This post is going to focus on reminding people that, in fact, Gatlinburg is open for business. I have heard many people on social media being under the impression that it was completely burned to the ground. IT HAS CERTAINLY NOT! In fact, most businesses were not affected structurally by the fires, even though there was plenty of smoke damage that needed to be addressed by many of these establishments. The following businesses that I will mention here have not yet reopened but are planning on inviting guests once again in the near future.
There is a special place in my heart for this motel located on the Parkway. It was here that we spent our first two visits in Gatlinburg. The fires spared this long time Gatlinburg motel; however, it did sustain significant smoke damage as a result of the November fires that inundated the surrounding area. They are using this time to do a major cleaning and partial remodel of the complex, which features many rooms that overlook the stream that meanders through the property. According to their Facebook page, Zoder’s is planning on reopening in the Spring, so if you have reservations, you may want to contact them to check on its status.
This restaurant was featured in one of my recent posts as one I would like to visit. Sadly, the fires damaged this establishment, but fear not, they are planning on a reopen scheduled for the Spring. This is a popular Mexican restaurant that the locals have been fawning over since they opened. All accounts say that is truly authentic Mexican food. Located on the East Parkway, they offer live entertainment, a patio, and a brief respite from the bustle of the Parkway. We would love to come here in mid-April if they can be open by then, but June looks like a better possibility. Check out their Facebook page here or their website for updates when they become available.
Gatlinburg Sky Lift
This has to be the most improbable of all the reopenings due to the fact that the mountain it sits on was completely engulfed in flames. Although they have not yet set a reopen date, the Sky Lift also has plans to expand. The gift shop at the top was a total loss, and this will be rebuilt along with the addition of a pedestrian bridge, zip lines, and canopy trails located at the top of Crockett Mountain. A short summary of this story was written by a Knoxville television reporter and can be found in the link here. The Sky Lift has been a signature attraction in Gatlinburg for many years, and this is welcome news for visitors and the tourism industry here.
Another restaurant that we were wanting to visit was completely destroyed in the fire, but the owner — Kelly Johnson, of Johnson’s Family of Restaurants — endeared herself to her employees and the public by announcing she would pay the employees their full salary for the next year. This family of restaurants owns nine in the area: Mad Dog’s Creamery, Bennett’s Pit Bar-B-Que, (a favorite of ours) and Big Daddy’s Pizzeria (another good one). This was one of the better stories to come immediately after the fires ground business to a halt a few months ago. Needless to say, I highly recommend you go to their other restaurants as they are working on a complete rebuilt to this particular one. No date for a re-opening has yet been set, but the kindness these owners displayed is not publicized enough nowadays, and I will applaud them and support them by continuing to visit their establishments and be among those that come to their new and improved Alamo Steakhouse in Gatlinburg.
I hope you gained some insight on the status of these businesses, and I certainly would encourage you to keep an eye on them to see when they are officially set to open. I also would love your input on any other businesses whose situation has you uncertain, and I will find that out for you as quickly as possible. Thank you as always for checking out my blog for the latest Gatlinburg happenings, tips, and other tidbits, and I welcome any comments. See you next time!