On The Road: Two Palate Dining: Pigeon Forge’s Tony Roma’s

Kari’s Steak Dinner at Tony Roma’s

She Said: Tony Roma’s

RJ and I used to really enjoy eating at steakhouses. However, through the past few years because of our conception efforts, finances and learning to eat healthier we’ve really toned down the amount of beef we eat.  But, we were in Pigeon Forge and just re-exchanged our vows and wanted to eat something nice for dinner. I love the Smoky Mountains, but it’s so hard to find a good “dress up- special” dinner. We decided to settle on Tony Roma’s because it was a chain and next door to the show  (Smoky Mountain Opry) .

Since, it’s a chain obviously some things will be similar from restaurant to restaurant and some differently. Our experience most directly relates to the one in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The restaurant was decorated fine. It’s large with lots of polished dark wood. It was a little loud, but wasn’t unbearable. The servers were all very nice. The only thing that really bothered me about appearance or service was that we were again accosted on leaving with time-share/ ticket/ people. I understand that everyone has to make a living, but several days of politely declining the same speech over and over can be wearisome. Some of the people selling things are also rude if you don’t want to buy something. It upsets me someone is rude to me when I’m not seeking to buy anything and I still have tried to be polite.

For an appetizer we got cheese sticks. They were okay, but weren’t anything special.

I ordered a sirloin steak, which was not very good, but not wonderful. It was cooked okay, but the smoke taste was overwhelming.  I also had bacon-topped Mac and Cheese- it was wonderful. I know it sounds decadent and rich. It was! The cheese was rich, the bacon smoky and the crust of the macaroni appropriately crispy! I loved this Mac and Cheese. I was also desperate for some vegetables and happily tried their fire-roasted vegetable medley. It was terrible. The “fire”marks and tastewere so strong on them that I couldn’t stand to eat more than a few bites. I hate that those lovely zucchini, squash, peppers and carrots were so over-marked and over-smoked! It’s hard to find well-prepared simple vegetables that haven’t been cooked to death in the Pigeon Forge area.

Usually RJ and I trade bites on our food, but his choices looked scary to me.

It wasn’t very good (except for the Mac and cheese), so I can’t imagine ever going back. I hope we’ll find some better Pigeon Forge “dinner our” dining options!

Kari’s Ratings

Cheese Sticks- 4

Sirloin Steak- 1

Bacon Topped Mac and Cheese- 9

Fire-Roasted Vegetables- 1

Overall- 2

RJ’s Steak Dinner from Tony Roma’s

He Said: Tony Roma’s

So before our disastrous attempt to go see Smoky Mountain Opry we had to eat dinner.  Right next-door to the theater in Pigeon Forge was Tony Roma’s!  I’ve been interested in trying Tony Roma’s since Kari and I saw Nick and Jessica eating there on Newlyweds. Frankly, I’ve been surprised that there weren’t any locations here locally in the DC area.  So would this place famous for their ribs live up to the hype?

We started out our meal with the fried Mozzarella sticks.  Most of their Starters weren’t interesting to us, but we were hungry for one, so we decided on this basic appetizer.  It was good.  The sauce had a little bit of a kick, but nothing that would stop you from enjoying the overall flavor.

Kari and I both had the 9 oz. Sirloin steak, but with different sides.  She had bacon mac and cheese, and also fire-roasted vegetables.  I ordered loaded mashed potatoes and corn fritter casserole.  Her bacon mac and cheese was pretty good, but not amazing.  The fire-roasted vegetables however were not very pleasing.  They had too much smoke to them, and it tasted like fake smoke.  I wouldn’t order this side.

I loved my loaded mashed potatoes.  This is a great side.  It’s simply mashed potatoes, with shredded cheese, bacon, and chives.  I don’t always like chives, but here I didn’t notice.  I love it when the shredded cheese melts some and makes each forkful a little gooier than it would have been.  And put bacon on just about anything and I’m happy!  While they don’t get any points for originality, the execution was really well done.

The corn fritter casserole was a disaster.  I’m not sure what made this a casserole, or a corn fritter.  This was more like a under cooked piece of cornbread.  It wasn’t served in any kind of dish and looked like it had just been flipped out of a designer muffin tin.  I would never order this again.

The steak tasted good, and was a welcome taste that week.  It was a simple preparation, but done well.  It was cooked right the way I ordered.  That was good to see.

We opted not to get dessert so we could hopefully get something after the show.

So overall, it wasn’t a bad meal, right?  Except for one other thing.  And it’s something I really thing is important to share.  This meal really made us both feel slow and lethargic, even as we were eating.  Pretty fast acting heavy food.  That didn’t make me feel very good about the meal we’d just eaten.

RJ’s Ratings


Corn Fritter Casserole- 0

Loaded Mashed Potatoes-9

Overall Rating-4

 Can you recommend a lovely dinging expereince in the Pigeon Forge area? Let us know!

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