Blog Post

This Tennessee smoke house is like Cracker Barrel on steroids

A couple of months ago, Sweetums and I decided to go wandering. We had no particular destination in mind but when we looked at places within driving distance, we came upon Jim Oliver’s Smoke House.

It’s a well-known place in Monteagle, Tenn., that I would describe as Cracker Barrel on steroids, but that’s a bit cliché soooo…. I’ll just say it is part meat-and-three restaurant, part museum, part country store, part antique shop, part butcher shop, part entertainment, and all fun.

Jim Oliver opened his first eatery in 1960 and became a local character. In 1975, he built the Smoke House with a “menu full of family recipes handed down from generations of Oliver cooks, featuring traditional old smoke house style meats.” Oliver then proceeded to build a lodge near the restaurant with rooms or cabins.

The restaurant and lodge are still run by Oliver’s children and draws crowds from hundreds of miles away. Live music is performed on weekends.

In the store attached to the restaurant, you can find all kinds of old-fashioned country meats, preserves and other foods to buy, as well as souvenirs, toys, cookware and a variety of other items. In an area set up like an old moonshine still, a video plays continuously, teaching visitors about the days when moonshining was a popular activity in the mountains. Another museum room is filled with memorabilia of country music’s the Louvin Brothers.

Click here to see our photos of Sewannee and here for photos of Natural Bridge.

Our food was delicious but we forgot to take photos. You can find some online here. It is definitely a fun family experience. Here are a few photos from inside the store.

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Me with the giant guitar at Jim Oliver’s Smoke House. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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The player piano inside Jim Oliver’s Smoke House. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Inside Jim Oliver’s Smoke House. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Jim Oliver’s Smoke House. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Jim Oliver’s Smoke House. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Inside Jim Oliver’s Smoke House. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Moonshine exhibit inside Jim Oliver’s Smoke House. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Inside Jim Oliver’s Smoke House. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Inside Jim Oliver’s Smoke House. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Stools covered in old burlap sacks at Jim Oliver’s Smoke House. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

 

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