The sounds inside of The Peddler Steakhouse are as unmistakable as they are comforting. A symphony of satisfaction is seemingly on a constant loop throughout one of Gatlinburg’s most beloved restaurants.
Pots and pans cling from inside the kitchen where The Peddler’s staff is hard at work each day crafting some of the finest food in the Smoky Mountains.
Families gather around tables where you can hear the excitement in the voices of parents and children as they discuss all that they’ve explored so far in the Smokies.
Conversations are had between employees as they discuss the best way to provide southern hospitality and high-quality food to swaths of guests.
“This is how Laura would do it,” an employee says to another.
It’s a phrase that gets thrown around often at The Peddler in reference to Laura Lewis, the restaurant’s longtime former service manager.
“She just holds the restaurant and what we do and the expectations of our guests on a pedestal,” said Geoffrey Wolpert, owner of The Peddler. “Even though she’s been retired for a while, people who are here longer still talk about her standard and expectations.”
Despite retiring in 1996, the standard set by Lewis is followed to this day at The Peddler!
“Food is up. If I’m over filling iced tea for my table and Terry would call (table) 34, you’d drop your iced teas,” Lewis said. “I may say to Jamie, ‘Can you take these iced teas to 32? I’ll run the food to 34.’ Hot food was first and foremost.”
The standard is simple at The Peddler: provide a dining experience that satisfies each customer with incredible food and service that goes above and beyond.
“We have a lot of hard working people that save up to go on vacation,” Wolpert said. “I feel a huge responsibility to be diligent about trying to deliver a memorable experience to them because they’re paying dearly for it.
“We have a reputation of having a high expectation about the quality of food and service that we’re going to provide for our guests. I think there’s that part that’s missing in the world of business today that you feel a responsibility and an obligation to work hard to make people happy and satisfied. I think a lot of guests believe that the world of service is not very good and that nobody really cares. We really do care. I care.”
And just as important as the food and service is to never serve anything you wouldn’t enjoy eating yourself!
“I had a server come up to me and say, ‘You know the difference in working here is that you don’t make me deliver bad food,’” Wolpert said. “Just to put it that simple. The places they had worked really didn’t care so much about what they were delivering or what was coming out of their kitchen.”
For Lewis, knowing that she made a significant impact in her 20 years at The Peddler is a source of pride.
“It is very pleasing and satisfying,” Lewis said. “When I go in there, it’s just like it was the first day I went.
“Between the friendships that were built back in the kitchen, setting up the salad bar and all of that stuff, and the friendships that we had with our customers, it was the most amazing place to ever work.”
Wolpert says it’s his employees, many who have been working at The Peddler for years, that make the biggest difference.
“I think there’s an expectation that they’re going to count on each other to get the job done,” Wolpert said. “I think it’s not just that everyone loves each other and that’s the only qualification. They know that we want to do the best for our guests all the way through.”
It’s that attention to detail and focus on providing the best experience possible that make The Peddler one of the most popular restaurants in the Smoky Mountains year in and year out!
The Peddler in Gatlinburg is built upon tradition. Now that you’ve learned more about our restaurant’s values, it’s time to plan your visit to see “how Laura would do it!” Reserve your table online ahead of time to guarantee a spot in our dining room!
Have you ever checked out our sister establishment, The Park Grill? Learn how The Park Grill has become a family affair for Geoffrey Wolpert and his sons Jacob and Jordan Wolpert!