The Original Best Italian – Gatlinburg, TN

The husband and I were drawing to a close our weekend of time alone and eating. Our “last”meal was a pretty big deal. I sort of wanted Paula Deen’s but…if I was honest with myself, it was just because of the hoe cakes, biscuits and fried chicken. Did I really want to spend $60+ on that? So – we went the pizza route. No pizza in 9 weeks for me! Yes, it’s appropriate to cry for me.

We saw some pics from a friend of a crazy huge calzone that The Original Best Italian serves – gigantor! Calzones to me are just okay – I much prefer pizza. But, the husband was all over getting a monster calzone.

The Original Best Italian is tucked away in a corner of Gatlinburg (across from TGIF and Melting Pot) – if you see wooden Jesus, you have arrived!

It was the night of the Derby so it wasn’t busy – our service was fast and friendly and we always had drinks!

We started with some of their signature garlic rolls…(that was my other stipulation – I wanted some bread after no carbs for 9 weeks!)

Italian Garlic knots

Yum! I especially like all the extra garlic butter at the bottom to dip them in! (along with the side of marinara)

Oh – and check out this glass. It was totally retro and adorable.

Italian coke

The husband thinks I’m like an old lady. I’ll freely admit that I am – books, blankets, cats, coffee…yep.

He was going straight for the calzone. I could have been a good wife and split it with him but really, I didn’t have a single desire for a calzone.

Take a look at this beast!

Italian Calzone solo

And for some perspective…

Italian Calzone

It was like an extra large pizza folded in half! He said that there was a crazy amount of cheese in it (along with his sausage and banana peppers). He was in calzone heaven. (and, hell no, he didn’t finish it!)

I got pizza – just pepperoni pizza

Italian Pizza

It was damn perfect pizza – homemade thin crispy crust. Lots of cheese, perfect sauce. So…damn…good. You know I love Dewey’s pizza and this rivaled it. Yes, that good!

We left, crazy full and loaded down with boxes. We waddled down the strip some more. Debated whether to ride the sky lift or not. (that was a not) If you’re in the Gatlinburg area and are looking for something other than pancakes or fried food – hunt down The Original Best Italian! (wooden Jesus!)

The Original Best Italian Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Public House – Cheviot

I knew that The Public House was a bar in Cheviot, so I was a bit hesitant to go there just for a dinner. Wasn’t sure if we’d be given “the eye” or not. I know regulars are pretty possessive of their space. 🙂 Hey, I am.

But, I heard (from my Cheviot bar/restaurant frequenters) that they had really good burgers and some good pizza too. You know the husband and me…burgers and fries. (and pizza!) We’re in!

When I walked in, I could immediately tell why it’s a welcome spot for regulars – it’s comfy, big and you could tell that the bartenders and servers knew most of the people in there. I’m down for a “Cheers”. We were greeted warmly and shown to a table – no “eyes” were given. 😉

The menu is simple (love that!) – appetizers, sandwiches, burgers and pizzas. Hey, I’m down with that.

Even though it’s not my favorite appetizer, the husband wanted Soft Pretzels. Between him, my son and my bestie, I’ll never escape the soft pretzels!


I only took a couple of bites – they’re just too fluffy and filling for me. They were fine – needed some more salt. Yes, I’m aware that I say that about all things. The husband had no issue taking them down.

So that we could maximize our choices – we split a burger and a pizza. In theory, good idea. But, I eat so little that I knew a lot was going in to go boxes. Hunger knows no reason.

Bah Bah Black Sheep


Burger inside

That right there is a damn good burger. Really – pretty perfect. I LOVE that bacon and runny egg. I’d get super upset if the egg yolk was cooked. The husband and I were elbowing for bites. Okay, maybe not – since we split it in half. But, I’d poke him in the eye if he’d try to get in the way.

I needed (yes, needed) a side of Parmesan garlic fries.


I liked the plain fries but there was something off-putting about these topped fries. I’m not quite sure what it was (well, minus the wrong dipping sauce of marinara – just, no) but, I was really wishing for a more garlic taste. Maybe the parmesan was overbearing?

Our pizza – The Firehouse


It just wasn’t good. The dough was way too puffy. The sauce was just okay. We each ate one piece and didn’t take it home with us. My sister said that the pizza has changed (not for the better) in the past few months. Yeah, we’ll stick with the burgers. Dewey’s still has my pizza love.

Our service was awesome. It was a great atmosphere. Pricing was good. Burger was fantastic – and we’ll totally go back again because of that!

The Public House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mellow Mushroom – Hyde Park

I have been to Mellow Mushroom 2 times before this trip (once in Destin and once at this location). I’ve thought it was average but I seem to be in the minority with my thinking – that happens a LOT of the time.

Book Club (yah! Love my fellow nerdy girls!) was at Mellow Mushroom this month so I decided to give it an actual review. You know – make it official and all.

Although the parking lot was packed, Mellow Mushroom wasn’t busy at all. Our party of 10 got in immediately.

I can’t say that I love the decor/theme. The whole “hippy, shrooms, peace” thing really doesn’t appeal to me. In fact, it annoys the piss right out of me.

Menu – ugh. Not a single Mellow Mushroom created pizza sounded good to me. Not one. The salad choices suck, too. Take a look at the house salad – yeah, thanks for the lettuce, carrots, cabbage and mushrooms. Puke.

Last time I was there (2 months ago), I got a Calzone. Gross. Way too much dough. Toppings were still raw. Not enough cheese. And, I don’t really like their sauce.




This time, I got a pizza with pepperoni and bacon. 

Mellow Mushroom


Eh. Not impressed. Way too much dough space. Not enough sauce. Not cheesy enough. And, really, just not good.

I love my book club so I will always go wherever – but, I wouldn’t choose Mellow Mushroom EVER for just a dinner out.

My advice – go to Fireside Pizza, go to Dewey’s. Leave the hippies to their crappy pizza. 😉

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