. Well, you’re going to have to wait until GatlinBURGER Week is over to ask me that one.

If you’re a local East Tennessean and you’re headed to the city for GatlinBURGER Week, don’t forget to purchase sides to go with those burgers and tip well! Use Facebook, Instagram and #Twitter to hashtag #GatlinBURGER Week to share your selfies and your buns with the world.

If you’re not in East Tennessee, make plans to visit for GatlinBURGER Week next year!


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